Real Estimators of Genius - We Salute You

August 31, 2018

Conley Smith,

Sr. Business Writer

If you’re any kind of cost estimator, you’ve probably been involved in some crazy, complicated, weird—and wonderful—projects. Let’s face it, the world’s highest and longest glass bridge in China didn’t just appear out of thin air. Nope, it all started with a few gallons of coffee, a set of blueprints, and an estimator carefully counting 1,077 glass panels.

With that in mind, we asked estimators to share their most “interesting projects.” With more than 700 survey respondents, it wasn’t easy picking our favorites. In appreciation of all of you inventive trailblazers, these are our winners—our Real Estimators of Genius. Congratulations, you’ve won our unending respect and admiration.


Here are some of the wildest projects and descriptions submitted. (We’re just sharing initials to protect the innocent!)


Really? We Think Once-is-Enough Winners

  • Chernobyl New Safe Confinement. This was a one-of-a-kind project. Never before has such a structure been constructed at a heavily contaminated site - B.R., Cost Estimator, Frederick, MD
  • Underground Nuclear Weapon Assembly Facility. Middle of the desert and hundreds of miles from sources of materials and labor - M.M., Construction Management, Milwaukee, WI
  • Mausoleum. Had to crawl inside each crypt to mortar the joints. P.L. GC, Meadows, IL
  • Cadaver Lab. The parts and pieces to a cadaver lab are unique. It was a learning experience. J.M., Construction Management, Portland, OR

OK, We Want More Details … Don’t Leave Us Hanging Winners!

  • 19th Century railroad passenger car. J.A., Residential Builder, Winter Park, CO
  • Launch Pad. M.M., Estimating Service, Ontario, Canada
  • Pool at Golden Nugget with shark tank. R.V., Concrete, Kona, HI
  • 12-foot tall cast-in-place gnome. D.K., Supplier, Vancouver, WA
  • Ceramic tile to look like a shark at a school. J.V., Flooring, Portland, OR
  • Custom home built to imitate a castle. M.F., Carpentry, Villa Park, IL


You Win ... These Sound Really, Really, Complicated Winners

  • Sloping Concrete Pagoda Roof and Bridge System. In a garden at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Built on a 3D grid, 100,000 square feet on 120-acre mountain site, 8 miles of road, bridges, tunnel. Buildings used materials not common in U.S. and sizes or method not used before with multiple phases. All manpower had to be bussed to top of the hill. Peak was 1,176 people in one day. R.M. Concrete, Sarasota, FL
  • Suspended Basketball. Engineered and framed a 26-foot diameter, half-basketball weighing approximately 1,500 pounds to be suspended from a building for the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in Wichita, KS. J.S., Drywall, Wichita, KS

The “Is Someone Watching Me?” Award

  • Hello, God? We did drywall work on a church once and it felt like God was watching us extra close while we were working. The workers didn’t goof off as much, behaved themselves better, and didn’t curse while in the church. Maybe we should work on churches more often. C.C., Drywall, Manassas, VA

Thanks to everyone for playing. We salute all of you Real Estimators of Genius. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to like and share it with your fellow estimators and contractors.


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