Costs and timelines

Once a request for work is made, how long does it take to be completed?

The duration of a project depends primarily on the scope of the work.  In general:

  • Projects with a value greater than $50K and less than $250K require approximately 8-10 months weeks from start to finish.
    • Smaller projects can be completed in 2-4 months
    • Larger projects may extend beyond a year

When and how will I be contacted for scheduled work? How much notice will I get?

Schedules for project work will be provided by the Planner at the beginning of the project.  The Project Manager will provide updates to the schedule as the project progresses through design, procurement, and construction.

How will the cost for my work be determined? What is a contingency and why is it required?

The budget estimating process is generally based upon similar work executed in the past (the cost per square foot for similar office renovations in the last year). Contingency is a percentage added to enable the project to absorb the unknown risks.  The further the project progresses through the design phase, the more accurate the estimate.

During the design phase, the cost estimate is further refined to reduce the risk of exceeding the budget when the project reaches the procurement phase.  On larger projects, this will require the services of a cost consultant.

The actual cost of the project is determined at the procurement phase, either through estimates by Facilities Management trades, or through a tendering process with external contractors.

Note that in all cases, the client is only charged the actual costs of the project, including taxes and fees.  All unused funds will go back to the department or faculty budget.

What are charge-out rates and how are they determined? What is included and why?

Charge-out rates are the billing rates set annually for Facilities Management employees assigned to perform service work. They are the rates out clients pay, per hour, for services they receive.

Here are the charge-out rates as of April 1, 2021

As with any service, the costs to provide the service include direct costs of each employee, such as:

  • The employees based wage rate
  • The costs of Dalhousie fringe benefits

In addition, the costs to provide the service also includes indirect costs which support the work being done by the employee, such as:

  • Cost of supervisor and administrative support
  • Cost of equipment and supplies

Charge out rates are calculated based on actual costs of the previous year, including productivity gains and losses, and negotiated wage increases.