Pulling it All Together

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Article Index
Pulling it All Together
To Be Modular
Projects Modelled with UII
Text Reports
Aggegation
Entity Abstraction
Appendices
All Pages

Pulling a Project Together: Aggregation and Abstraction(?) 

 

 

UNIFORMAT II (UII) Classifications are being developed as individual, discrete, classifications of specific constructed entities.

This is deliberate as it is intended that each discrete classification be a stand-alone working tool (we’ll use the term module) that can, where necessary, be used in conjunction other UII classifications to meet the specific needs of any  project or program of work. They will work individually or as a package.

It should always be borne in mind that the concept of ‘functional elements’ was developed  for the improved estimation of construction when little of the project is known, and thus setting a basis for continuous cost control in a milieu of ever increasing detail as the design and working documents are developed.

 

While it may seem that the more detail (i.e. elements) is included in a classification the more useful it becomes, the opposite is true. The UII Guidelines paragraph 6.1 Element – Choice, Selection, and Desirable Attribute Rules (available to members of ASTM’s sub-committee E06.81 Building Economics, but soon to be abridged and added to this website) are specific when referring to the need for elements to be quantifiable “at all stages of development” and this includes the initial planning stage when no design detail is available, or yet contemplated, or approved. By being quantifiable at this planning stage the application of cost modelling techniques is aided and the results substantially improved. This is a form of Parametric Estimating that is routinely employed  to great effect in other industries.

The improvement possibilities in early estimation through using UII, will become invaluable to experienced practitioners, as it facilitates the examination of a variety of  options and the setting of realistic budgets prior to gaining the all-important client internal project funding, and other approvals. This is almost always prior to the implementation phase, wherein the design work and eventual construction is initiated and prgressed. This improved advance planning is achieved with a minimal additional expenditure of time and resources, as the results of earlier elemental construction analyses are ‘fed-forward’ into the new cost plan.

It is an unfortunate truth that the most important client decisions are made, and critical approvals are required, when the least information about a proposed scheme is known or available. UII elemental techniques help address this problem by providing more analytical, logical, and adjustable/revisable initial estimates than the traditional single rate or other ‘rule-of-thumb’ (heuristic) techniques in common use.


 
To be modular

The elemental technique is NOT a substitute for the well tried and tested construction hierarchical work breakdown, specification, and accounting formats commonly in use e.g. MasterFormat and similar forms in use throughout the world.

A UII Classification is intended to be a working tool and not just a “list of stuff.” By supporting a ready analysis at a sufficiently high level permitting meaningful, project specific, budget setting in a format that can be used for cost control as the design progresses.

UII rules require that each entity be analysed individually. Each entity, a building for example, is likely to be unique in one way or another and by maintaining its individual cost plan demands a more focussed budget and control process.


 
Projects (Programs) to be modelled with available UNIFORMAT II (UII) Classifications

By deliberately setting out to be ‘modular’ UII elemental classifications permit all sizes, combinations and complexities of projects and programs to be presented, using only those UII classifications that are needed. The inclusion of redundant entities is eliminated.

Single entity projects require little in the way of summary beyond that inherent in the UII technique.

Projects comprising several common entities (i.e. similar, as for example including several buildings) , and those of many different entities too, require a consistent approach to summation. Client needs will dictate the appropriate levels of summary and entity aggregation required, although this will tempered by the analyst’s recommendations based on their professional experience. This summation arrangement, once agreed, should be continued throughout the cost planning, cost control and cost analysis processes.

Simply put, each entity will be presented using the appropriate format as set out in ASTM’s Standard E2514 Practice for Presentation Format of Elemental Cost Estimates, Summaries, and Analyses. Then, the final total from each entity presentation is added into a separate grand summary whose Grand Total will report the full construction cost that is to be included in the overall project cost summary. ASTM’s Standard E2620 Classification for Project and Program Estimate Summaries refers to this and broadly indicates the many additional items of work and activity that make up a full project or program.

 
Text Reports

The discussion to this point has related almost solely to the cost aspect of any planned entity. This emphasis is unavoidable as Cost Management (Planning, Control and Analysis) during planning and design is the genesis of UII and remains its primary use in the Real Property sector to this day.

 

Notwithstanding this emphasis it has been found that the hierarchal classifications written into the UII family of standards are equally useful for text-rich, written, reports as well. So while this text typically speaks of cost summaries the approach should also be understood as applying equally  to other forms of reports as well.

 

Elements (functional elements), as defined and identified in UII, can be most usefully thought of as ‘containers’. They are consistent despite the design solutions, materials and construction methods used to deliver them. So, whether the content is a set of measured, or estimated, quantities, assessed unit rates, and resultant sums of money, OR is a narrative describing the design requirements, solutions, materials, methods, current condition, life expectancy, and identified defects etc., the same hierarchy of elements is equally applicable. The major difference is that where this particular discussion paper  refers to adding totals together for a final summary, obtained from cost summaries and analyses any textual output will instead be presented in a book-like form. The element titles will become ‘book’ chapters, sections, and titles. Each separate constructed entity will in effect become a ‘book’, and the overall collection of entities (’books’) included in any project will become, in effect, a project ‘library’.

