Blog Archive

  • 4 improvements that led Enbridge to better cost estimating and benchmarking using Cleopatra

    We have always been in contact with the cost engineering team at Enbridge - before and after they decided to implement a dedicated software system for their cost estimating and benchmarking. It has been an inspiring journey that is worth sharing. That’s why we asked Prashant Srivastava, Cost Engineering Manager at Enbridge about his experiences. In our conversation, Prashant mentioned 4 important improvements associated with the implementation of Cleopatra at Enbridge.

  • Project Benchmarking: The Power of Metrics in the Construction Industry

    Apples and pears, both are a part of the category “Fruit”. Can we compare them? The weight of an apple and a pear might be comparable. Still, the nutrients per gram will differ since we are talking about two different types. Therefore, this comparison will not give relevant information about the performance of the apple, neither for the pear. In benchmarking too, it is important to think about which projects and which variables can be compared with each other. 

  • Location factors: The important ingredient in Project Cost Estimation

    Before starting a Cost Estimation for a technical project, it is important to have the knowledge of both the content and the circumstances of the project. One should be aware of the specific details during project execution along with an overview of the required equipment and labour activities. These particular conditions are captured by location factors, which is essential for a reliable cost estimate. 

  • Construction Industry Project Benchmarking: 3 Best Practices

    In the construction industry, there is fierce competition, generally on price. Multiple construction contractors bid for the same project. Based on these bids, the client decides which contractor should do the work. Construction companies want to bid the best to win and get the work. However, the bid should stay realistic and manageable. Otherwise, the contractor will not make a profit by executing the project. 

  • Cost Management Matters: 5 reasons for cost overruns in projects controls

    Proper planning is the key to a successful project, but of course, there are a few problems beyond the realm of planning as it is not always possible to predict what would happen after a project starts. One of the major problems is the cost overrun. Besides the underlying nature of massive and complex projects, poor execution of project management leads to increased costs. A good project management team must be capable of identifying the possible sources of cost overruns early and mitigate their effect.

  • Project controls improvement opportunities in times of coronavirus

    “Every downside has its upside” is one of the most proclaimed quotes of Johan Cruijff, one of the most famous Dutch football players (and amateur philosophers) of all times. Now you’re probably asking yourself: “What’s the link between football & project controls?”. Well, nothing really, but as a company, we’re proud of our entrepreneurial and positive Dutch heritage and therefore adapted our business swiftly to the unprecedented coronavirus crisis that we’re facing globally. 

  • Van Oord using Cleopatra Enterprise to improve the quality of tender estimations in Offshore Wind Business

    Van Oord, one of the world's most renowned dredging and offshore contractors, has selected Cleopatra Enterprise as their cost estimation software of choice.

  • Making a way to digital future: Integrated systems in project controls

    Challenges and need of an integrated system In project execution, this is no more evident when the management team attempts to execute large, multi-faceted projects in the same way as we successfully executed smaller projects. Often, it is executed approximately with the same number of ‘experienced’ people and with the same number of tools and resources. The often-hailed words “We have done it before and we will do it again” are mostly heard at the start of the project. However, the results speak for themselves, wherein larger projects, project managers, project engineers and project controls personnel simply cannot handle the amount…

  • WEBINAR: Learn how to easily design and evaluate the cost of your projects

    Join this webinar to learn how you can design your process & evaluate both fixed and variable project costs quickly & accurately.

  • The perks of standardizing processes in project controls

    To be able to find answers quickly and easily, you must know where to look. Even large organizations that have to deliver multiple projects of any size, still rely heavily on Excel spreadsheets. Standardizing projects on processes that are based on industry and internal best practices not only saves project managers from many of the worst surprises but also improves project performance.

2019

  • Project Controls Software Systems: A need or a Choice?

    As a project controller what is your most annoying/difficult task while executing a project? In any company that builds or executes large scale projects, ask any resident project controls (PC) personnel and their most dreaded time is invariably month-end reporting and the ensuing late nights in getting data ready for monthly stewardship reports.

