Standard Active Last Updated: Aug 24, 2023 Track Document
ASTM E2514-15(2020)

Standard Practice for Presentation Format of Elemental Cost Estimates, Summaries, and Analyses

Standard Practice for Presentation Format of Elemental Cost Estimates, Summaries, and Analyses E2514-15R20 ASTM|E2514-15R20|en-US Standard Practice for Presentation Format of Elemental Cost Estimates, Summaries, and Analyses Standard new BOS Vol. 04.12 Committee E06
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Significance and Use

5.1 Significance: 

5.1.1 The application of elements (see 3.1.1 and Terminology E833) to the description and the summary and analysis of building construction cost provides a consistency, commonality, and utility through all stages of design that other forms of estimate presentation do not.

5.1.2 This practice describes a simple format for elemental cost analysis presentation that is both valuable and informative when used during the various design stages of construction development.

5.2 Use—Users include owners, developers, contractors, cost professionals, estimators, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, facility managers, and others involved in property development, construction, maintenance, and management.

5.2.1 Reporting—Cost reports structured by elements provide estimates, summaries, and analyses by applying “Cost to Function.” This application works whether the approach is “Design to Cost” or “Cost to Design.” Value analysis is greatly assisted through the allocation of estimated cost to elements.

5.2.2 Controlling—Comparison of progressively more detailed estimates is simplified where cost is allocated to appropriate elements regardless of design or specification, permitting efficient review and checking of new estimates. Design estimating using elements allows for benchmarking and the setting of cost limits (baseline) for a building design from the outset, and also permits the establishment of an elemental cost plan (see 3.2.1). Baseline records and cost plans are accessed and compared with current reports.

5.2.3 Recording—Historic and baseline cost records are easily kept for all forms of building construction, and in a format that can be used for the planning and design of future projects.

5.2.4 Other Uses—Elemental summaries and analyses are equally useful in forensic estimating and in quantitative risk analysis.

5.2.5 Relationship to “Trade” Estimating—Traditional trade (or construction) estimating summarizes cost to a product, or trade classification. This is valuable when construction work has been fully specified or contracted, but is less so through the planning and design stages. The two systems (trade and elemental) are compatible in that they both relate to the same end product, for example, a building; they differ solely in the way cost is aggregated. Each estimate form can be converted to the other by coding or allocating each construction component to an appropriate trade/product division or element. During design evolution, changes in design and specification can make trade estimates difficult to compare with previous or other, or both, estimates and so can hinder the process of cost control during the design phase.

5.2.6 Additional Narrative Information—While costs presented in these formats are descriptive in themselves they do not tell the full story of a project’s design. Narrative description of the construction work should also be an integral part of any complete presentation. Reference and description of this narrative form can be found in Practice E1804, and in Classification E1557 Appendix X3—Preliminary Project Description (PPD).

5.3 A detailed description of the presentation formats now follows. These descriptions are provided in eight sections, each intended to aid understanding of a particular facet of the formats:


Section 6

Element Inclusions and Exclusions

Section 7

Basic Rules

Section 8


Section 9

Numeric Precision

Section 10

Estimate Calculation

Section 11

Analysis Calculation

Section 12

Variations and Additions

Section 13


1.1 This practice covers the concurrent use of relevant ASTM standards for the preparation of elemental cost estimates, summaries, and analyses and specifically their presentation in a concise, consistent, and logical manner.

1.2 While the style and directions use construction terms applied to buildings, the principles apply equally well to other forms of construction where appropriate elemental classifications exist.

1.3 This practice is not an estimating manual, nor is it a guide to the skills and knowledge required of an estimator or other cost professional.

Note 1: The skills and knowledge acquired by a trained and experienced estimator are essential to the successful application of any elemental presentation format. They are the foundation of any estimate and the underpinning knowledge required when applying the elemental technique.

1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 04.12
Developed by Subcommittee: E06.81
Pages: 22
DOI: 10.1520/E2514-15R20
ICS Code: 03.100.20