Pronamics’ Wisdom Series 2021: Joel Norman

Pronamics Expert Estimation - General Estimating


After 30 years of producing great estimating and project management software, Pronamics is well-positioned to know many experienced and successful estimators. This year, we are taking the opportunity to interview some of them, and get their thoughts and wisdom around this unique and challenging field.

Today’s featured estimator is Joel Norman


JOEL NORMAN – Estimator extraordinaire

Graduating back in the 1990’s from a Bachelor of Engineering with Upper 2nd Class Honours in Civil Engineering, Joel Norman has certainly chalked up some experience since then. Working as a Project Manager, in quality assurance, tendering and estimating, Joel knows what’s what in Western Australia in particular.

He’s been with Georgiou for the past 16 years, and we hit him up for the story of his time in our great western state (known to many as Westralia).

What got you into estimating?

Not sure but probably circumstance as no one else wanted to do it! Their loss!

One of the biggest estimating challenges in your career?

My first big tender at Macmahons was a road upgrade at the Telfer Mine in a remote part of WA, I left my timing a bit out for our final review and had to pull a couple of all-nighters before the final review which was on a Saturday morning… Luckily, the review went well and we won the job.

One of the biggest estimating wins in your career?

When I first started at Georgiou we were fortunate enough to pick up the first stage of a new development in Broome, and over the course of the next 5 years we managed to negotiate another 12 stages in other Kimberley towns like Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek and Kununurra.

I was able to get up to site most of the time and have a look around the area, which is a very spectacular part of Australia that not many people get to visit. I think I still have a bottle of rum from the Distillery we visited just outside Kununurra. All these projects were profitable which made it extra enjoyable!

Is estimating a good job/career?

Estimating provides quite a variety of projects to be involved in over the course of your career, you don’t win them all but you do get a thrill every time you pull off a big win.

Any advice for younger estimators?

Speak to your elders as they are a hive of knowledge! Especially the old supervisors, they will soon tell you if a job can be built safely, in a timely manner for the right price.

What are the qualities of a good estimator?

Attention to detail; what seems like a small rate error when multiped by a massive quantity, it can result in a very big cost error… 

An estimator needs to be able to walk into a tender review and convince everyone in the room that they are across every item in the pricing schedule, have read every page of the specification, studied every drawing and deciphered every report… no mean feat.

At the end of the day the company is trusting the Estimator that they have come up with the right price for the job based on a programme and methodology which has been agreed upon. It’s a lot of pressure, but with the right attitude, work, and experience, you can do it!

Joel Norman is Chief Estimator at Georgiou and is responsible for the Tendering department. Read about some of Georgiou’s work here!


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