5. Preliminary Estimate

Preliminary Estimate. In order to make a preliminary estimate, before the plans of a structure are drawn, but after the general dimensions of the proposed building have been determined, architects and builders sometimes employ a method of approximate estimating, by which the cost is figured at so much per cubic foot of the building, the rate varying according to its character and the finish required. The method is also considerably used by insurance companies in fixing the amount to be placed on a building. It must be borne in mind by the student that this method gives the approximate cost only, and should never be used in figuring the contract price of a building. This estimate, however, may be used to advantage in checking the accurate estimate, with which it will frequently be found to agree remarkably well.

The following table shows the approximate cost per cubic foot of various kinds of structures. In computing the contents of a building, there is no uniformity in practice, but no great error will be made in figuring the solid contents from floor of cellar to ridge of roof.

 Class of Building. Cost. Cents per CubicFoot. Small frame buildings, costing from \$800 to \$1,500 .............. 8 to 9 Frame houses, 8 to 12 rooms, costing from \$1,500 to \$10,000.......... 9 to 11 Brick houses, 8 to 10 rooms....... 10 to 14 Highly finished city dwellings (brick or stone)............... 17 to 20 Schoolhouses (brick).... 9 to 11 Churches ( stone)..... 20 to 25 Office buildings (well finished)...... 30 to 40 Hospitals, libraries, and hotels...... 32 to 44