Selected Civilian Agencies' Cost Estimating Processes for Large Projects

GGD-86-137BR: Published: Sep 17, 1986. Publicly Released: Oct 17, 1986.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed six civilian agencies' cost-estimating processes applicable to large, complex procurement projects to determine: (1) the types of regulations that guide the cost-estimating processes; (2) how civilian agencies develop their cost estimates for large projects; and (3) how agencies decide which cost estimate to select to obtain project funding from Congress.

GAO found that: (1) there were no overall standard instructions or guidance to civilian agencies on cost estimates; (2) although the Office of Management and Budget issued instructions on major acquisition procurements and on preparation and submission of budget estimates, neither provided specific guidance on cost estimate preparation; (3) four of the six agencies had their own formal instructions that they followed in preparing their cost estimates; (4) although the other two agencies had no formal written instructions, they generally included the major items considered desirable for good cost estimating in their estimates; (5) on all nine of the projects studied, the agencies' internal organizations coordinated and communicated on the projects' cost estimates; (6) the agencies generally prepared in-house cost estimates for their projects instead of going to outside contractors but used contractor cost data after award to review and update project costs; and (7) the cost estimates submitted to Congress were basically initial budget estimates which agencies revised periodically as the projects progressed.

Nov 21, 2017

Nov 20, 2017

Nov 8, 2017

Oct 31, 2017

Oct 26, 2017

Oct 17, 2017

Oct 12, 2017

Oct 11, 2017

Oct 10, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here