- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 12 Nov 2021
Elemental cost plan for design and construction
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.
- 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.
The elemental cost plan is a detailed cost plan which is broken down into a series of elements. Initially, the elemental cost plan will simply be the total construction cost for the project divided into elements on a percentage basis. As the design becomes more detailed, however, the elemental cost plan will be 'measured', based on the actual quantities of work and materials that will be required to construct the project.
The elemental cost plan should be prepared in a spreadsheet format that is easy to interrogate and import into costing software and should adopt a standard approach such as that defined by the new rules of measurement (NRM).
The elemental cost plan should set out any assumptions that have been made, should identify any exclusions agreed with the client and should present an outline assessment of whole life costs. It might also include a list of abnormal or non-standard items, to help inform any value management exercises.
NB: NRM1: Order of cost estimating and cost planning for capital building work, gives the following definition of an elemental cost plan:
‘…the critical breakdown of the cost limit for the building(s) into cost targets for each element of the building(s). It provides a statement of how the design team proposes to distribute the available budget among the elements of the building, and a frame of reference from which to develop the design and maintain cost control. It also provides both a work breakdown structure (WBS) and a cost breakdown structure (CBS), which, by codifying, can be used to redistribute work in elements to construction works packages for the purpose of procurement.’
'...the point at which the quantity surveyor/cost manager formally submits an elemental cost plan to the employer for consideration.The formal cost plan stages are interlinked with the appropriate RIBA Work Stages and OGC Gateways.'
- Approximate quantities cost plan.
- Bills of quantities.
- Contract sum analysis.
- Cost consultant.
- Cost of building.
- Cost plans.
- Cost reporting.
- Element unit rate.
- Elemental method.
- Elemental cost analysis.
- Elemental life cycle cost plan.
- Initial cost appraisals.
- New Rules of Measurement.
- Order of cost estimate.
- Outturn cost.
- Pre-tender estimate.
- Relevant cost.
- Tender pricing document.
- Top down and bottom up estimating.
- Whole-life costs.
 External references
Featured articles and news
Temperature in buildings, explained on DB
Main barrier to entering the profession, new study reveals.
On Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill.
Over 70 managers and organisations shortlisted for the 14 awards.
From biometric to electrical current, chemical and more.
Changes are due to come into force on 1st October 2022.
Heed advice and insight of this report IPA tells the government.
From the Commonwealth Association of Architects.
For the Levelling Up, Housing & Communities Committee.
BSRIA's Technical Director reflects on recent weather patterns.
A national valuation to fund old-age pensions.
The world’s largest Commonwealth memorial to the missing.
Long after the end of the defects liability period.
Occupant satisfaction and wellbeing in buildings.
From the simple to the complex.
And the UK Government guidelines.
Commitment agreed to by major built environment bodies.
Electrical skills, low carbon, high-tech and the building services revolution.
Ultra-deep drilling with millimeter-wave beam technology.
Looking at the built environment from space.
BSI standards 8671, 8672 and 8673.
Bringing life to burial grounds.
From failed modernism to twenty-minute neighbourhoods.
The gates process and change control.