The term ‘outturn’ or ‘out-turn’ refers to an amount achieved in a certain time, for example, an actual amount produced, or actual sales made. This is in contrast with the amount that might have been predicted or estimated. It is thought to be derived from, or related to, the term ‘turn out’.
The ‘outturn cost’ or ‘out-turn cost’ of a project is its actual construction cost. Generally this refers to the actual, total construction cost calculated at the end of the project, but it may also refer to the cost of a specific contract, or to costs incurred over a defined period. This contrasts with cost estimates, or target costs, which are calculations of the cost that is expected, or the cost that should be achieved.
This meaning of outturn cost is slightly confused by the use of terms such as ‘forecast outturn cost’, ‘estimated outturn cost’ or ‘target outturn cost’ which refer to the cost that is anticipated or should be achieved at the end of the project.
- Fixed costs are costs that have been pre-calculated and agreed to be paid.
- Variable costs include; provisional sums, provisional quantities, prime cost sums and daywork allowances.
- Variations are alterations in the form of additions, substitutions or omissions from the original scope of works.
- Fluctuations are a way of dealing with inflation on large projects that may last for several years. The contractor is asked to tender based on current prices (prices at an agreed base date) and they are then reimbursed for price changes to specified items over the duration of the project (a fluctuating price).
- Risk allowances are financial allowances for works or services that are unknown in terms of quantity and specification, and are the client’s risk.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki:
- Balance sheet.
- Bill of quantities BOQ.
- Capital costs for construction projects.
- Construction costs.
- Contract conditions.
- Contract sum.
- Cost plans for construction projects.
- Cost reporting.
- Cost Value Reconciliations (CVR).
- Disallowed cost.
- Discounted cash flow.
- Elemental cost plan for design and construction.
- Final account.
- Prime cost sum.
- Quantity surveyor.
 External references
- RICS - Cost reporting
Featured articles and news
PCSAs enable clients to employ contractors before the main contract commences. Read our introductory article.
ICE 200 brings together transformative projects from the past 200 years - and the engineers behind them.
Dame Judith Hackitt hosts an industry summit to kick start the second phase of the review.
This article explains the Buildings Regulations completion certificate, what it is, and when its needed.
Graphene has many potential applications, but when will it start being used in civil engineering?
Increasing productivity – now more than ever as we lead up to Brexit – should be the sector’s number one priority in 2018.
Carillion's collapse causes Construction Leadership Council to delay the construction sector deal report.
Urban Heritage, Development and Sustainability: international frameworks, national and local guidance.
What will the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) mean for you when they come into force in May?
Business Secretary chairs a new taskforce to monitor and advise on mitigating the impacts of Carillion’s liquidation.
Sir John Armitt is appointed the new chair of the National Infrastructure Commission.
High quality and high density homes - is it what we need or is it storing up trouble?