Reliance on and Reliability of the Engineer’s Estimate in Heavy Civil Projects

George Okere

Abstract


To the contractor, the engineer’s estimate is the target number to aim for, and the basis for a contractor to evaluate the accuracy of their estimate. To the owner, the engineer’s estimate is the basis for funding, evaluation of bids, and for predicting project costs. As such the engineer’s estimate is the benchmark. This research sought to investigate the reliance on, and the reliability of the engineer’s estimate in heavy civil cost estimate. The research objective was to characterize the engineer’s estimate and allow owners and contractors re-evaluate or affirm their reliance on the engineer’s estimate. A literature review was conducted to understand the reliance on the engineer’s estimate, and secondary data from Washington State Department of Transportation was used to investigate the reliability of the engineer’s estimate. The findings show the need for practitioners to re-evaluate their reliance on the engineer’s estimate. The empirical data showed that, within various contexts, the engineer’s estimate fell outside the expected accuracy range of the low bids or the cost to complete projects. The study recommends direct tracking of costs by project owners while projects are under construction, the use of a second estimate to improve the accuracy of their estimates, and use of the cost estimating practices found in highly reputable construction companies.

Keywords


Engineer’s estimate; contract overruns; cost estimation; heavy civil projects; accuracy of cost estimates; reliability

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/AJCEB.v17i2.5348