Risk-Based Construction Cost Estimating – In a comprehensive, agency-wide effort to improve and revitalize itself through the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Modernization Project, TxDOT is examining ways to create consistent, accurate, and well-documented project cost estimates and risk management practices at the various project development phases (i.e., planning and programming, preliminary design, and design) for roadway and bridge construction projects.
TxDOT contracted with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) to assist with these efforts. These improvement efforts follow a phased approach:
• Phase I: Identify TxDOT’s current processes and practices regarding cost estimating and risk management, compare those processes and practices to recognized best practices, and make recommendations for improvements.
• Phase II: Develop reference materials and tools to assist TxDOT in adopting the recommended best practices for construction cost estimating and project risk management; develop workshops to validate the reference materials and tools with trial districts.
• Future Phases: Distribute the reference materials and tools agency-wide with appropriate guidance; expose all districts to the reference materials and tools through a series of workshops and/or training opportunities.
Phase I of the improvement process occurred late 2011 through early 2013 culminating is a report noting three primary areas where TxDOT should focus their initial efforts to improve construction cost estimating and risks management: (1) scope and estimate documentation; (2) risk determination and contingency setting; and (3) estimate review and approval.
It should be recognized that during the interviews with several districts, researchers noted that TxDOT is performing many of the best practices identified in the national research; however, those practices were often used informally and performed inconsistently from one district to the next.
Phase II of the improvement effort is currently underway. This “Risk-Based Construction Cost Estimating Reference Guide” (Reference Guide) captures and communicates the practices and processes TxDOT will advance to improve their project delivery. A series of workshops with select districts aided in the development and validation of the Reference Guide.