Per Square Foot Cost Estimate

July 22, 2011

Q: Is there any database for our technologies that we can give to GCs and CMs showing a per square foot cost estimate for planning purposes?

A: No, but I sure wish there was. We spent several years working with RS Means, a division of Reed Construction Data, on a product called “CostWorks.” As we attempted to come up with a per square foot pricing model for each system type and each building type, we quickly found that the variances between good, better and best were too dramatic to be viable for their model. For example, we had a standard corporate boardroom where good was $30k, better was $75k and best was more than $300k. Those ranges ended up meaningless when compared to things like carpet, lighting, wall coverings, etc.

If you are required to submit a “plug number” for the technology build out, contact NSCA and we will give you a formula to use based upon the research we have gathered over the years. It needs to be specific on a scope of work and type of project, such as a church A/V system including conduit, wiring, inputs/outputs, type of design, number of seats, etc. That’s a simple example. A more difficult request is something like an airport security system. The feature sets, code requirements, storage methods, biometrics, etc., have enormous cost differences. Whenever you need something like this, just contact us. –CW

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