What is a Construction Calculator?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2019
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A construction calculator is a tool commonly used by carpenters, building contractors and construction management personnel to estimate and calculate various aspects of construction. Much like other types of calculators, a construction calculator will provide answers based on specific input, limited only by its functions and accuracy and relevance of input. Unlike other types of calculators, a construction calculator provides calculated solutions specific to the building industry through dedicated functions.

Examples of calculations a construction calculator provides include material quantity, use, and measurements. For instance, a construction calculator could quickly compute the amount of concrete needed to pour a specified area, stair tread, stringer, and riser calculations for layouts, or the amount of lumber needed to construct a specific structure. Construction calculators can help building professionals determine and estimate cost, productivity, materials, and other aspects of construction.

While many of the calculations most construction calculators are designed to do, such as area, volume, arc, perimeter, and so forth, could be calculated on other types of calculators like scientific or graphing calculators, they are tailored specifically to construction. Weight, angles, running linear footage and other measurements are also typically simpler to input and calculate on construction calculators.


Though there are many different types of construction calculators, some with the ability to perform more complex and detailed calculations than others, they are often a very useful tool for those who have to read and interpret blueprints, estimate cost and material ordering, and other construction job-related tasks. Project managers, job foreman, lead carpenters, and job estimators are the typical consumers of this specific tool. The capabilities of a specific calculator will depend largely on the manufacturer and the price. More expensive calculators will typically have more dedicated functions than cheaper counterparts, but most have the ability to perform basic calculations quickly and easily.

Some construction calculators are designed to interface with a computer and software for additional functions and applications. There are numerous manufacturers and retailers of construction calculators, but before purchasing one, it would be wise to make sure your employer doesn’t already supply them or utilize software specific to one type. Most companies do not supply such tools, but they may be required of certain personnel and also for apprenticeship or college classes in the industry.

A good way to compare functions, ease of use, and pricing of construction calculators is to research online and ask other professionals in the industry which makes and models they prefer to use. Pricing can range from $30 US Dollars (USD) to $75 (USD) on average.


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