The core tenet of an estimate is that each is unique. This uniqueness is driven by hard costs of construction. There are five distinct hard cost drivers in every estimate. Each cost driver has different application principles (introduced in this lesson), different sources of value and final markup formulas to determine the final estimated hard cost. The five distinct cost drivers are 1) materials, 2) subcontracted services, 3) equipment application, 4) labor and 5) intangible expenditures. Each type of cost (driver) has principles of application, i.e. thought processes an estimator must consider. Some of the principles are common among all five types of costs. Others may be unique to just that particular cost driver. This lesson introduces these five cost drivers and the various application principles involved with each driver.
All hard costs are directly assignable to a job. These costs are most often tangible in nature, but there are many intangible costs that can be directly assigned to the job. Thus some intangible costs are ‘Hard’ costs. A contractor must understand the difference between hard and soft costs in order to properly markup assignable costs to determine the final sales price of the project built.