The cost consultant provides estimates, and advice regarding the cost of construction works.
The cost consultants role might include:
- Helping determine the client's requirements and undertaking feasibility studies.
- Benchmarking requirements against similar projects.
- Assessing and comparing options.
- Helping define the project budget.
- Checking developing designs against the project budget.
- Assessing value for money.
- Checking designs meet legal and quality standards.
- Undertaking risk management and value management exercises.
- Preparing cost plans, estimates and cash flow projections.
- Advising on procurement strategy.
- Advising on packaging.
- Preparing bills of quantities.
- Preparing tender pricing documents.
- Collating and issuing tender documentation.
- Assessing tenders.
- Estimating the cost of variations.
- Preparing valuation statements for interim certificates.
- Assisting with the valuation of claims.
- Preparing regular cost reports, including out-turn cost and cash flow.
- Completing the final account.
There are very many different names given to cost planning documents. Cost plans are generally prepared by cost consultants (often quantity surveyors). They evolve through the life of the project, developing in detail and accuracy as more information becomes available about the nature of the design, and then actual prices are provided by specialist contractors, contractors and suppliers. They range from very early initial cost appraisals through to tender pricing documents and the final account.
- Initial cost appraisals (studies of options prepared during the feasibility study stage).
- Elemental cost plan (prepared during the project brief stage and carried through to detailed design).
- Approximate quantities cost plan (from the end of detailed design through to tender).
- Pre-tender estimate (prepared alongside tender documentation).
- Tender pricing document (strictly speaking this is not a priced document, but is part of the tender documentation issued to the contractor for pricing).
- Contract sum (agreed with the contractor during the tender period and adjusted during the construction period).
- Contract sum analysis (a break down of the contract sum prepared by the contractor on design and build projects).
- Final account (agreed during the defects liability period).
Other than initial cost appraisals, these all relate to the construction cost of the project (rather than wider project costs that the client might incur, which could include; fees, equipment costs, furniture, the cost of moving staff, contracts outside of the main works and so on). It is important that the client makes clear what costs should be monitored by the cost consultant and what will remain within the control of the client organisation.
Initial cost appraisals are carried out without the benefit of a design for the project. They include client costs that may not feature in later cost plans and as a result will almost certainly need input from the client's finance director or financial advisers. Once the initial cost appraisal is completed, the client will decide the scope of costs that will in future be monitored by the cost consultant and those that will be monitored and controlled by the client organisation.
For detailed descriptions of the sequence of activities necessary to appoint a cost consultant, see the work plan stages:
- Traditional contract: appointment.
- Design and build: appointment.
- Public project: appointment.
- Construction management: appointment.
- Management contract: appointment.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Approximate quantities cost plan.
- Bid writer.
- Business plan.
- Cash flow.
- Commercial manager.
- Cost plans.
- Contract sum analysis.
- Cost control.
- Elemental cost plan.
- Final account.
- Initial cost appraisals.
- Interim certificate.
- New Rules of Measurement.
- Pre-tender estimate
- Professional indemnity insurance.
- Whole life costing.
- Quantity surveyor.
- Tender pricing document.
 External references
Featured articles and news
Report states that health of urban dwellers could be significantly improved by rethinking transport design.
The Kremlin, the centre of Russian power, includes some of the country's finest architecture.
Report launched outlining steps for a national infrastructure system that is efficient, sustainable, and delivers until 2050.
A review of Justin Bere's concise and well-presented introductory guide to Passive House.
This article describes in detail the tender process for a typical commercial construction contract.
What is energy storage, what are the different types and what is its future?
MAD Architects reveal their designs for a state-of-the-art concert hall in Beijing.
Take a look at BIG's designs for two twisting towers in New York City.
'The filing cabinet' which was labelled one of the best British buildings of the 21st century.
ICE's Bridge Engineering exhibition opens, showcasing a record-breaking LEGO bridge.