Unit-In-Place Costs vs. Unit Costs?

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    Marquis Nichol

    My understanding is that unit-in-place is something that has been already built (it's already in-place) and the cost of constructing a component has been examined. It is real-world examples that can be referenced for future projects.

    DCR Architect's Square Foot Costbook has a section on Unit-in-place that is the breakdown of component cost per built example projects. In this example it is broken down into very specific information per the CSI-MF divisions. Referencing unit-in-place costs can help to arrive at a unit cost through example projects. RS Means has similar data and ENR also takes from built examples.

    Unit cost is the process of establishing a unit for the purpose of budget early in the project. Square footage is a way of creating a unit cost but you would need to know what the cost of the square footage is before you can define the unit. A unit can also be something like a hotel room if you know the cost to construct that room in relationship to the entire hotel building. Historical data may help to arrive at a unit cost knowing that a hotel building costs x amount of dollars and there are y number of rooms, therefore each room cost z amount (unit cost). The complexity, level-of-finish, inflation, contractor availability, labor & material costs and other market factors can fluctuate the Unit Cost.

    Another thing to look at to establish the Unit Cost is the area multiplier. Ex: A building built in CO Springs isn't going to cost the same as a building built in LA. A $1,000,000 project built in CO Springs that would be replicated in LA would be 1,000,000 x 119/100 = 1,190,000. 119 is the area multiplier since cost of construction is higher in LA than CO Springs.

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