Cost Engineering & Estimating Standards

Review Design Standards General Statements before utilizing this web page.

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Denver Service Center (DSC) Requirements

Denver Service Center (DSC) Requirements

NPS Cost Estimating Requirements Handbook

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

  • All Class C project estimates shall be formatted utilizing the UNIFORMAT II (WBS) in accordance with ASTM E1557-09(2020)e1.
    • All Class C estimates must be summarized to the asset level and broken down to UNIFORMAT II, Level 2, with supplemental detail to at least Level 3.
  • All Class B & A project estimates shall be formatted utilizing MasterFormat 2020 (WBS) in accordance with ASTM E2129-05(2020) and supported by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).
    • All Class B & A estimates must be summarized to the asset level and broken to MasterFormat to Level 2, with supplemental detail to at least Level 3.
  • If NPS and Architect/Engineer (A/E) Estimator fully agree in writing prior to starting any estimating, then it is acceptable to use the MasterFormat template for the Class C estimate.
  • Note: Depending on the project's stage of development, the Level 4 detail may be referenced in accordance with Appendix A in ASTM E1557 or CSI MasterFormat 2020. The 2 classification systems relate to each other and are shown in the estimating templates on separate worksheets/tabs.

Mark Ups

  • Estimating Mark-ups and their application to various levels of construction estimates are defined in the NPS Cost Estimating Requirements Handbook.
    • Asset Categories - NPS defines an asset as a physical structure or grouping of structures, land features, or other tangible property which has a specific service or function. NPS asset portfolio includes over thirty asset types-from roads, trails, buildings, and utility systems to monuments, marinas, fortifications, and aviation systems. For a list of asset categories, see Appendix G in the NPS Cost Estimating Requirements Handbook.
    • General Conditions - Standard General Conditions shall include all normal Field Requirements defined in ASTM E2083-05(2016) and the NPS Cost Estimating Requirements Handbook: Government General Conditions shall include any additional project specific requirements necessary to comply with NPS Division 01 Specification requirements beyond those detailed in the Standard General Conditions for non-government projects.


  • AACE International (American Association of Cost Engineers)
  • ASPE (American Society of Professional Estimators)
  • ASTM E1557-09(2020)e1: Standard Classification for Building Elements and Related Sitework—UNIFORMAT II
  • ASTM E2083-05(2016): Standard Classification for Building Construction Field Requirements, and Office Overhead & Profit
  • ASTM E2129-05(2020): MasterFormat Standard Classification supported by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI)
  • GAO-20-195G (Government Accountability Office): Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Developing and Managing Capital Program Costs
    • The United States GAO is charged with providing information to Congress to assist them with oversight of federal operations, programs, agencies, and to assess their stewardship of public funds. The GAO published this guide in March 2009 to:
      1. "…help Federal agencies produce well-documented, comprehensive accurate and credible estimates", as attributed to the Comptroller General in the press release that accompanied the report.
      2. Establish a consistent methodology that is based on best practices and that can be used across the Federal Government for the developing, management, and evaluating capital program cost estimates", as stated in the preface to the report. (GAO Report, March 2, 2009)
      3. Reduce the risk of cost overruns, missed deadlines, and performance shortfalls.
      4. Improve the accountability and tracking of program changes; evaluate how well programs, risk management and cost control practices are performing; and improve the ability to respond to and litigate cost."
  • NIST 6389 (National Institute of Standards and Technology): UNIFORMAT II Elemental Classification for Building Specifications, Cost Estimating, and Cost Analysis


Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)

  • FAR 36.203(a) Government estimate of construction costs. - "An independent Government estimate of construction costs shall be prepared and furnished to the contracting officer at the earliest practicable time for each proposed contract and for each contract modification anticipated to exceed the simplified acquisition threshold. The contracting officer may require an estimate when the cost of required work is not anticipated to exceed the simplified acquisition threshold. The estimate shall be prepared in as much detail as though the Government were competing for award."
  • FAR 36.609-1 Design within funding limitations. - Unless otherwise specified in the design contract documents, the Architect-Engineer (AE) shall design the project so that bid construction costs will not exceed funding limitations established as the "Basis of Fee Negotiation." This regulation applies, conditionally requiring the AE to redesign the project at their own expense to assure that a responsive construction bid amount will be within funding limitations.

Last updated: March 15, 2024

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