Pronamics’ Wisdom Series 2022: Lindsay Hawkes

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. We have been 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 Lindsay Hawkes.

LINDSAY HAWKES – Estimator extraordinaire

“Semi-retired but still available” is how Lindsay pitches himself on LinkedIn. Like many of the estimators in our Wisdom series, he brings decades of solid experience and is in high demand.

He’s worked predominantly in civil and mining, but has experience teaching both software such as Bluebeam as well as more hands-on operation skills for a variety of machines including excavators and forklifts.

Here’s what he had to say about his time in the industry.

What got you into estimating?

My entry into estimating came from running my own civil engineering contracting business, spanning some 20 years, before finding myself in the mining industry. I was thrust into the world of estimating and budgeting and with it came my introduction to Expert Estimation.

One of the biggest estimating challenges in your career?

The biggest challenge in my estimating career is that if projects go belly up project managers and managers often look to the estimators – we are considered responsible even when everyone signed off.

The difficult thing is that an estimator has have a grip on all aspects of the their industry. We have to understand:

  • Surveying
  • Engineering (mining, structural, mechanical)
  • Project management
  • Mining practices
  • Structural (manufacture and installation)
  • Earthworks, underground mining
  • Staffing and shift rosters
  • Transport
  • Labour costs

And to top it all off, sometimes we under extreme time constraints to get it all together and do it accurately.

What is one of the biggest estimating wins in your career?

One of the biggest estimating wins in a single hit was just over 11 million. This was a large underground civil contract that involved huge concrete pours, large steel fabrication and installation sections, as well as installation of conveyors, cranes and other infrastructure.

A lot of the other tenders we put in for and won were in the hundreds of millions but were extended over multiple year contracts.

In these instances, it was a rare situation where I was working on an estimate on my own. There were usually two of us and with Expert Estimation having the ability for multiple people to work within the same estimate at the same time made for an easier life.

Is estimating a good job/career?

I believe estimating is one of the most exciting and rewarding careers you can have. Interestingly, you are not bound by a degree yet you have to be proficient in all facets of the discipline that you are estimating.

I have had the privilege of training a number of estimators within the mining industry and it tends to be that the people with the practical experience have the easiest path to become an estimator.

Do you have any advice for younger estimators?

My advice to young estimators would be to gain as much experience in their chosen industry as they can either before or during the training, and to listen and take note of all the experienced people around them. Today so many people think that estimating is easy but it’s not; you have to be meticulous in your practices and procedures and be prepared for the endless checking and rechecking. You also need to remember to involve all the stake holders in the project to give input into the final costs.  

And as a last piece of advice be prepared to cop a hammering when things go wrong as estimators are the first port of call for blame.

What are the qualities of a good estimator?

The qualities of a good estimator to me are as follows:

  • Have patience.
  • A thick hide.
  • Be prepared to listen to other ideas.
  • Don’t think that you are always right. Estimators must bounce ideas off each other.
  • Accept change.
  • Continually refine your approach and accuracy.

As mentioned, Lindsay is still available for estimating work. If you’re interested in utilising his skills, or the skills of another contract estimator, contact us today.


At Pronamics, we say what we mean, and we mean what we say. We value honesty and encourage all stakeholders to present their case in a friendly, professional manner.

We agree to work cooperatively to find the best possible solutions. We always remain open to dialogue and change.