  • Mining Industry: Reduce cost overrun risks

    “The mining industry is one of the only industries where the problem of underperformance is a structural problem and newly developed mining projects often struggle to finish within budget, and just as often exceed the budget vastly.” Mining executives often blame project underperformance on foreseeable complexities and uncertainties, having to do with the scope of and demand for the project, the technology or project location, or even stakeholder opposition. No doubt, all of these factors at one time or another contribute to cost overruns, benefit shortfalls, and delays (Bent Flyvbjerg, 2014).

  • What is cost estimation? We explain it to you in 4 steps

    Cost estimation in project management is the process of forecasting the cost and other resources needed to complete a project within a defined scope. Cost estimation accounts for each element required for the project and calculates a total amount that determines a project’s budget.

  • Quick guideline for Project Benchmarking in the Construction Industry

    Benchmarking is a powerful tool of project controls, which aims to improve project performance through a systematic approach. The last years it has gained a lot of attention in the Engineering and Construction (E&C) Industry since competition between E&C firms is constantly rising. Nevertheless, ambiguity regarding the process can lead to failed implementations and disappointing results. Therefore, we prepared a guideline for you, which describes the benchmarking process including key factors for successful implementations.

  • Cost Management explained in 4 steps

    Cost management is concerned with the process of finding the right project and carrying out the project the right way. It includes activities such as planning, estimating, budgeting, financing, funding, managing, controlling, and benchmarking costs so that the project can be completed within time and the approved budget and the project performance could be improved in time.

  • Enbridge’s Strategic Approach to Improving Project Performance With Cleopatra Benchmarking and Cost Estimating

    Using Cleopatra Enterprise’s state-of-the-art benchmarking and cost estimating features, Enbridge is able to compare the performance of projects and increase the accuracy of future cost estimates.

  • Cost Management VS Cost Control

    What is the difference between Cost Control and Cost Management? Cost management and cost control are two terms that often get mixed up. If you think about the words, what sounds better? Would you rather be in control or manage your costs? It turns out that cost management and cost control really are two different things, and yet they are equally important to have in place. In this article, we look at the difference and how they relate.

2018

  • Cleopatra selected by one of the world’s largest oil field services companies, headquartered in Texas, to improve their cost estimating process

    The agreement for the enterprise site license of Cleopatra Enterprise will provide an unlimited number of users with access to Cleopatra and will help the organization prepare reliable cost estimates.

  • Strategic partnership between Cleopatra Enterprise and Petro-Sim from KBC

    A strategic partnership has been announced between Cleopatra Enterprise and Petro-Sim from KBC to supply integrated process engineering design, optimization and cost estimation across the project life cycle

  • 10 steps to manage your budget when scope changes

    Change orders in projects are the norm, not the exception, so the seasoned project manager won’t be stumped by recasting the budget to account for altered objectives. How well you can adjust your budget to a scope change depends on how well you budgeted the project in the first place. Let’s see how to manage your budget when the scope changes in 10 steps and how Cleopatra Enterprise, our project cost management software tool, fits in this approach. 

  • 5 greatest benefits of using a Project Controls Software

    Keeping a project under “control” can be a very challenging process. Project controllers need to be alert and proactive while keeping track of the budget, progressing the big data that come from multiple sources and answering fundamental questions such as: ‘Is the project overspending? Are all activities on time? Why has the forecast changed?’ With the technological advancements and a high degree of automation over the last years, now it is possible to use a project controls software tool to keep up with the challenging demands. Here’s a list of the 5 greatest benefits of using a project controls software:

  • The correct Cost Control Philosophy: Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)

    This blog looks deeper into increasing project performance through ‘Adopting the correct Cost Control Philosophy’. In the first blog, we discussed how the usual project KPI’s, such as CPI and SPI, are related to the Triple Constraint Triangle and the importance of the correct cost management tool in applying the correct cost control philosophy, together with an introduction to Work Breakdown Structures. In this blog, we dig more into the WBS to understand how it helps in applying the correct cost control philosophy. If you want to read the first blog, please click here.

