Major Types, Model Design and Elements of a Construction Cost Estimate

Construction cost Estimate is the method of estimating the expense of constructing a physical structure. Of course, both contractors and consumers are worried about the financial effects of cost overruns, and failure to complete a project. That’s why they’re wasting time and money calculating how much a project would cost before they want to move forward with it.

Clients undertaking major projects also obtain several cost estimates, including those prepared by contractors and those determined by objective estimators. The cost estimates are used by project managers to assess the scope and viability of a project and to assign budgets. They are used by contractors when determining whether to bid on a project. Typically, with the guidance of architects and engineers, you prepare reports to ensure a project meets the criteria for financial viability and scope.

A reasonable estimation of costs prevents the contractor from losing money and helps the client avoid overpayment. It is a core component of earned value management, a project management technique that monitors the performance of a project against the total estimate of time and expense.

To someone who worries about how much their project would cost, the development of a construction cost estimate is good practice. You regularly do cost assessments for construction projects of all types, from constructing new buildings to remodeling.

In infrastructure projects, reliable forecasts are highly important, with budgets and deadlines closely related to paying back borrowers and producing revenue as early as possible. Because of their considerable scale and the possible participation of public funds, they are also important for massive civil projects or mega projects. Small miscalculations on a mega-project get magnified. Cost estimates improve efficiency in projects built with public money, provide transparency, and build trust in the ability to plan the project properly.

Failure to provide an accurate estimate of costs will result in catastrophic consequences. A prominent example of this was Indiana’s Marble Hill nuclear power station. In 1984 the owner abandoned the building, seven years after it began. Indiana’s Public Service Corporation had only partially completed the project and was losing $2.5 billion due to cost overruns.

It is difficult to predict the cost of any project with absolute accuracy, and projects may fail because of unexpected reasons. Yet to produce an accurate calculation, a professional estimator must account for as many variables as necessary — including items such as market conditions.

The accuracy of a cost estimate depends on a variety of things: the consistency of the project plan; the degree at which a project is described by the estimator; the estimator’s expertise and skill; the accuracy of cost information; and the consistency of any instruments and procedures used by the estimator.

Based on the nature and scale of a project, as well as the industry, cost estimates can fall to one person or a team, and estimators can hold various positions. Contractors and subcontractors compile cost estimates for some building projects but this is not considered best practice. Many times it would be the responsibility of the building salesperson to build an estimate.

Architectural firms may have in-house estimators, usually people who, in addition to their primary position, take on the task of the estimator. Nonetheless, professional independent estimators are progressively handling estimates to which one verifies estimates from the contractor.

Good cost forecasts secure jobs for the contractors. Generally, customers choose the lowest bid which meets the requirements and specifications they set. The time and energy you spend preparing the estimate in a competitive bidding situation is the cost of doing business and investment in winning the job. If urgency is a consideration for a project, you can also discern the pace at which you are preparing a bid.

The Main Types of Construction Cost Estimates:

Since a cost estimate can only be reliable with a well-defined project schedule, numerous estimates during the pre-design and design phases are created as common practice. They are becoming more reliable as the degree of interpretation of the project increases. The American Society of Professional Estimators classifies forecasts according to an increasingly comprehensive and accurate five-level framework. Construction cost estimates have something in common with cost estimates for other forms of projects, and in this post, you can learn more about key principles and tips.

Order of Magnitude Calculation: You can use an order of magnitude estimation to assess the overall feasibility of a building when project planning has not yet begun.

Schematic Design Estimation: An assessment made according to schematic design

Model Design Estimation: An estimation made during the production stage of the design

Building Report Estimation: An estimation based on construction drawings and specifications

Bid Estimate: A contractor estimate, based on construction records. The calculation of the bid is the basis of the offer price given to the company. A simplified classification scheme of estimates includes only three primary categories: estimates of architecture, estimates of bids, and estimates of power. Such unit names represent the way the calculations are used.

Project Estimates: These projections, prepared during the pre-design and project phases of a project, begin with an approximate order of magnitude or screening estimate, which decides the methods and types of construction are most feasible. First comes the model design based theoretical estimate, or conceptual estimate.

Next comes the thorough estimate, or conclusive estimate, that you base on the production of the concept. The last estimation of the design is the estimation of the engineer which you base on the building documents. A simple example can help offer an initial cost estimate for a project.

Bid Estimates: Plan estimates are made by contractors as they plan to build the project. Contractors can derive their forecasts from a variety of data points like direct costs, supervisory costs, quotes from subcontractors, and quantity take-offs.

Control Estimates: Prepared after a contract is signed and the control estimate serves as a guideline for evaluating and monitoring real construction costs before work begins. The control estimate also helps contractors to plan to meet projected expenses and to assess the cost of completion for the project.

