Determining Project Costs in the Reserve Study

The cost data for component projects is the foundation on which the remainder of the reserve study is based as all funding models are directly impacted by the current estimate and projected costs for repair / replacement of the different site and building component projects in the reserve study. Inaccurate data during the component analysis portion of the reserve study will likely lead to inaccurate recommendations for the different funding models that are developed.

Where does the cost data and useful life come from?

Client History
When we complete a reserve study for our Clients we ask for any relevant invoices, estimates and bids so that we can incorporate these into the reserve study (inflation adjusted). These are generally reliable with the exception of some that did not obtain numerous bids and overpaid or a vendor who has provided a bid for work that is less than the recommended standards (e.g. one sealcoat layer versus the recommended two). The reason vendors provide high or low bids are numerous and can include they don’t really want the job (too big or too small), they’re too busy, they lack the necessary equipment (high bid to purchase or lease equipment), not experienced with some aspect of the job, high degree of customer service may require higher fees, etc.

In House Database
We have worked with thousands of organizations over the years and most of them will provide some of their prior project costs to us. We keep track of these costs and update them as we received invoices, estimates and bids from our Clients. The result of this is that we have thousands of project costs, related to all types of projects, working with all types of organizations. One of the great benefits of utilizing the services of a professional reserve study firm is that we have seen invoices, estimates and bids hundreds or thousands of time in the past for all types of projects. Most people will never deal with large project expenses but to us it's simply another day at the office.

Cost Manuals
We also regularly utilize cost manuals such as RS Means and Marshall & Swift both of which are extremely accurate, when used correctly, for average project costs, updated quarterly and specific all the way down to the zip code. These cost manual companies interview thousands of vendors for many thousands of site and building components to determine average costs and then provide them in very comprehensive cost manuals. We have found these to be extremely helpful and accurate.