General Estimate Questions


Customers have 30 calendar days to respond to a cost estimate provided by PBS.

PBS does not charge for estimates, as they are considered a cost of doing business.

The customer must always pay overages. This is why it is crucially important for the Project Manager to manage the customer’s expectations especially in regard to cost estimates and accurately utilize the ranges of accuracy identified on the SCE Form.

Customers complain about estimates because the level of expectation is often not set with the customer according to the ranges of accuracy of PBS’s cost estimates. Customers use PBS’s “budget” and “order of magnitude” estimates at the beginning of a project to budget for future needs without understanding these estimates are preliminary in nature.

Summary Cost Estimate (SCE)

Yes, it is based on the Independent Government Estimate (IGE) and must match the RWA authorized amount to within a dollar. For large lease projects, PBS must have an SCE that breaks out the RWA costs from the overall lease project costs.

An SCE is required for each RWA; thus, costs must be able to be separated.

The Summary Cost Estimate is usually filled out by the Project Manager.

Yes. PBS should continually update estimates and the SCE as work progresses and it becomes apparent that estimated costs may be higher or lower than originally estimated. The “range of accuracy” fields on the SCE allow PBS to be more transparent with how accurate an estimate is at any given point in the project lifecycle. As more requirements are known or phases of a project are completed, the final, total costs of a project become better known and the estimate and the authorized amount of the RWA should be adjusted accordingly.

PBS charges for travel when the travel is outside of PBS’s local area (50 miles) or is in excess of the typical travel required for a project (e.g., the customer requires PBS to be on-site more than the typical project).

Line 8 is for reimbursable travel costs (e.g., per diem, airfare, car rental and mileage) of PBS employees overseeing the project where the project has design and/or construction related expenses. Line 22 is for reimbursable travel costs (e.g., per diem, airfare, car rental and mileage) of PBS employees overseeing the project where the scope of work for the RWA is completely for personal property. Both lines are directly charged to the RWA and paid for by the customer.

Furniture installation included in the furniture vendor’s furniture costs are captured in the personal property items on line 18, but if installation is a separate line item, then it is captured in line 7 “Other.”

DVRs, cameras, metal detectors, and similar types of equipment.

This service should be estimated in the base estimate and included in the Construction Costs.

Enter the security clearances on line 21 “Other” and specify the number of clearances in the “identify” box.


The second page is not required for RWAs. The SCE is shared across multiple business lines and the second page is used for other business line functions.

No, but the name of the preparer and date of preparation are required.

Customer Estimates

The customer may provide cost estimates at its discretion, but it is always up to PBS to perform due diligence on the estimates to verify and validate them. PBS will still need to assess whether the costs are fair and reasonable by completing an IGE or confirming that what is provided is sufficient.

Yes, but PBS must still conduct its own due diligence to verify the validity of the customer’s estimate.

Yes, the customer can send PBS an RWA without an amount, but PBS must not accept it until it has been revised to include an authorized amount that coincides with the SCE and has been signed by a customer certifying official. Though permitted, this is a practice that is discouraged, with the preference being for early and frequent communication to discuss and develop requirements together prior to RWA submission.

Yes, this is acceptable, but PBS needs to perform due diligence to ensure the historical estimate is derived from projects with similar requirements, locations and time constraints. These estimates should be assembled in a costing database that tracks by location, and must account for inflation and material increases. For instance, historical estimates for alterations in New York, New York will differ greatly from a similar project in Billings, Montana.

Independent Government Estimates

Yes, but PBS must conduct due diligence to accept the customer’s estimate and ensure the costs are fair and reasonable. However, an IGE is an Independent Government Estimate. As such it must be validated and accepted by PBS but is normally the responsibility of the government.

PBS may use appropriate market or historical data in its preparation, but an IGE is still required.

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