  • Increase Project Performance with the correct Cost Control Philosophy

    An increase in project delays and undesired project scope growth are the most bothersome aspects of project execution for a project manager. These events are accompanied by poor project performance and ultimately the shutdown of a project. Regardless, companies are often uninformed on the philosophy behind project cost management.

2017

  • Cleopatra selected by one of the largest corporations in the US, the global producer and distributor of agricultural products

    The company headquartered in the US will boost its project controls capabilities, complete projects more rapidly and within or below budget and maximize capital investments by integrating different project controls disciplines with Cleopatra Enterprise.

  • Cleopatra Enterprise in Project Controls Expo 2017

    Cleopatra Enterprise was a gold sponsor of Project Controls Expo 2017 where we shared our thoughts on The Future of Project Controls and how to improve project performance using big data.

  • Integrated Project Controls in the AACE Region 5 Symposium 2017

    The AACE Region 5 Symposium, held in The Woodlands, TX, was a big success thanks to its insightful speakers, exceptional planning, and execution. The integrated project controls solution of Cost Engineering and how our software Cleopatra Enterprise can serve as an integrated solution drew a great deal of interest among project controllers.

  • Canada-based Nuclear Energy Organization selects Cleopatra Enterprise

    One of Canada’s most reputable nuclear power generation firms has selected Cleopatra Enterprise as their Project Cost Management Software. Implementation of Cleopatra Enterprise is part of the organization-wide initiative to significantly improve the quality and the efficiency of the development of cost estimates.

  • We need to reconsider construction cost management

    Most of the large construction or engineering projects lay under the civil and infrastructure classification. This kind of projects became a synonym of and change of the scope, delay and, extra cost worldwide. This is essentially due to the expensive obstacles that lead to construction costs and that were not considered at the beginning of the project, such as artesian waters, poor soil quality or super strong rocks, etc.

  • Implementing project controls software: How to avoid the risks

    Project controls software is a tool that is used to measure and control cost and productivity throughout a project life cycle. It allows you to track the actual performance of the project and to compare the actual performance to the project estimate. If the actual performance shows significant deviations from the estimate in terms of budget and hours, corrective measures can be taken in time. Therefore, a cost management software can help you improve the efficiency of your projects.

  • Structuring cost control documents with multiple breakdown structures

    Working in the field of cost management, you will very likely encounter long lists of commitments, actuals, and other cost data that need to be reported on a frequent basis. To ease the job of structuring this data, breakdown structures prove to be the answer. They allow otherwise flat data to be viewed under many angles, serving the needs of the various stakeholders in the project, e.g. management, clients, and engineers.

  • How to reduce scope growth with Change Management

    Just like it is important to have contract templates in your contract management software, you also need to have a way of estimating and processing the impact of changes to the scope of work. If not controlled, changes can lead to huge cost overruns and delays. Therefore, managing changes is essential in successfully performing cost control.

  • Cost management for turnaround projects, useful or not?

    Most of you know that turnarounds are major events for refineries and other petrochemical facilities. They typically cost significant sums of money to execute (capital expense), but also a major loss of revenue when the facility is shut down (operational expense). As a result, these turnaround projects are usually schedule driven, where the only priority is to get the facility up and running again, rather than keeping control of spent cost. But is this really the best way to go forward or can cost management result in higher cost efficiency when you take all aspects into account?

  • Cost Management: The Importance of Close-Out Reports

    If you have ever been involved in a project, you probably know how it usually ends; in the weeks or months prior to the formal ending, several project members and teams are already moving to new projects because there work is done. Then, at the project’s formal ending, there’s probably a meeting or gathering where there’s champagne, a lot of hands to shake, some congratulations… Then everybody goes their own way.

  • 3 cost estimation examples to learn from

    Estimating a project’s cost is an art in itself. But it doesn’t stop when you find your totals. Interpreting and reporting your estimate is equally important. When the project progresses, an estimate allows you to look ahead, but also to look back at where you came from, to determine the performance of your project.

