Where do cost values come from?

Cove.tool has costs values for various building products, building systems, and operational/utility costs. These values come from a few different places. Building products and systems in cove.tool have their costs typically provided directly from our Manufacturer Partners, which include regional price variations linked to the user's building location. Cove.tool also partners with strategic owners, pre-construction teams, and other industry leaders, of whom have given cove.tool access to multiple national databases for construction costs. These numbers are used to estimate costs for the rest of cove.tool's non-manufacturer provided inputs and an extensive utility cost database. Once assembled, all cost values are meant to give users an apples-to-apples comparison for understanding the benefits and/or drawbacks of each building's designs and/or performance strategy. So that when you start to discuss the project with the design team or a client, you can be in the right ball-park for costs when capable of identifying cost-effective strategies and unnoticed areas of opportunity. If users would like a more personable and region-specific costs, cove.tool allows users to add, delete, and edit existing cost values through different tools. Also, users are welcomed to invite cost estimators into a project, to edit and/or validate the input costs. 

Where to see cost values?
Costs values are displayed all throughout a user's project. They will play various roles for your project and can be seen in the following cases.

  1. As Input Variables (Utility Rates or Product Costs). Costs that are required to outputting cost-related results are always automated for the users at the onset of creating a new project. These values are based on your building location and use-type. At any moment, users are free to edit the cost input to better estimate a region and scenario best cost value for this category. Input Cost Variable's can be found in the Baseline Energy>General>Utility Rates, and Change Options pages in cove.tool. 

  2. As a Result. Costs are used to give users ball-park ideas of the whole building costs. 

  3. As Cost Premiums in the Optimization Page. Each bundle option will have a cost premium which is listed. This sum is meant to be added to the baseline cost to get the total cost of your bundle package. 

  4. As a Whole Building Baseline and Optimized Costs in the Optimization Page. The baseline cost is all the code minimum (baseline) options taken together with the geometry. So any option which has a cost/area value is multiplied properly to compute the cost. We do not need to know the overall building cost since it’s a decision-making tool and not a costing tool. The key is having something as a baseline and being able to see the impact/tradeoffs of different options.


Does cove.tool include overheard costs?
Not initially in the automated values, however, the user has the ability to modify the cost inputs in any section of the tool to include these additions on top of the automated cost per square-foot, or total costs, provided by cove.tool. For example, cove.tool might estimate that a glazing product alone would be $0.75/sf, but if a user wanted to include overhead to the analysis, then they would need to identify how much additional cost/sf overhead would be, then add it to the product cost. 

Does cove.tool calculate first-costs?
Yes, but only for options being evaluated in cove.tool. For example, cove.tool currently list a series options where users can evaluate their building envelope, HVAC systems, PV options, and more, but no areas for users to include distinct categories like wood, concrete, steel, and finishes. So baseline and premium costs like those seen in the optimization tool, are the combined value of the bundle's components (ie. Wall, Windows, Roofs, HVAC system, Sensors, PV, etc. 

Does the costs in cove.tool include labor, operation, and maintenance costs?
Similar to the overhead FAQ, these factors are not initially considered when automating a cost value for your input. The cost in cove.tool only include bare material cost. The user can decide to include these additions by adding onto the automated cost provided by cove.tool to include labor, operation, and/or maintenance costs. For example, cove.tool might estimate that a glazing product alone would be $0.75/sf, but if a user wanted to include labor as a factor in the analysis, they would then need to identity how much additional cost/sf labor would be for a glazing product. Typically cost estimators have the most know-how on understanding and calculating these inputs.

Can I pre-load cost information into my cove.tool project?
Yes. Many of our users have taken advantage of this capability. Reach out to your cove.tool representative or to the live-chat support team, to get instructions and start uploading internal costs to analyze in cove.tool.

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