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This pocket-sized book is a concise guide to the basics of estimating construction costs for residential and light commercial building projects. It provides a step-by-step guide to estimating the total cost of a construction project. It takes readers through five phases that lead to a successful estimate: initial assessment, work analysis, programming, costing and cost distribution and summarization. The book's primary targets are small contractors; however, the principles set forth in the book are applicable to all contractors. The book could also serve as a textbook for estimating classes in construction management programs at universities and community colleges. The last section of the book provides useful but not readily available information for estimators on diverse topics, e.g., detailed information about Value Engineering, scheduling, subcontractor selection, bid summarization, and so on. An extensive glossary of construction terms is also included. Readers in all construction capacities will find: a new, fresh look at the often baffling and deceptive job of estimating construction costs for residential and light commercial construction; how to assess plans, review bonds, and evaluate the site and the project schedule before beginning a cost take-off; and, how to integrate a cost estimate into a general accounting program for cost management and eventual billing.