If you’re any kind of a construction estimator, you’ve probably been involved in some crazy, complicated, weird—and wonderful—projects during your years in the construction business.

Let’s face it, the world’s highest and longest glass bridge in China didn’t just appear out of thin air. Nope, Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge started with a few gallons of coffee, a set of blueprints, and an estimator carefully counting 1,077 glass panels.

Having conducted project studies with a wide range of customers from all trades, we know even the routine projects can get crazy. You’ve done it all—from working up an estimate for a 175,000 square foot aviation hangar to a $900k paint job with 17 colors of paint. Any project can seem wild if you get hit with 2,000 change orders!

Survey Participants Share Crazy Projects

With that in mind, On Center Software by ConstructConnect asked estimators to share their most “interesting projects.” With more than 700 survey respondents, it wasn’t easy picking some of our all-time favorites.

In appreciation of all those inventive trailblazers, here’s a recap of our winners (initials-only). These Real Estimators of Genius have won our unending respect and admiration. Some of the wildest projects and descriptions that we received are as follows:

The Once-is-Enough Winners

  • Chernobyl New Safe Confinement. “This was a one-of-a-kind project. Never before had such a structure been built at a heavily contaminated site.” – B.R., Cost Estimator, Frederick, MD
  • Underground Nuclear Weapon Assembly Facility. “Middle of the desert and hundreds of miles from sources of materials and labor.” – M.M., Construction Management, Milwaukee, WI
  • Mausoleum. “Had to crawl inside each crypt to mortar the joints.” – P.L. GC, Meadows, IL
  • Cadaver Lab. “The parts and pieces to a cadaver lab are unique. It was a learning experience.” – J.M., Construction Management, Portland, OR

We’d Love to Know More Winners

  • 19th Century railroad passenger car.J.A., Residential Builder, Winter Park, CO
  • Launch Pad.M.M., Estimating Service, Ontario, Canada
  • Pool at Golden Nugget with shark tank.R.V., Concrete, Kona, HI
  • 12-foot tall cast-in-place gnome.D.K., Supplier, Vancouver, WA
  • Ceramic tile to look like a shark at a school.J.V., Flooring, Portland, OR
  • Custom home built to imitate a castle.M.F., Carpentry, Villa Park, IL

The Really Complicated Project Winners

  • Sloping Concrete Pagoda Roof and Bridge System. “In a garden at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Built on a 3D grid, 100,000 square feet on 120-acre mountain site, 8 miles of road, bridges, tunnel. Buildings required materials not common in U.S. and sizes or method not used before with multiple phases. All manpower had to be bussed to the top of the hill. The peak was 1,176 people in one day.” – R.M. Concrete, Sarasota, FL
  • Suspended Basketball. “Engineered and framed a 26-foot diameter, half-basketball weighing approximately 1,500 pounds to be suspended from a building for the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in Wichita, KS.” – J.S., Drywall, Wichita, KS

Thanks to all who submitted their most interesting estimating projects. Keep up the good work.

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