We hear this question a lot, and our best answer might very well be “both”.
Standardized, repeatable methods, reference cost databases with common data structures and robust software technology enable information sharing and reuse. All are key components of the construction cost estimating process for facility portfolio owners, contractors, subcontractors, and AE’s. That said, experience is equally important to enable localization and customization of costs due to when and where construction is taking place, and/or particular functional needs.
The role of software integrated with the construction delivery process, is equally important. JOC / SABER cost estimating and project management software, for example, leverages and shares the estimating team’s experience with everyone working on a planned or current project, as well as preserves the information for future reuse. Software also helps to assure consistency, transparency, and quality. Cost estimating software that includes project/program management, document management, and visual estimating is even more efficient as it assists estimators, procurement, designers, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and owners from concept thru design, procurement, construction, and warranty!