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  • Writer's pictureSydney Estimator

Understanding Estimated Development Cost in NSW: A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction to Estimated Development Cost

Estimated Development Cost (EDC) is a critical component in the planning and approval processes of construction projects in New South Wales (NSW). Accurately estimating development costs ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and helps stakeholders plan effectively for financial and resource allocation. In this guide, we delve into the intricacies of EDC, covering its calculation, significance, and impact on development projects.

What is the Estimated Development Cost?

Estimated Development Cost refers to the projected financial expenditure required to complete a development project. This includes all costs associated with land acquisition, design, construction, project management, and any other relevant expenses. Understanding these costs is crucial for developers, investors, and regulatory bodies to ensure the feasibility and sustainability of development projects.

Components of Estimated Development Cost

Land Acquisition Costs

Land acquisition is often the first and one of the most significant expenses in a development project. This includes:

  • Purchase price of the land

  • Legal fees and stamp duty

  • Site preparation and demolition costs

Design and Consultancy Fees

Professional services form a vital part of the development process. These include:

  • Architectural design fees

  • Engineering consultancy fees

  • Planning and environmental assessment fees

Construction Costs

Construction costs encompass all expenses related to the actual building of the project, including:

  • Materials and labor

  • Equipment and machinery

  • Site infrastructure (e.g., roads, utilities)

Project Management Costs

Effective project management ensures that the development stays on schedule and within budget. These costs include:

  • Project manager salaries

  • Administrative expenses

  • Contingency funds for unforeseen issues

Approval and Compliance Costs

Navigating the regulatory landscape requires compliance with various local and state requirements:

  • Development application fees

  • Environmental impact assessments

  • Building permits and certifications

How to Calculate Estimated Development Cost

Accurate calculation of EDC involves a detailed analysis of all potential expenses. The following steps outline the general approach:

Step 1: Identify Cost Categories

Begin by categorizing all potential expenses into the components listed above.

Step 2: Gather Cost Data

Collect data on current market rates for materials, labour, land, and professional services.

Step 3: Use Estimation Tools

Utilize estimation software and tools to compile and analyze the data, ensuring all costs are accounted for.

Step 4: Factor in Contingencies

Include a contingency margin to cover any unexpected costs or changes in project scope.

Step 5: Review and Adjust

Regularly review and adjust the estimated costs as the project progresses and new information becomes available.

Importance of Accurate Estimated Development Cost

Financial Planning and Budgeting

Accurate EDC allows for precise financial planning, ensuring that developers can secure adequate funding and manage cash flow effectively throughout the project lifecycle.

Risk Management

Identifying potential costs early helps in mitigating risks by allowing for contingency planning and proactive problem-solving.

Regulatory Compliance

Accurate cost estimates are often required for regulatory approvals, ensuring that the project meets all local and state requirements.

Investor Confidence

Detailed and accurate EDC reports can boost investor confidence by demonstrating the feasibility and potential profitability of the development project.

Impact of Estimated Development Cost on Project Outcomes

Project Feasibility

A thorough understanding of EDC can determine whether a project is financially viable, influencing the decision to proceed with or alter the development plans.

Scheduling and Timeline

Accurate cost estimates enable realistic scheduling, helping to set achievable milestones and completion dates.

Quality of Construction

Adequate budgeting for high-quality materials and skilled labour ensures that the finished project meets the desired standards and specifications.

How to Create an Estimated Development Cost Report

The Structure of the report must include these points


An Estimated Development Cost (EDC) Report must be addressed to the consent authority and include:

  • Executive summary

  • Description of the basis of preparation

  • Description of the scope of the EDC calculation

  • Detailed calculation schedule supporting the EDC

Executive Summary

The executive summary should include:

  • A title indicating it is an objective calculation of the EDC for the identified development proposal

  • A summary of the EDC value, based on PS-24-002 guidelines

  • A statement certifying the calculation’s accuracy, covering the full scope of works at the date of submission

Date of Report

The report should be dated 30 days before the Development Application (DA) submission.

Preparation by Qualified Surveyor

The report should be prepared by a qualified quantity surveyor who is a member of a relevant professional body (e.g., AIQS, RICS).

Basis of Preparation

Required Statements

The report must include:

  • A statement that it is prepared for the consent authority

  • Compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements, the AIQS practice standard, and other relevant guidelines

  • A list of development proposal documents used in the calculation and their dates

  • Any limitations in the report’s preparation, including unavailable information or uncertainties not incorporated

  • The qualifications of the quantity surveyor

  • Identification of any factors impairing the objectivity of the calculation

Scope of the Calculation of EDC

Proposal and Proponent Identification

The report must state:

  • The development proposal and proponent, including the beneficial owner(s), if the proponent is a subsidiary entity

  • A description of all component activities and stages of the development proposal

Detailed Calculation Schedule

Detailed Support

The detailed calculation schedule should provide the following:

  • The cost of each component

  • The basis and assumptions for each cost (e.g., elemental quantities, rates, site conditions)

  • Guidance and documents underpinning the calculations

  • The extent of uncertainty in the calculations and provisions for uncertainty

Understanding and accurately estimating development costs is essential for the successful planning, execution, and completion of construction projects in NSW. Developers can ensure financial feasibility, regulatory compliance, and overall project success by thoroughly analyzing all cost components and employing detailed estimation methods.

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