IPA’s Estimating, Planning, and Control services are supported via the Project Research Division’s (PRD's) Cost and Schedule Groups. The services offered are applicable to all phases of the capital project cycle and range from benchmarking a project’s cost and schedule targets to reviewing cost estimates using detailed industry metrics. In addition, IPA’s capabilities range from review and evaluation of project outcomes (e.g., cost and schedule targets) to the use of Best Practices in developing and controlling a project’s cost and schedule.
IPA research has demonstrated a link between the use of specific Best Practices for Estimating, Planning, and Control and overall capital effectiveness. IPA’s efforts in this field are based on the concept of an investment or cost engineer, which assumes that the process of estimating, planning, and control is an integral part of the development of a capital project and the key to its success. The term cost engineering is explicitly used as it denotes a set of specific skills, knowledge, and competency, which are necessary for a successful capital project.
Examples of our capabilities include reviews of summary-level costs and detailed costs as well as an evaluation of a project’s schedule. In addition, IPA provides services to evaluate a project’s estimating and schedule process as well as the use of Best Practices in the development of cost and schedule targets during the project definition phase. In each of these reviews, the project’s cost, schedule, and/or practices are evaluated against current industry norms as well as Best Practices.
IPA’s services in the Estimating, Control, and Planning field are based on project data collected from Industry and are one-of-a-kind. The data captured through IPA’s benchmarking work for Estimating, Planning, and Control are summarized in the form of metrics and ratios to IPA’s clients through the Cost Engineering Committees. The industry metrics as well as the practices and processes used in IPA’s evaluations are based on the data collected from these industry projects.
IPA products and services in Estimating, Control, and Planning are tailored to meet the needs of a specific client or project. Evaluations can be performed at a number of different times over a project, including at Front-End Loading (FEL) 1 (Appraise), FEL 2 (Select), FEL 3 (Authorization), and project closeout. In addition to specific evaluations, IPA also offers training in cost engineering. Cost and Schedule Estimate development courses are offered in two different settings: public and private, which is restricted to one particular owner organization. In these courses, we share our extensive industry and methodological knowledge and provide suggestions for how to implement and develop a strong estimating function within your organization. With membership in the Cost Engineering Committee (CEC), clients receive metrics and tools that assist in their internal estimate development and validation. These metrics are developed using our Cost Databases and have observations from a wide variety of owners across many different industry sectors, including refining, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. For clients engaged in Exploration and Production, there is the Upstream Cost Engineering Committee (UCEC) that provides similar metrics as the CEC.
The Estimating, Planning, and Control services also include special studies, such as Regional Cost Studies as well as Historical Cost Escalation Trends developed using both client-supplied and public data. Special Cost Studies will help your organization gain a good understanding of an unfamiliar market by explaining cost trends within that region, highlighting important resource issues that may affect your project, and providing first-hand suggestions and recommendations from other project professionals that have worked in the region.