  • Get more insight into Cost Engineering’s visit through the US & Canada

    Cost Engineering has traveled through the US & Canada to meet and engage with the companies in the region. We also participated in the Seminar ‘The future of project controls: An integrated solution’ with a presentation led by our Vice President Business.

  • What is cost and management accounting?

    Accounting is a business language. We can use this language to communicate financial transactions and their results. Cost accounting and management accounting are two important terms in accounting that are used to control and formulate the organization policies. Both are used for different purposes with different styles. Let’s look at the main differences.

  • Insight: 4 cost models you can create with cost estimating software

    Cleopatra Enterprise allows you to use your own estimation models and techniques, and implement them in a state-of-the-art estimating solution, enabling you to make use of its powerful features. It is also a great tool to start designing new and improved cost models. Below are 4 cost estimation models to show the tip of the iceberg.

  • Cost accounting: 4 essential elements

    Cost is the value of an activity or asset. Generally, this value is determined by the cost of the resources that are expended to complete the activity or produce the asset. Although money and time are sometimes thought of as resources, they only implement or constrain the use of physical resources. The final activity or asset produced depends on what can be “afforded” given the money and time allocated to the project. Resources can be separated into four elements: equipment, materials, labor, and overhead:

2016

  • Project Controls & Cost Management Discussion Group

    For some time, the LinkedIn discussion group ‘Cost Engineering’ has been among the most prominent within the industry, with over 15.000 members. It is being used for many different posts, ranging from new insights, technological advancements, knowledge sharing and so on.

  • The best management tools for every department

    Cost engineering is a multi-faceted discipline involving estimating, scheduling, cost control and risk management to manage cost and performance through the full life cycle of enterprise level projects. Effective project management requires the use of standardized processes and advanced software tools to ensure that an accurate and reliable insight is given into the project progress and status.

  • How to choose the right cost accounting software?

    Cost accounting, often referred to as management accounting, is the branch of accounting that provides economic and financial information about project costs to aid management to plan and control projects and other business activities. In order to practice cost accounting effectively, a project controls software package should assist the user in costing, evaluating and forecasting, while minimizing the required effort. How do you choose the right software that is up to this task?

  • The added value of project controls software

    Although the era of managing project costs with actual pen and paper is definitely over, many organizations might still be using tools like Microsoft Excel to control the costs of their projects. If these are small projects, with limited (financial) risks and just a few resources, that’s fine. No need to look for alternatives, because you sure will get the job done. However, when things start to get serious and projects grow bigger with increased complexity and more and more stakeholders, you might consider a different view on project controls software.

  • What can you expect from a cost management consultant?

    Whether you are improving your cost management practices or simply don’t have enough resources to support your cost management process, it might be time to get some outside experience in. A cost management consultant possesses knowledge about the industry’s best practices and examples of common mistakes and failures. You can expect a lot from a cost management consultant:

  • Stay within time and budget with construction cost management software

    Despite the fact that many estimators still use simple spreadsheet tools, the last years brought us advanced cost estimating software to the market. When integrated in your business, it enables you to better stay within time and budget.

  • References: Using Cleopatra Enterprise in practice – 4 success stories

    Cleopatra Enterprise is used by clients across the globe, cross-industry. Here are four examples that illustrate its success with improving business practices.

  • Estimate the costs of your projects by looking into your history

    As the Irish philosopher and politician Edmund Burke once said: “Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it”. And that’s just one of numerous quotes from just as many philosophers, historians and politicians about the lessons to be learned from the past.

  • The 3 best cost management tools

    It’s not always easy to select a cost management tool for your organization. It depends of course on your needs and requirements which one will suit you best. But even if you know what you are looking for, there exist a lot of tools on the market to choose from. To help you out, let’s look at the three best cost management tools available today.

