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Cost Estimating Tools

Cost Estimating Format (Tool) for Large Construction Projects

FEMA’s Cost Estimating Format (CEF) is a uniform methodology that is applied when determining the cost of eligible permanent work for large construction projects. FEMA specialists and grant applicants work together to develop descriptions and scopes of work to repair, restore or replace facilities damaged as a result of a declared disaster.

Benefits for the applicant:

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Reduced administrative costs.

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Budget reflects an upfront calculation.

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Manage with a greater confidence.

Cost Estimating Format Tool

The Cost Estimating Format has eight parts that reflect the proposed costs of each large project. The structure of the tool mirrors the applicant-general contractor-subcontractor relationship for eligible work.

  1. Base construction cost for labor, equipment and materials required to perform eligible work.
  2. Costs for work execution such as temporary services and utilities, safety and security measures, field supervision, quality control and administrative submittals.
  3. Construction cost contingencies such as project unknowns and complexities, and the degree of difficulty for site access, storage and staging.
  4. Applies to contracted work for the general (or prime) contractor's home office overhead, insurance, bonds and profit.
  5. Accounts for cost escalation at certain points over the duration of the project.
  6. Fees for building permits, plan checks and special reviews.
  7. Owner's reserve for change orders and differing site conditions.
  8. The applicant's project management and design costs.

CEF Guidance and Resources

Expert Panel on Cost Estimating

The Expert Panel on Cost Estimating provides the historical significance of how CEF became a nationally-recognized method to developing award packages for large projects.

Section 205e(3) of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 directs FEMA to establish a methodology, consistent with industry practices, for estimating the cost to repair, restore, or replace eligible public facilities that are damaged during a major disaster. To accomplish this objective, FEMA is directed to establish an expert panel consisting of industry, State and local representatives to develop cost estimating procedures. The below documents are Federal Emergency Management Agency summary meeting notes from the first meeting of the expert panel on cost estimating for the public assistance program. This meeting was held at the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington, Virginia on June 26 and June 27, 2001.

First Panel Meeting - June 26 and 27, 2001 (PDF 199KB)
Attachments to Panel meeting minutes:
Appendix A (PDF 63KB)
Appendix B (PDF 716KB)
Appendix C (PDF 67KB)
Appendix D (PDF 382KB)

Second Panel Meeting - September 26, 2001 (PDF 62KB)
Attachments to Panel meeting minutes:
Appendix A - FEMA's Comparative Analysis (PDF 50KB)