Cost Estimating & Planning
The "ideal" of the cost plan is not only to see the building design so controlled that the tender figure agrees with the budget but that it identifies economies that can be achieved without compromising the client's brief. The most effective cost plans are prepared collaboratively with the design team between the briefing and sketch scheme stage.
The starting point is often an initial budget cost plan based on current building cost data. Subsequently, a more detailed cost analysis will be prepared on an elemental basis using as far as possible current "all-in" rates. Then as each element is designed the price can be checked against the analysis; differences can be addressed either by redesign or by transferring an under-or over-spend to another element so as to keep the project as a whole on target.
Architects can also find the analysis useful by posing "what if" questions to obtain comparative costs for alternative designs, materials and finishes. Comparisons can be made for different plan shapes, internal layouts and methods of construction as well as finishes.
Cost planning is best used as a working tool to reflect and record the effect of cost decisions throughout the design process; it can assist and guide those decisions to ensure a project returns maximum value for money.
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