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Techniques of

Estimating During the


Design Stages

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Techniques of Estimating
During the Design Stages
Functional unit method
Superficial method
Cube method
Functional area method
Storey enclosure method
Approximate quantities method
Elemental method
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Functional Unit Method -
1
Examples of cost per functional unit:
(Used at Stage A - Brief)
Schools, universities, colleges - per
student
Hotels, hospitals - per bed
Restaurants, cinemas - per seat
Car parks - per car

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Functional Unit Method -
2
Example:
Hospital of 640 beds
Cost per bed = $16,000

Total estimated cost = 640 x $16,000


= $10,240,000

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Superficial Method - 1
Cost per square metre of floor
area:
(Used at Stage A - Brief and Stage B -
Outline Proposal)
Example:
Project of 852 m2
Cost per m2 = $1,106

Total estimated cost = 852 x $1,106


= $942,312
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Superficial Method - 2
Advantages:

Unit is meaningful to all parties


Most cost data is published in $/m2
Estimates are quickly and easily
prepared

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Superficial Method - 3
Disadvantages:
Difficult to allow for effects of design
decisions such as plan shape, storey
height, quality, etc
Separate allowance must be made for
site works and external services
(Note: These also apply to functional unit and
functional area methods)

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Cube Method
Cost per cubic metre of building
volume:
(Could be used at Stage A - Brief and Stage
B - Outline Proposal, but obsolete!)
Example:
Project of 16,000 m3
Cost per m3 = $325

Total estimated cost = 16,000 x $325


= $5,200,000
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Functional Area Method -
1
Examples of cost per square
metre of functional area:
(Used at Stage A - Brief and Stage B -
Outline Proposal)
Primary schools and secondary
colleges
TAFE colleges and universities
Hospitals and medical/community
centres

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Functional Area Method -
2
More accurate than simple superficial
method
No published cost data
Not useful for “one-off” projects
Useful only for client body involved in
continuous and consistent program of
similar projects

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Storey Enclosure Method
Cost per square metre of building
envelope:
(Could be used at Stage A - Brief and Stage B -
Outline Proposal, but obsolete!)
Uses single price rate similarly to
functional unit and superficial methods
Incorporates cost effect of design
features such as height and shape

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Approximate Quantities
Method - 1
Cost per square metre of
building structure:
(Used at Stage C - Sketch Design and
Stage D - Tender Document)
Not single price rate method
Most accurate method
Uses actual construction rates for
each group of related items

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Approximate Quantities
Method - 2
Figure 5.1
Ground Slab and Foundation Detail

Trowelled surface for Carpet


Galvanised Iron Flashing

Ground Level

400 x 500
Reinforced Concrete
F42 Fabric

Polythene Sheet
150 Concrete Slab
150 Crushed rock
50 Sand Bed under
Polythene Sheet

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Approximate Quantities
Method - 3
Example per m2: $
100mm hardcore 9.50
50mm sand 2.50
Polythene 2.80
150mm concrete @ $125/m3 18.75
F42 steel fabric 4.25
50mm screed 4.00
Total cost per square metre $41.80

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Approximate Quantities
Method - 4

Simple, reliable and accurate method


Can clearly reflect adjustments of
quantity and/or quality
Cost data readily available
Time-consuming
Applicable only to building work
Applicable only in later stages of cost
planning

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Elemental Method - 1
Cost per m2 of NPWC elements:
Element groups used in Stage B -
Outline Proposal
Individual elements used in Stage C -
Sketch Design and Stage D - Tender
Document
(Note: For format of element codes and
makeup of element groups, refer to Topic
3)

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Elemental Method - 2
Element costs are expressed in:
Percentage of total building cost
Cost per m2 of gross floor area
Unit rate per m2 of element
Total element cost

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Elemental Method - 3
Advantages:
Flexible, adaptable method, suited to
Stages B, C and D
Easily understood by all parties
Facilitates comparison between projects
Facilitates analysis of cost implications of
design decisions

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Elemental Method - 4
Disadvantages:
Time-consuming

High level of expertise required

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Sources of Cost Data
Rawlinsons Australian Construction Handbook
(published annually, index updated quarterly)

Cordell’s Building Cost Guide (published


quarterly)

The Building Economist (published quarterly)

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Selection of Estimating
Technique

Recognise that design does not proceed


uniformly across all elements
Use both rough and sophisticated
techniques in the one estimate if
necessary
Use an appropriate technique for each
element
Technique must reflect amount and
quality of information available

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