  • All your project costs in one system: 5 benefits

    Project cost data flows through multiple departments. At each step, the data has to be handled, reported, copied or moved throughout the organization. By centralizing project cost data in one software system, you have the opportunity to dramatically improve the handling of project costs. Let’s look at the five greatest benefits:

  • Managing project costs with metrics and benchmarking

    Metrics provide a powerful way of measuring the performance and health of your project. They can be categorized according to seven criteria: safety, time, cost, resources, scope, quality, and actions. Examples are the average waiting time, installed quantities or cost overrun. A wide range of metrics could be defined for every project. 

  • Reporting the costs of your project with software

    When managing a project, having a complete overview of what is happening everywhere is the key to success. Therefore, having the right tools to handle all the relevant information of the project will be a great asset.

  • How data is changing your cost management

    To advance your cost management practices, knowledge and experience needs to be captured and shared. How would this change the way you do cost management?

  • Cleopatra Cost Management: Tight integration with Primavera P6

    When you want to determine your project’s performance based on KPI’s and earned value, it is critical to obtain a time-phased budget. At each moment you want to be able to compare committed and actual cost data to the planned values. This means that each budget item needs to be scheduled and kept up-to-date with the current baseline plan. The same goes for all changes, forecasts and expected payments, which you can only control when linked to a schedule. 

  • 5 cost estimating techniques of Cleopatra Enterprise software

    As a cost engineer looking for a software tool to create and manage estimates, one of your most important concerns is the flexibility of the system to work with many different types of estimating techniques. You probably want your software to give you a lot of freedom, while still protecting you against the typical mistakes you make in tools like Excel, e.g., deleting cells or formulas. Cleopatra Enterprise offers that flexibility and security, as well as many different types of estimating techniques.

  • How to make a cost management plan? 4 tips

    One of the first steps in developing a cost management plan is to develop the project scope and execution strategy. This provides the basis for the integrated cost management process, which also covers the subject of schedule planning, cost estimating and budgeting, resource planning, value analysis and engineering, risk management, and procurement planning. This first tip helps you develop the scope:

  • Cost Management at turnarounds - a double introduction

    Some of you might already be familiar with it. If not; Cleopatra Enterprise also includes a Cost Management module. This allows our users and ourselves to “close the loop” from high level estimating to detail estimating to cost management, all stored in one central database. A closed loop provides the opportunity for continuous improvement by extraction of benchmarks and KPIs, visualized below. 

  • 5 crucial steps to successfully use cost estimating software

    At Cost Engineering Consultancy we have helped many organizations in their search for the right cost estimating and cost management software. Over the years we have identified some critical areas that determine the successful use of dedicated cost estimating tools. These are five of the most important factors.

2015

  • Who is behind your cost management software and does it actually matter?

    Working in an office environment without software is unthinkable nowadays. Everyone uses Microsoft Office and most of us run at least 2 or 3 products dedicated to our business. At some point in our careers we even get involved in choosing new software to do our job better and faster.

  • Honeywell User Group EMEA 2015 - Madrid

    “Integrating Process Design and Cost Estimating Software” One of today’s most intriguing business challenges is the identification of viable projects. Living in a turbulent time of economic crises and low oil prices, it becomes important not only to do your projects right, but also to do the right projects.

  • Continued: project cost estimating in Excel

    6 reasons why you shouldn’t use Excel for project cost estimating In my previous post I already discussed some arguments against using Excel for project cost estimating, namely error handling, lack of automation and limited learning abilities. In this second part, I’ll present another three reasons. Missed the first part or forgot what it was about? Refresh your memory. First of all, I just want to remind you that I am in no way an opponent of Excel. On the contrary; I use it for a wide range of applications and I really enjoy its simplicity and flexibility. Just not…

  • Estimating project costs in Microsoft Excel

    Here are 6 reasons why you shouldn’t In the world of software, there’s hardly any tool that is more hated and loved at the same time as Excel. Some think it’s great because of its functionalities, others despise it for just the same. Most will agree it’s easy to learn but hard to master. In this blog, I won’t take sides. I’ll just point out why you shouldn’t use Excel for estimating project costs. Of course, Excel has a number of direct advantages. It is readily available in every organisation and almost everyone has a basic knowledge on how to…

