The generation of a reliable early stage building project price forecast for its capital cost is an important aspect of any project's initial appraisal. Such professional advice is central to clients' decision-making processes. Work on early stage building project budget price forecasting is reviewed and a change in the direction of future research is called for in this topic area. This aim has been achieved by identifying seminal work on the general topic, addressing its shortcomings, and then focusing on research conducted to explore the formulation processes of quality building project budget price advice. It is posited that poor quality building project price forecasts affect clients seeking to make value for money business decisions. Empirical evidence from previous research indicates that previous calls for paradigm changes in practice towards the adoption of newer more stochastic models or tools such as expert systems, probabilistic and regression models have now been generally rejected. As a result it is asserted that practice can be considered to be in crisis and is looking to establish a new way forward. It is concluded that a research agenda needs to be established that has process standardisation and practitioner judgement as well as the existing information engineering-based approach at its core. Such an additional strand to future research in the topic area will help to ensure that the newly emerging wave of project budget formulation tools, such as neural nets, neuro-fuzzy nets, sustainability and whole life cost models are taken up and used more effectively in practice.
- Project budget estimating