A Construction Cost Estimates Perspective on Building Systems:

With a project as complex as a building, generating a cost estimate calls for a structured way of enumerating costs. Cost estimators may use the Uniformat method to view a building as a collection of seven functional divisions to simplify the process. Those are:

  • Substructure
  • Shell
  • Equipment and furnishings
  • Special construction
  • Building site work
  • Interiors
  • Services

Contractors who bid on a job must produce a document called the quantity bill, which is an itemized list of the jobs and materials needed for a construction project. It is a key step before bidding in deciding the cost of the job. Creating a bill of quantities is a four-step procedure that was performed manually on paper, and is now typically done with spreadsheets or advanced software.

Taking-off Quantities: A quantity surveyor can calculate the activities and work objects in a project by working from the construction papers. It includes drawings to scale measurements. In standard units such as area, volume, or length, one must record those. You can, for example, measure excavation in cubic meters, and linear feet of steel support. Following one of the standard methodologies, like the New Measurement Rules, is important. The surveyor lists the number of every object within the project.

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Squaring: Then, the quantity surveyor multiplies the dimensions of the part into the square area and multiplies this by the number of times the work element happens in the building, thereby having the total dimensions, length, width, and area as applicable.

Abstracting: The set and ordering of the squared dimensions are abstract. There are groupings of related tasks and elements. When all objects have been taken off and squared, and complete dimensions have been collected, they must be combined. You allow deductions for each of the building’s voids or holes, such as stairways.

Billing: This last step involves simply presenting descriptions of items and quantities in a structured format, the bill of quantities. Typically you present these in a section for the group, subgroup, and job hierarchy.

Elements of a Construction Cost Estimate: And what knowledge are estimators using to generate an estimate? The following are keywords and definitions but be mindful that some of them overlap a great deal.

Quantity take-off: A quantity take-off estimates the materials and labor required to complete a project produced during the pre-construction process.

Labor Hour: Working hour, or man-hour, is a unit of work that calculates one person’s performance for one hour.

Job rate: The labor rate is the price one pays to skilled craftsmen per hour. It covers not only the regular hourly wage and benefits but the extra cost of overtime and payroll expenses such as workplace compensation and jobless insurance. This template will allow you to keep track of salaries and hours worked.

Material Prices: Because material costs are subject to volatility based on market conditions and factors such as seasonal variations, cost estimators can look at historical cost data and the different phases of the buying process when estimating the expected material prices.

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Equipment Costs: The cost of equipment mainly relates to operating costs, and likely renting, heavy types of machinery such as cement mixers and cranes. It’s important to remember that the equipment in use affects how quickly you can complete the project, and the use of equipment also impacts other costs beyond those directly relevant to operating the equipment.

Subcontractor Quotes: Many builders employ several professional subcontractors to complete building sections. You add quotations from those subcontractors to the overall estimate of the contractor.
Indirect costs: Indirect costs are expenditures not specifically related to building projects, such as payroll costs, travel costs, smaller forms of vehicles, temporary buildings, design fees, legal fees, licenses, and any variety of other costs, depending on the project in question.

Profits: Usually the employer applies a premium at the expense of doing the job to generate a profit. Subcontractors do the same while making quotations about themselves. Subcontractors do the same while planning their quotesContingencies: Because only the most precise estimation is likely to be influenced by unforeseeable variables such as waste products, an estimation would normally include a fixed amount of money built in to compensate for these additional co-operatives.

Escalation: Escalation applies to the normal cost escalation over time, so concern for long-running programs is particularly critical. Many ventures include provisions for acceleration that explain how to control inflation.

Bonds: In fact, an applicant would allow a developer to pay for a performance guarantee to be provided in favor of the project owner. The contract acts as a sort of distribution pledge. When the contractor refuses to conclude the job in compliance with the contract conditions, the applicant shall be entitled to liability for cash damages up to the sum specified by the performance guarantee.

Construction costs: Capital expenses are simply the expenses of building a project. Which include: the cost of purchasing land; the expense of carrying out feasibility studies and the pre-build phase; payment to the design team ‘s architect, builder and specialist; overall building expense, which involves not only supplies, machinery, and manpower, but also administrative costs.

Allowing and supervising charges, as well as any compensation premiums or taxes; the expense of any temporary facilities or systems not included in the final construction; the expense of employing a commissioner; and the cost of reviewing the system as it is near completion;

Operating and Maintenance Costs: During the design process one pays for operations and maintenance costs more of a problem for the manufacturer than the contractor. Taking decisions that reduce a building’s overall lifetime expense will contribute to higher construction costs. Operating costs include land rent, permanent operations employee wages, operating costs, construction (as needed), electricity, and insurance.