When compared to the Unit and Superficial Area method, the Elemental Estimate or elemental method of estimating is a more detailed method of calculating the cost of a construction project. This estimate is easily understood by the client or any party involved in the design consultation because it shows separate elements of the building that have to be priced. It is good for cost planning (budgeting) because the summary shows the cost of each element. Just by looking at the summary, the Quantity Surveyor can identify elements which are taking up too much cost, and an investigation can be launched. This is done by analyzing the elemental items, for example the type of floor finishes used in the building. If the floor finishes are too expensive, alternative materials should be suggested by the Architect. The aim is to allocate money on essential components of the building first, and non-essential parts afterwards.

If you want to get useful information from an Elemental Estimate for cost advice purposes, then you should use an estimating program like QSPlus. QSPlus has a specialized Elemental Estimating module that shows you the percentage of the total cost for each element as well as the cost per m2.

Layout of an Elemental Estimate

Depending on the scope of your building project and specifications, an Elemental Analysis (Summary) will have the following elements:

 Element Unit Quantity Unit Rate Cost Cost/m2 Percentage of Total Cost 1 Foundations M2 2 Ground Floor Construction M2 3 Structural Frame M2 4 External Envelope M2 5 Roofs M2 6 Internal Divisions M2 7 Floor Finishes M2 8 Internal Wall Finishes M2 9 Ceilings and Soffits M2 10 Fittings M2 11 Electrical Installation M2 12 Internal Plumbing No. 13 Fire Services No. 14 Balustrading, Etc. m 15 Air Conditioning M2 16 Soil Drainage m 17 Water Supplies m 18 Connection Fees, Etc No. 19 Boundary, Screen and Retaining Walls, Etc. M2 20 Roads, Paving, Etc. M2 21 Preliminaries M2 22 Building Contract Contingencies M2 23 Cost Per M2 of Construction Area M2 100% 24

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