There are many different types of estimates which are produced for a project. And all types are usually used in the preplanning process for a project. The level of accuracy and time it takes to produce each type increases as a project develops from an idea to a build-able plan. The level of detail in an estimate can also vary from project to project depending on the amount of information needed before a build begins. Estimates range from a quick order of magnitude, which can be helpful for a feasibility study to a detailed definitive estimate which would be needed by a financier and is very helpful to have a the start of a build.
We provide several types of estimating for our clients during the preplanning process.
- Order of Magnitude Estimate
An order of magnitude estimate is a quick, dirty, first look at what the total cost of a project will likely be. This is typically given by the contractor during the first meeting or shortly thereafter. Although an order of magnitude number can help in the decision to initiate a project or not this number is not based on any factual data and is given strictly as a “ballpark”. An order of magnitude number should be considered within the standard accepted range of -25% to +75%.
- Budget EstimateOnce a project has been initiated one of the next milestone steps is to develop a “Budget Estimate”. This estimate is typically based on the more general desires and/or requirements of the customer. This allows both customer and contractor to make critical decisions in terms of the scope of the project and prioritize their efforts. This type of estimate can be based on professional knowledge and data from previous projects of similar size or scope and will give the first look at some realistic numbers for broken down components of the project. There are still a lot of things that this estimate does not take into account such as market inflation, actual unit costs, job specific requirements, etc… A “Budget Estimate” should be considered to be within -10% to + 25% of the actual job cost.
- Definitive Estimate
A “Definitive Estimate” is the final estimate given before the start of a project. This type of estimate is based on the exact wants and needs of the customer and takes into account actual unit pricing, labor estimations and rates, fees, etc… this estimate will take the longest to assemble as it will require a great deal of information to be compiled and reviewed as well as a great deal of communication between the contractor and customer. This estimate will carry through the entire build process, serve as the project budget for the duration and can be included as part of your contract. This estimate should be considered to be within -5% to +10% of the actual job cost.
- Cost-Benefit Analysis
Trying to determine whether or not to make an investment on a renewable energy upgrade? Or even a simple return on investment for a remodel? A Cost-Benefit analysis will give you all the information you need to determine if your time, effort and more importantly your money will ultimately return either via increased energy savings, increased property value at resale, or simply your comfort within your home. We can help you make this important decision by showing you with the “big picture”.