  • Integration between cost estimation and cost control

    More often than not cost estimation and cost control are performed by separate divisions of companies or even outsourced to different company’s altogether. In and of itself this does not have to be a problem. However if you integrate these departments or promote the interaction between these parties many benefits are available to you. A good cost controller is in touch with what happens in the field while an estimator is usually in touch with the yard and engineering departments, meaning that together they have the full picture. This means that if they work closely together their combined knowledge can…

  • The benefits of parametric modelling in cost estimation

    The field of cost estimating lends itself quite nicely to parametric modelling. A little information on a new project can snowball into quite a comprehensive cost estimation. Total cost management starts with getting a high-quality cost estimation. Get a good basis so that you can, later on, use it for cost control and project controls. Good project cost management starts with good cost estimating software, which should give a user the option of parametric modelling.

  • Reacting to the fluctuating oil price: sustainable cost reductions with cost management

    In the rapidly changing world economy, it is a challenge to adapt a company’s business to the supply and demand of the moment. We are only just emerging from a recession, but the ever fluctuating oil price still has a profound impact on players in the field throughout the production chain. 

  • Cost estimation software: Resource based vs activity based

    More and more the field of cost estimation and cost control is seen as an important factor in total cost management. The field itself is getting the respect it deserves and with more people involved in the project cost management it is also maturing as a field in general. This newfound respect also means that people become more knowledgeable about the work an estimator could do.

  • Get the most out of cost estimation software and processes?

    Am I getting the most out of my cost estimation software and cost estimation processes? This is a question we rarely have the time to ask ourselves. Tender bids keep coming in, estimate deadline on the horizon, and management reports due. The career of an estimator is a busy one.

  • Follow our LinkedIn company page and get a free download of the Cost Engineering event presentations

    Last May, our biannual Cost Engineering event took place in The Netherlands. With almost 200 speakers and attendees from all over the world, we discussed this year’s theme ‘Cost Estimating and Project Controls: Closing the Loop’.

  • Variance Analysis in Cleopatra Enterprise

    In the execution phase of a project, it is indispensable for management to have early insights into occurring problems, so corrective actions can be taken and implemented in time. But on big projects with hundreds of changes on a daily basis, it can be challenging to track all changes and problems. That is where a detailed Variance Analysis Report comes into play. A report that includes specific data about deviations between budget and actuals allows management to alleviate project risk and make well-informed decisions. Monitoring deviations is one thing, explaining the origin is just as important. For this purpose Cleopatra…

  • Three tips to increase the accuracy of your estimates

    Estimating accuracy is the degree to which a calculation of an item varies to its actual value. As estimators, we want to minimize the gap between the estimated and the actual cost. Of course there are a lot of factors involved here. We have to take into account things like the scope of the project, the available information, its phase in the project lifecycle and turbulent market conditions. This article however provides you with three general tips to increase the accuracy of your estimates: 1. Create a cost database When it comes to the accuracy of your estimates, the information…

  • ITER chooses Cost Engineering as estimating partner

    We are pleased to announce that ITER selected Cost Engineering as their estimating partner. With over 30 years of experience in estimating capital power projects, we are proud to be part of this unique scientific and technical project. About ITER ITER is a large-scale scientific experiment intended to prove the viability of fusion as an energy source. Currently ITER is under construction in the south of France, but this project is an international effort of seven partners: China, the United States, India, the European Union, Japan, Korea, and Russia. They have gathered their financial and scientific resources to build the…

2014

  • Cost Engineering establishes partnership with Eos Group

    Cost Engineering is pleased to announce a formal partnership with Eos Group. The cooperation with Eos brings exciting opportunities in the expansion of our global presence. Eos is a professional organization based in the United States, providing products and services including software implementations, benchmarking solutions and cost database development. Being in the business for 20 years, Eos brings extensive experience in cost engineering practices. Over the years, Eos has completed more than a 1,000 successful system implementations. As such, Eos brings significant value to the implementation processes for Cleopatra Enterprise in the North American market. Through this partnership we will…