The American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE) has been certifying construction estimators since 1976. While there are other certification programs in the construction industry, the ASPE program is the only one that tests the construction estimator’s construction knowledge and estimating skills.
The ASPE certification process requires the candidate to write a 2500 word technical paper, in addition to taking two examinations. The first exam is a General Knowledge Exam (GEK) consisting of over 500 questions across a broad variety of construction topics, including AIA documents such as the Instruction for Bidders and the AIA 201 Contract Between the Owner and Contractor. The candidate has only four hours in which to complete this test.
Additionally, each candidate must take a Discipline Specific Test (DST). These exams are a test of the candidate’s specific area of expertise. Currently ASPE has Discipline Specific Tests in the following categories, General Estimating, Earthwork, Concrete, Roofing, Drywall Systems, Painting, Plumbing, HVAC Piping, HVAC Sheet Metal, and Electrical. Each exam is an eight hour test with true/false and multiple choice questions as well as estimating problems that are mini-estimates. As an example, a General Estimator is asked questions across all 16 CSI Divisions and estimating problems on Earthwork, Concrete, Wood Framing, and Structural Steel estimating. ASPE is continuing to develop discipline tests for the remaining major disciplines.
Upon successful completion of the program the candidate receives the designation of Certified Professional Estimator, (CPE). The CPE is then required to earn points for the Continuing Certification program through activities such as continuing education, professional contributions, and teaching. The CPE must renew his certification every three years by accruing 30 points over the previous three years.
With this testing and renewal program an employer can have a high degree of confidence in the ability of their estimating staff when they hire a CPE.