Article #467 How to Have an Agile Solution to Monitor, Evaluate and Report the Status of Cost Estimates on Capital Construction Projects

To have a realistic budget for a capital construction project that an organization can commit to, the organization needs to have an accurate and comprehensive cost estimate for the project’s scope of work. For those responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and reporting the status of the cost of capital construction projects, their top priority is how to have a trust-worthy real-time single version of the truth reports that fulfill this need without the need to wait for months to get what is needed. They need to be able to have this information as reports that they can review, comment, share, and report on.

The same PMWeb Project Management Information System (PMIS) solution used for managing the project’s budget, commitment contracts and revenue contracts will be also used to ensure that the cost estimate data to be reported on is trustworthy and comprehensive. This will be achieved by automating the cost estimate management process needed to manage a capital construction project by defining the input form and submitting, reviewing, and approving workflow for each process. Those processes can be attached with all relevant supporting documents as well as linked with relevant records of other project management processes. The automation of the cost estimate process will enforce the best practices of transparency and accountability that each project entity seeks to have.

This will also enable using PMWeb to immediately fulfill the cost estimate monitoring, evaluating, and reporting requirements of the projects’ stakeholders. Using PMWeb ready to use cost estimate process and the out-of-the-box stock of forms, reports, and dashboards, the needed reporting will become immediately available. Of course, those forms, reports, and dashboards can be fully customized and altered to fulfill any formatting or branding requirements when needed.

The first reporting requirement for cost estimates would be to have a single version of the truth of the cost database that will be used to estimate the cost of the project’s scope work. The level of details of those cost items could vary from one organization to another depending on the role they play on a project, their experience in delivering similar projects, and the material and labor resources rates for delivering a similar type of work. PMWeb allows organizations to build their cost databases which can be linked to commitment contracts that have a similar scope of work. This will enable the organization to maintain the cost history of items used to estimate the cost of their projects. PMWeb Items History report details each item defined in the cost database along with the details on what contracts those items existed and what was the cost of those items.

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The PMWeb Items History report reader can drill down from this report, to have more details on each cost item captured in the cost database. For each cost item, the default PMWeb Item Purchase History form will provide the item details including the unit of measure, the current unit cost value used in estimates, date updated, and the lowest, highest, median, and the average cost of the item based on awarded commitments. The form will include two visuals to show the Purchase History by Year for Unit Cost and Units Purchased. The form will also include the list of all awarded commitment contracts that the cost item was part of.

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The cost item will be one of the options used to create the project cost estimate in PMWeb. In addition, there is the option of importing the cost estimate from third-party cost estimate applications using the MS Excel template. Similar to other business process forms, the PMWeb output form will include in addition the potential change order details, the list of attached documents as well as the status of the workflow tasks assigned to the process.

PMWeb out of the box cost estimate form provides the details of the cost estimate captured in PMWeb. The form will include the total cost estimate amount, details of the cost estimate items including description, project phase, cost code or cost breakdown structure (CBS) value), cost type, unit of measure, quantity, unit price, and total cost. In addition, it will include a list of attached documents, workflow tasks status, notes, additional fields, and clauses.

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PMWeb Estimates report provides a list of all cost estimates including versions captured in PMWeb for each project, each scope of work, and each revision. Filters are available in the report to enable the reader to select the estimates to be reported on.

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All PMWeb out-of-the-box forms and reports can be saved in an MS Excel file in addition to other types of file types. This will enable the user to take advantage of the data saved in MS Excel by doing his/her analysis and reporting using business intelligence tools like MS Power BI. Of course, there is the option of reading PMWeb cost estimate data from the PMWeb database if this is a requirement. For example, a report can be created to analyze the escalation of key construction material prices over the past year.

Another report can be created to analyze the cost estimate by the cost breakdown structure (CBS) levels and to have better visualization of the overall estimate. In addition, the report will display the average cost per square foot or square meter. Other reports can be used to compare other cost versions.


About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services, and project management information systems to over 200 projects with a total value over the US $100 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality, and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication, and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training, and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker on topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management, and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 40 years, he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and South America. He has written more than 300 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and London Business School, London, UK.


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