Cost and Scope Breakdown Structure for Functional Level Estimating of Consultant Fees Academic Article uri icon


  • Estimating the cost of preconstruction services (PCSs) during the early phases of highway project development is an important task requiring an increased level of attention. Research has found a link between early investment in PC planning and design services and final project costs. The purpose of this paper is to assess current estimating practices and propose a cost and scope breakdown structure (CSBS) framework to structure functional level estimation of consultant fees. Such a framework is promoted to reduce the chance that underfunded PCSs may degrade postaward construction contract cost certainty. This study found that PCSs were generally viewed as a minor component of a projects budget and were sometimes estimated without subsequent preconstruction cost control or accountability. Current practices for consultant fee estimating by state departments of transportation (DOTs) documented in this study show little standardization in estimating practices across and within transportation agencies. As a consequence, many individuals are creating their own tools to develop PCS cost estimates. The result is that national and regional consultants that work in more than a single state are forced to expend additional effort to maintain agency-specific work task databases; the cost no doubt is passed back to the agency in increased overhead costs. This study found that application of a CSBS to classify specific work tasks and utilization of a database of previous project cost information promote consistency and aid contract negotiations with consultants.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Craigie, E. K., Gransberg, D. D., & Jeong, H. D.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Craigie, Emily K||Gransberg, Douglas D||Jeong, H David

publication date

  • January 2016