SoCalGas - Cost-Effectiveness
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Cost-Effectiveness

A common question concerning recycled buildings like the ERC is: "Do they cost more?" Because every project is unique, direct comparisons to traditionally built projects are almost impossible to achieve, according to the ERC architect, Larry Wolff, principal and founder of Wolff/Lang/Christopher, Architects, Inc. Detailed cost analyses for recycled buildings are difficult to find because these methods are new. Wolff's comparison is reflected in the accompanying chart in this section. Wolff uses the fact that as a "building type," the ERC is similar to a convention or corporate center. He uses the costs-per-square-foot for recently constructed convention and corporate centers to compare results between recycled and conventional construction.

Estimated labor and material costs for conventional construction are organized into a breakdown of 16 categories identified by the Construction Specification Institute (CSI). For the ERC, labor and material costs resulting from the project are organized and used for each CSI category. For either design or construction method, the cost analysis confirms that expenditures for convention and corporate centers can be significant due to the amount of special technical and interior improvements required being greater than for traditional administrative office buildings. Facilities like the ERC include media centers, exhibition areas, laboratories, R&D space, computer centers and food service facilities.

Nevertheless, Wolff's findings show that the project cost for the recycled ERC was much less than a conventionally constructed project of a similar nature. The data used to support these findings, according to Wolff, include recycled building costs attributable to selective dismantling, material sorting, recycling existing on-site materials, hauling to recycling centers, and the use of environmentally sensitive materials, processes and technologies.

Cost benefits for recycled buildings increase when consideration is given to savings generated from avoided property acquisition/land costs and the value of site improvements, building portions retained and the in-place utility infrastructure. Cost benefits further accelerate when energy-efficiency considerations are applied over the expected facility life.

Annual costs for operation and maintenance are just beginning to be determined, but early commissioning evaluations (by Robert Bein, William Frost & Associates) show equal or greater achievement of energy-efficiency goals set for the basis of the facility's design.

As related in the Indoor Air Quality section, operating and maintenance expenses are minimized and employee productivity is advanced by the ERC's state-of-the-art, healthy work environment. Over time, this will pay great dividends. The facility is a productivity center for both the customers who use it and the employees who help operate it.

Construction Cost Analysis

Project Comparison
44,000 SF Facility Size
Recycled Building Conventional Construction
Energy Resource Center Convention & Corporate Center
CSI
Division
Item / Description Cost Cost Per
Square Foot
Percent of
Total Cost
Cost Cost Per
Square Foot
Percent of
Total Cost
1 General Conditions $889,290 $20.21 13.16% $1,223,200 $27.80 12.55%
2 Site Work $452,757 $10.29 6.70% $1,046,320 $23.78 10.74%
3 Concrete $316,384 $7.19 4.68% $616,000 $14.00 6.32%
4 Masonry $31,000 $0.70 0.46% $231,000 $5.25 2.37%
5 Metals $1,029,375 $23.39 15.23% $1,591,040 $36.16 16.33%
6 Carpentry $94,914 $2.16 1.40% $316,800 $7.20 3.25%
7 Thermal & Moisture Protection $388,590 $8.83 5.75% $389,840 $8.86 4.00%
8 Doors, Windows, & Glass $318,604 $7.24 4.71% $356, 400 $8.10 3.66%
9 Finishes $1,021,494 $23.22 15.11% $1,179,200 $26.80 12.10%
10 Specialties $78,148 $1.78 1.16% $127,600 $2.90 1.31%
11 Equipment $75,270 $1.71 1.11% $92,840 $2.11 0.95%
12 Furnishings $0 $- 0.00% $- $- 0.00%
13 Special Construction $0 $- 0.00% $- $- 0.00%
14 Conveying Systems $31,500 $0.72 0.47% $79,200 $1.80 0.81%
15 Mechanical & Plumbing $810,982 $18.43 12.00% $1,073,160 $24.39 11.01%
16 Electrical $1,220,316 $27.73 18.06% $1,420,320 $32.38 14.58%
Total Construction Cost $6,758,624 $153.61 100.00% $9,742,920 $221.43 100.00%

ERC Notes:
General Conditions cost breakdown for recycled building.

On-Site Recycling & Sorting $5,127
Selective Dismantling $3,850
Contractor Recycling Management $7,472
General Conditions $312,646
Permits $69,355
Insurance $79,415
Construction Management Fee $150,592
Contingency $260,833
Total: $889,290