 

During the planning and initiation stages this commonality between textual narrative and cost plan is extremely useful and creates a significant interoperability advantage to designers, planners and particularly to the client who (who is not always being fully conversant with construction). All will very easily be able to clearly understand and relate what is planned to be spent, against what is to be received.

 


Aggegation

Projects will use the prescribed presentation format for each entity. Simple projects may need to use only one - an individual building with related sitework on one site for example. More complex projects may well include several entities, each presented in the prescribed format, with a construction cost grand summary collecting the totals of each entity together.

 

Project cost and descriptive, text, summaries is therefore an aggregation of the various entities required to complete the desired project.

 

Construction Cost Summaries

The structured framework of UII elemental classifications is used in cost summaries and analyses the purpose for which UNIFORMAT II is primarily designed in a variety of ways. These may be for cost planning and cost control, value engineering workshops, and quantitative risk analyses for example. Similar use can be made of the framework in preparing master schedules and structured cost manuals, and also, as noted earlier, for word-based reporting too. These may be Preliminary Project Descriptions, Condition Reports and other text-rich descriptive work.

 Project Cost Summary

Most monetary summaries can be very simple, recording the final total of each entity within the project, or program, contributing to a Grand Total.

By setting budgets and controlling cost at the entity level the simple summary need be no more than a totalling exercise. Analogous to a Table of Contents, used in word-based reports, the summary will record each entity total cost (in lieu of, or perhaps in addition to, a report page number), with the addition of a final Grand Total.

The entities need not be identical forms of construction, either all buildings, or all bridges for example, but will include all those entities included in the project or program. However, for reasons unique to any project/program, like entities can be grouped together with sub-totals of each group included in the Summary.

The possibilities for grouping within a simple summary are endless and may often be unique. Two basic examples follow:

Simple Summary

 

Simple Summary - Grouped

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entity 1

$

 

 

Group 1

 

 

 

 

Entity 2

$

 

 

          Entity 1-1

$

 

 

Entity 3

$

 

 

          Entity 1-2

$

 

 

Entity …

$

 

 

          Entity 1 - …

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sub-Total 1

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Total

$

 

 

Group 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          Entity 2-1

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

          Entity 2-2

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

          Entity 2-…

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sub-Total 2

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          Entity …

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sub-Total …

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Total

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each entity is always presented individually, and will cover the complete construction cost of that entity OR description of that entity including the full extent of the identified client needs and requirements. However, as this cost presentation or report is necessarily all-inclusive the presentation may well include work that is:

 

1. paid from a distinct, identified, and separate funding source, or is to be;

2. attributed to one, or several, specific end goals inherent in the overall construction, or for; one reason or another;

3. the client wishes to see specifically  identified.

 

These ‘included’ costs or description are therefore, for want of a better term, ‘abstracted’ from the overall presentation. Using  precisely the same classification format for each ‘abstract’ provides a very clear picture of what is included, and where, in the overall entity.

 

Depending on a variety of specific project and client needs the approach to this identification of work in specific areas or needs can be approached in two main ways. Costing them separately and then aggregating them together (not to be confused with the aggregation of distinct constructed entities described earlier) to create the overall entity total, or costing the overall total for the entity and then abstracting them for separate identification. Which approach is applied will depend very much on the information available, the purpose of the presentation, and also, subjectively upon the cost planner’s preferred approach (usually the result of a quick decision on the simplest, least time consuming, and most direct approach in the circumstances!).

 


Entity Abstraction
Summary

A common occurrence, particularly with the Buildings entity, is the need of the client/owner to isolate and apportion construction cost to their planned use of parts of a planned building or buildings. Perhaps more properly these differing uses may be termed as functional space, although using that terminology can cause confusion with another approximate estimating technique. Again, the possibilities for such subdivision are endless, and are for the most part determined by the client’s own specific view of those operational cost centres that are important to control within their business investment operation.

In some instances this separation is simple, as some operations/functions will quite clearly be carried out in separate (separated) buildings. In these instances the simple summary approach, detailed above, will suffice. However in the case of mixed use single buildings, the client needs add an additional level of aggregation.

A word of caution – we are not speaking here of the approximate estimating technique that applies unit cost to separate room spaces for example, meeting rooms, washrooms, kitchens, and other room spaces etc. That is a different approach which, while it can be incorporated into an elemental process, it is not the broader use that we are addressing here.

A client’s intent, when requiring this added level of aggregation, is specific to their need for measuring their return on investment in each area, or cost centre. There is little use in spending more money than can reasonably be expected to be returned in the course of their business, or, in the case of funded operations, spending more than those funds permit.

