What is the Difference Between Construction Estimates and Feasibility Cost Planning?

A guide for Project Managers, Architects, and Self-builders

To the untrained eye, build estimates and cost plans likely appear to be one and the same.

After all, each one is used to effectively and accurately gauge the total cost of a construction project, long before the first contractor arrives on site.

Look a little closer however, and you’ll soon discover a whole world of difference.

Today, we’ll go into detail about both estimates and cost plans, determining exactly what it is, what makes it different, and which one is right for your project.


Construction Estimates – The Final Piece of the Puzzle

Even though they are put together well before materials are ordered and work commences, building estimates are actually created quite late into the planning stages.

Plans and blueprints have been designed, a budget has been set, and the project has been given the go-ahead.

All that remains, is for builders and other contractors to quote in an effort to ensure that it is their business, rather than their competitors, that lands the construction contract.

To do that, they consult a professional build estimator to pull together a comprehensive and accurate estimate covering: materials, equipment costs, and labour.

In other words, they’re one of the final pieces of the puzzle in construction project planning.


What Are Cost Plans in the Construction Industry?

Cost plans, on the other hand, come together much earlier on in the project, usually as part of a feasibility study.

As the name implies, a feasibility study is an in-depth assessment into the viability of a project. It identifies key issues including:

  • Planning permission and legal issues
  • Environmental impact
  • Site appraisals.

And much more.

Cost planning is just one of the tasks carried out at this stage, though it is undoubtedly an important one.

Typically, such plans assess the affordability of a project throughout the planning stages, ensuring that – as designs are created and technical drawings are drafted- the associated costs are in line with client’s’ budget requirements.


Fixed Estimate vs. Ongoing Cost Plan

Another major difference between construction estimates and feasibility cost plans is the very nature of both types of financial forecasting.

Cost plans both reflect and influence early planning, and as such usually evolve and are altered right the way up until designs are finalised.

By the time it comes to creating a completed cost estimate however, the build estimator is working from a fixed and finalised set of plans.

This means that the estimate itself is going to be a much more accurate reflection of what the total cost of the project will eventually be.


Who Can Benefit from Cost Plans?

For the most part, assessing feasibility with a cost plan is usually something reserved for large scale projects with a large budget.

With so much at stake, it is important for those planning the job to leave nothing to chance. As such, Project Managers use cost plans to ensure that they are on track and on budget right from the get-go.

That being said; self-builders and home renovators, especially those with limited experience in the construction industry can also make great use of solid cost plan to help with a number of key tasks:

  • Determining the viability of their project
  • Setting budget expectations
  • Applying for loans or funding to complete the work.

Did you know that My Build Estimate can help with your feasibility cost planning needs? Order online today, or to discuss your requirements, call now on 03304 048 526.

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