Before starting a Cost Estimation for a technical project, it is important to have the knowledge of both the content and the circumstances of the project. One should be aware of the specific details during project execution along with an overview of the required equipment and labour activities.
These particular conditions are captured by location factors, which is essential for a reliable cost estimate.
Make use of historical data
Before starting to map the location factors, always look for the relevant historical data. There is no point in trying to invent the wheel yourself when others have already done it before. Data from similar projects in the same region can serve as a basis for establishing location factors. However, keep in mind that the process is not finished here.
The differences between the two projects should also be defined since the scope of the two projects is never the same. Even if it is, there is no assurance that all costs have been covered. If there is a difference in time, then you need to apply indexation.
Keep an eye on the project site characteristics
Always keep an eye on site characteristics that include properties such as landscape morphology, on- or offshore site, the accessibility of the site and the availability of utilities such as electricity.
Projects at remote locations have higher costs compared to the same type of projects in urban areas, mainly due to the increased costs of transporting construction materials and equipment to the site. On the other hand, the costs of acquiring land are usually higher in urban areas.
Check the political and legal factors around the technical projects
Policies with regards to large technical projects strongly differ per country. For example, the environmental legislation in countries in Europe can be classified as extensive when being compared to countries in Africa. As a result of this, a huge amount of the budget needs to be allocated to environmental mitigation measures for projects in Europe.
Another important aspect is political stability. When a project is carried out in a country with an unstable political situation, think about the possible events which could influence the project performance. Assign a possibility and a cost to these possible events. Use contingency factors to include them in your estimate.
Create your library of labour, rental, indexation and exchange rates
Labour and rental rates differ strongly between countries and often between regions in a country. Before starting an estimate, it is strongly recommended to have a library in place which contains all relevant labour and rental rates for the region where the project is executed.
Also, make sure that your information and rate lists are up to date. A special case would be when you need to perform an estimate with multiple currencies involved. Given the volatility of exchange rates, they would be needed to be updated frequently.
Creating a reliable cost estimate requires more information than just the materials and labour activities involved. Knowing the site-specific conditions and how they affect the costs of your project helps you to increase the accuracy of your estimate. Collect all the data required to start working on your estimating; knowledge is the key to success!
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