While we address generic options here, the Appendices attached to this paper do include some examples of possible mixed use, high level functional space allocations.

 

Entity – Aggregated Cost Summary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entity - Name

 

 

 

 

Space Type 1

$

 

 

 

Space Type 2

$

 

 

 

Space Type …

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                    Entity Total

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entity Abstraction Analysis

In the very early planning stages it is possible that the decision to combine functional spaces together within single entities will not have been made, although the possibility of doing so may well be known. Consequently it may be prudent to initially cost plan each functional space separately i.e. making the assumption that each occupies its own floor, or wing. Note that this approach is not required for functions that occupy a whole building (remember that with UII every distinct, separate, building is required to be analysed and reported individually).

Estimating each function space (client cost centre) and presenting each in an elemental analysis will create several elemental analyses (as many as there broad function spaces or cost centres) which will be combined (summarised) into one overall elemental analysis. To do this is not a matter of adding the figures from each analysis together into one entity analysis (as can be the case with elemental summaries), but rather that the various estimates must be gathered together at the sub-element level. Familiarity with the elemental analysis report format (see E2514) will quickly indicate why the simple summing of analyses will fail, but the summing of elemental summaries can succeed.

 

Entity – Aggregated Cost Analysis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entity - Name

 

$

 

 

Includes:

 

 

 

 

Space Type 1

$

 

 

 

Space Type 2

$

 

 

 

Space Type …

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The presentation to a client will likely be just the one elemental analysis or, the one single sum, with the included analyses presented as supporting appendices.

This paper is a draft that may become a proposed ASTM standard if the sub-committee so chooses, although it will require more detailed thought yet before that can satisfactorily  happen.

 

It will be evident to those who have read through the foregoing that the range of approach and possible report format is wide and unique to each project. Whereas with the elemental format, applied  to each specific entity, the format is fixed and is deliberately kept so to maintain a rigorous database for comparison, control and record keeping. The aggregation summaries referred to above may differ, project to project, but of course, once set, they must be maintained consistently for the duration of the project.

 

The Appendices that follow are necessarily only a brief range of possible aggregated and abstracted summaries to aid the readers further understanding.

 


Appendices

Example Summary Arrangements

The possible arrangement for summaries is infinite, as projects/programs vary widely and will usually be unique in one way or another. Note: the following examples are hierarchical in layout, and this is indicated by text indentation. Group sub-totals may be included for each level leading to a final Grand Total(these are not shown in the following examples).

Simple -Aggregation

Word-based reports will use similar arrangements being like chapter headings in a typical book Table of Contents. This same arrangement may also be used for monetary summaries. Total sums (the bottom line of each “chapter”) are included against each title, and sub-totalled and totalled as necessary. This summary may be called a Grand Summary.

Simple Single Building

Building

Related Sitework

 

Simple Highway Program

Road Section 1

Main Highway

Service Roads

Bridge 1

Bridge 2

Bridge …

Tunnel …

Service Area

Building

Related Sitework

Road Section 2

Ditto. as above

Road Section

Ditto. as above

 

Simple Campus Like

Building 1

Building 2

Building …

Sitework

 

Simple Airport

Air-Side

Runway 14/32

Runway

Taxiway Alpha

Taxiway …

Ramp/Apron

Service Roads (location)

Service Roads …

Tunnel 1

Tunnel …

Bridge 1

Bridge …

Sitework

Ground-Side

Building 1

Building 2

Building …

Entrance Road

Tunnel 1

Tunnel …

Bridge 1

Bridge …

Sitework

 

Complex - Abstractions

Word-based reports might well use similar arrangements, as shown above and below, working like chapter headings in a book as in a Table of Contents too. However, in monetary summaries each space type would be represented by a full and complete Elemental Cost Summary OR a full and complete Elemental Analysis. The complete building would be represented by an elemental summary OR an elemental cost analysis which will be an aggregation of the space type summaries OR analyses. These aggregations may perhaps be called an Elemental Grand Summary OR Elemental Grand Analysis.

Complex Buildings

 

Shopping Mall

Retail Space

Mall

Support Space

Related Sitework

 

Mixed Use Building

Parking

Retail

Office Space

Residential Space

Related Sitework

 

Hotel

Front of House

Back of House

Food and Beverage Services

Meeting and Banquet

Guest Accommodation

Parking

Related Sitework

 

Complex Bridge

            (Long bridges often use differing design solutions for specific spans)

            Approach spans

             Main spans

            etc

 

Additional Background Notes

Referred directly to the Ministry of Transport Ontario web page the following two links will demonstrate that programs carried out under constraints of time, money, approvals, land acquisition, and other impediments will generate many projects (contracts and cost divisions) and that, when using UNIFORMAT II, each entity, within each contract or division, will be dealt with individually creating a very ‘granular’ level of description and control.

Highway 416

North

From Highway 417 to Century Road http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/416/north.shtml

South

From Century Road to Highway 401 http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/416/south.shtml