11 Project Cost System*

11.1 Introduction

The focus of this chapter shifts from managing time to managing cost. Cost and time, of course, are not unrelated. As we saw earlier, there is a most efficient time in which to complete an activity. Earlier completion can be achieved but, typically, will cost money invested in expediting completion of the activity. Later completion will not necessarily save money, and in most cases will cost money due to extending the project and increasing overhead costs.

In this chapter, we consider the various elements of the project cost cycle, starting with the estimate and moving through the project to collection of actual unit costs to be incorporated into the company cost database for use in starting the cycle again for a future project. We will also return to the relationship between time and money. Although the details of a specific cost-control system vary substantially from one construction firm to another, the ensuing treatment can be regarded as being reasonably typical of current practice within the construction industry.

Learning objectives for this chapter include:

  • Understand how the cost cycle flows throughout the entire project.
  • Recognize project cost accounting as the key component of the project cost system.
  • Understand the critical importance of accurately capturing data from the field for cost control and estimating.
  • Recognize that cost report detail needs to be tailored to the project and the managers receiving the reports.
  • Learn ...

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