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Building Design & Planning Costs

The cost of building planning and design is calculated by engineering design companies according to their own procedures based on actual expenses (salaries, rentals, taxes, etc.) depending on the project type and content.

To quickly calculate the exact cost of the project, press the red button on the right side of the screen (please, specify the area, number of storeys, and the purpose of the building). We will answer shortly! If you need even more precise numbers, please, specify the project content and planning stages (the complete list of design sections). If you have doubts about the content of the project and stages of planning, consult with us. If you have some time, read through this article to learn about the pricing policy in planning and design works.

Salaries of highly skilled architects and engineering personnel account for the major part of the building design and planning costs. The cost of planning and designing is determined by two main factors: the area of the project and the complexity of the project. Ultimately, the cost is determined by the actual expenses of the planning organization to plan and design the project. However, it is impossible to accurately predict all expenses when pre-calculating the costs. Actual expenses in the course of the planning process may be affected by such factors as the customer’s experience, his technical and general cultural level, his relationship with the superior customer. All the above mentioned may have a significant effect on the number of the customer’s mistakes and miscalculations, which turn into endless free changes and revisions of the project. It is impossible to foresee and calculate these things, though it is necessary to include them in the costs. At the stage of commercial offer preparation, the possibilities to carry out serious (and free) calculations are minimal. Quite rare is the case when the customer suggests going slow and taking time to calculate everything thoroughly. Thus, we have to make a rough evaluation of the customer and include backup indices in the building planning costs. Besides, in the glorious years of 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, customers were so unwilling to pay for the performed design works on large projects that we have to take it into account when calculating both the total cost, and the advance payment. This partly explains the fact that the customer may see quite a wide range of prices for building planning and design. Those with little experience may set a very low price, and some may panic and get overcautious by fixing an unreasonably high price. While the prospective customer may be displeased with both too high and too low prices. Market participants are trying to guess the “right price”.

The main factors affecting the cost of planning and design:

The area of the project. Since the cost of planning works is largely composed of engineering staff expenses, and their fees are determined by the working hours spent on planning and design, it is no wonder that the cost of the project design is directly proportional to its area. In this regard the smallest projects have the bottom limit cost. 

The complexity of the project. The complexity of the project affects the man-hours and is directly proportional to the time spent on planning and design and the number of skilled personnel involved in the project. The more complex the building is, the more time it takes to design it, and so the higher the cost of design works becomes. The complexity of the project often depends on its profile (purpose). For example, an empty hangar used as a warehouse, with no heating, even of a very large area; a center of cardiovascular surgery; an ice skating rink; a football stadium; a shopping center; a school; a fire department; an insurance company data center; a swimming pool; a bank; a kindergarten; a modern high technology production center with special “clean premises”; a high-technology petrochemical laboratory center with dozens of gas reservoirs and corresponding gas pipelines and their arrangement on different levels; or a simple business center with nothing but offices – all these are projects of various design complexity levels.

The main criteria of a properly determined cost of planning and design:

  1. Competitiveness, i.e. the calculated price is acceptable and fair for other market participants, particularly, for the customer;
  2. Profitability (or, at least, a break-even result) of the project planning and design works for the design engineering organization;

The main cost calculation methods in building planning and design:

Cost calculation using reference books for benchmark prices of planning and design works. Planning and design costs may be calculated using local, federal and departmental reference books for benchmark prices of planning and design works, and guidance manuals (guidelines for calculating the cost of design works). The cost of planning and design of buildings to be constructed under federal funding is calculated using guidelines and standards listed in the latest version of the special register of costing standards; the transcript of the register is posted on the official website of the Ministry of Regional Development of the Russian Federation (MinRegion of Russia – minregion.ru) in the “Documents” section. This method can be used to calculate the cost of design for a commercial or private building. In this case, state prices of planning works will be advisory in nature and may serve as a benchmark. The cost of design works determined with the help of this method is used as a floor price in state and commercial competitions for engineering design companies. The design cost calculations, using this method, are performed by expert cost consultants with the help of a special software. In cost calculations for projects funded by local authorities, local (regional) standards are also used. And when designing buildings for various departments (EMERCOM, Defense Ministry, etc.), departmental standards are used.

Cost calculation using actual expenses. In order to calculate the costs using this method, it is necessary to calculate the engineering personnel required for the particular project and the time to be spent on its planning and design.

The total cost of planning and design usually comprises:40% of the total cost – planning and design documentation (first stage of planning and design), 60% of the total cost – detailed planning and design documentation (second stage of planning and design). Sometimes this ratio is 50/50 – everything depends on the project, the customer and the agreement achieved.

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