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Best Practices in Pre-Construction Budgeting and Estimating

OnDemand Webinar (92 minutes)

Learn best practices in the development of a pre-construction cost estimate and budgeting of projected costs.An essential and foundational building block common in successful projects is the development of a reasonable and sound construction cost estimate that accurately reflects the scope of work to be performed. In its initial stages, a pre-construction estimate is developed as the design progresses through its development stages and is updated as design and engineering elements are finalized. This allows the designer and owner to ensure that the proposed design and estimated cost to construct are within the financial parameters established by the owner. As the design nears completion, the significance of the cost estimate shifts from serving as a guide utilized by the designer and owner, to a comparison tool for evaluation of the reasonableness of contractor bid proposals, monitoring of performance, evaluation of change requests and resolution of construction claims. This material will discuss best practices that have been employed in the development of a pre-construction cost estimate and budgeting of these projected costs to account for the planned performance of the work.


James F. Gallagher, P.E., F.ASCE, Resolution Management Consultants, Inc.


Overview of Pre-Construction Cost Estimating and Budgeting Basics

Identifying and Understanding the Importance of:

• Defining Owner Cost and Time Parameters

• Contract Delivery System to Be Employed

• Completeness of Design Documents Utilized to Prepare Cost Estimate

- Performance vs. Prescriptive Specifications

• Unit Price Guides vs. Historical Data

Establishing Within the Cost Estimate

• Contingencies - Design vs. Construction

• Pre-Construction Schedule

- Contract Milestones

• COVID-19 Costs

- Labor Inefficiencies

- Personnel Protective Equipment

- Supply Chain Limitations

- Site Congestion/Staggering of Trades

• Electronic Document Management System

• Indirect Costs

- Travel - out of State Contractors

- Insurance and Bonding

- Profit and Overhead

Incorporating Into the Budget

• Cash Flow Requirements

- Earned Value Measurements

- Advance Material and Equipment Procurement

• Escalation Factors

• Availability/Interaction During Construction Process

- Owner

- Designer

- Project Management

- Code/Regulatory Officials

• Resource Leveling

Analyzing Project Risks

• Site and Project-Specific Restrictions

• Potential Changes in Scope of Work

COVID-19 Delays/Suspensions