Long has been the need for a manual on conceptual cost estimating that allowsthe construction industry and the engineering/management staff ofchemical,refin-ery, and industrial plants to arrive at a reasonable cost for a specified facility. Sim-ply to rely on past records and say that a certain type plant will cost ten dollars perpound produced, and the product can be sold for fifteen dollars per pound, by nomeans justifies the construction cost of the plant. Management of all organizationsconcerned demands more reasoning and is certainly within its rights to do so.When a project is in its planning and evaluating stages, the cost of a completedesign and definitive estimate would be, in most cases, too great to justify thedesign and estimate. Therefore, it becomes apparent that a less expensive methodis needed to determine the feasibility of the plant in mind. By using a very moder-ate flow sheet design, specifications, and/or equipment lists, by properly applyingman-hours, dollars, percentage values (as are shown throughout this manual ingraph and table form), and construction indexes, and by considering other itemsoutlined in the Introduction, a total cost very close to the as-built cost of a com-plete plant should be obtainable for any location in the world.
The Human Factor in Estimating
In this high-tech world of sophisticated software packages, including several forlabor and cost estimating, you might wonder what an estimating manual offers thata computer program does not. The answer
preparing a com-plete estimate for a refinery, petrochemical, or other heavy industrial project oneoften confronts 12-18 major accounts, and each account has 5-100 or more sub-accounts, depending on the project and its engineering design. While it would seemthat such numerous variables provide the perfect opportunity for computerizedalgorithmic solution, accurate, cost-effective, realistic estimating is still largely afunction of human insight and expertise. Each project has unique aspects that stillrequire the seasoned consideration of an experienced professional, such as gener-al economy, projects supervision, labor relations, job conditions, constructionequipment, and weather, to name a few.Computers are wonderful tools. They can solve problems as no human can, butI do not believe construction estimating is their forte. I have reviewed several con-struction estimating software packages and have yet to find one that I would com-pletely rely on. Construction estimating is an art, a science, and a craft, and I rec-ommend that it be done by those who understand and appreciate all three of thesefacets. This manual is intended for those individuals.