Creating a Project Budget

How do we go about determining the overall cost? Preparing an overall Project Cost budget at the outset of a project is perhaps the single most important aspect of completing a successful project. While the cost of the building itself will be your largest expense, there are a number of other costs that are essential and if not calculated at the outset, can stifle the design and construction process.Having personnel experienced with construction and familiar with budgeting will help achieve a smooth progress of the overall project. Please refer to a sample project budget checklist below.


1. Land Purchase
2. Site Conditions Survey – Topographic & Boundary
3. Subsurface Soil Investigations
4. Environmental & Hazardous Survey
5. Building Construction Cost

a. Foundation, Framing, Drywall, Flooring, Roofing
b. Plumbing, Electrical, Security System
e. Landscaping, irrigation system, fencing and other minor site work
f.  Site Work
g. Exterior Signage
h. Sewer lines, water mains and other utility lines

6. Site Construction Cost
7. ‘Soft Fees’

a. Architects Engineers Fees and Expenses
b. Civil Engineer Fee
c. Interior Design Fee
e. Special Consultants i.e. Acoustic Specialist for a Theatre
c. Development Impact Fees, Plan Review Fees, Building Inspection Fees, Development and Building Permit Fees**
d. Rezoning Fees and Expenses
e. Professional fees associated with rezonings, special use permits, waivers and variances.

8. Contingency Fund for essential changes during construction

a. 10% for new construction
b. up to 15% for renovations of existing buildings

9. Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (F,F & E)

a. Sound, Audio & Video Systems
b. Kitchen Equipment
c. Library shelving and equipment
d. Office furniture and equipment
e. Recreation equipment – indoor & outdoor

10. Existing Building

a. Landscaping, irrigation system, fencing and other minor site work
b. Demolition – interior or exterior
c. Minor repairs, renovations, painting or other finishing work

11. Financing Cost (Interest, Closing Costs & Fees), Insurance & Legal Fees

a. Construction loan
b. Permanent loan
f. Bonds and Insurance*
g. Builder’s Risk Insurance **
h. Liability Insurance
i. Legal Fees

12. Fund Raising Expenses

a. Fees paid to capitol fund raiser
b. Expenses for publicity, brochures, banquets, etc.

* Some architectural firms may include these items in their fees and expenses.
** May be built in to contractor’s construction contract cost.

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