Project Management Cost Estimate Worksheet

Project Management Cost Estimate Worksheet calculates project fee which, in most cases, is the driving force behind every design and construction project.

Project Management Cost Estimate Worksheet
Project fee determines what the building looks like – size, shape, structure, building materials, air conditioning and heating systems, lighting, landscaping, etc., how much time the design professionals can devote to the project, how many design professionals will need to be allocate to the project and for how long, how much time and how many trips the design team can make to the project site, and ultimately, how much profit each participant is going to realize at the end of the project.

In determining the project fee that the design professionals should charge involves many factors. Some of the more identifiable, specific information needed is:

  • Scope of the project
  • Time duration for the design
  • Size of the project
  • Building systems
  • Overall construction budget
  • Project Management Cost Estimate Worksheet
  • Additional training or equipment that must be acquired before or during design

Additionally, there are issues that must be accounted for that can sometimes be sensitive in nature, such as:

  • Past relationships with the Architect of Record, Owner, or Contractor – if known before design is started.
  • Ease of working with other consultants and building officials in the jurisdiction where the project is to be constructed.
  • Experience and abilities of in-house design professionals.
  • Potential for designing the project at a reduced fee for some future benefit such as good-will, additional projects, or publicity.

There are numerous ways to arrive at a project fee that will satisfy most of the above stated issues. By utilizing the Project Management Cost Estimate Worksheet, a more consistent and accurate fee can be estimated.

Project Management Cost Estimate Worksheet


If the overall construction budget established by the owner is known and if the Project Manager can determine baseline percentages for the different parts of the design and construction process, then a fee can be determined as follows:

Project Management Cost Estimate Worksheet Examples

For an M-E-P Consulting Engineer

Method 1 – Percent of General Construction

  • Total General Construction Estimate = $50,000,000
  • MEP portion of the construction = 25% of the total = $12,500,000
  • MEP Design Fee (as percentage of the MEP construction) = 4%
  • MEP Design Fee (as percentage of General Construction) = 25% x 4% = 1% of General Construction
  • MEP Design Fee = $50,000,000 x 1% = $500,000

Method 2 – Percent of Architect’s Fee

  • Total General Construction Estimate = $50,000,000
  • Architect’s fee (as percentage of General Construction) = 10%
  • Architect’s fee = $50,000,000 x 10% = $5,000,000
  • MEP Design Fee (as percentage of Architect’s fee) = 10%
  • MEP Design Fee = $5,000,000 x 10% = $500,000

Method 3 – Total Staff Requirements by MEP Consultant

  • Staff costs (salary plus overhead)
  • Principal: $150 per hour
  • Project Manager: $120 per hour
  • Senior Engineer: $100 per hour
  • Design Engineer: $75 per hour
  • CADD operator: $50 per hour
  • Administrative: $40 per hour

If this project requires the following time commitments:

  • Principal: 25 hours
  • Project Manager: 350 hours
  • Project Engineers (each): 250 hours (total of 3 project engineers)
  • Design Engineers (each): 750 hours (total of 3 design engineers)
  • CADD operators (each): 1500 hours (total of 2 CADD operators)
  • Administrative: 250 hours
  • The staff costs would total $449,500.
  • If there is a 10% profit, the total MEP fee for this project would be $499,444 or $500,000.

Project Management is a complex, hands-on, task specific occupation that requires both the science of managing numbers and budgets as well as the art of managing people and project vision.

Project Management Cost Estimate Worksheet

A tool the Project Manager can utilize to standardize and automate the fee estimation part of the job is the Project Management Cost Estimate Worksheet. This worksheet can be manipulated to change costs, percentages, pay rates, profits, markups, and project scope. It also contains a worksheet to estimate the amount of time required by the design staff on a drawing by drawing basis if that is customary to you or your firm.

Project Management Cost Estimate Worksheet

Translate »