Most standard Project Evaluation System (PES®) cost analyses are done using what we refer to as summary, or level 1, cost data. Detailed Cost Analyses are conducted one level down in the work breakdown structure (WBS) and evaluate not only costs, but also labor hours and quantities of materials. Detailed cost analyses can occur anywhere along the project life cycle, although they are most beneficial in FEL 3 (Define) or after mechanical completion as a retrospective analysis. This is because it is uncommon for the hours and quantities to be frozen prior to choosing a scope alternative.
Detailed Cost Analysis results highlight issues with labor productivity, the amount of materials for a given scope, and costs by discipline. We can benchmark these various aspects of your estimated or actual costs, which allows teams to better understand the resources needed to execute a specific scope of work. The analysis of estimated costs helps teams to determine the strength or competitiveness of their assumptions. By comparing the analysis of completed costs against a detailed estimate, project control functions can understand where their estimating tools, methods, and assumptions are underperforming. After identifying and fixing these gaps, a project system is better able to effectively manage its capital budget.