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Case Study—

Information Technology Systems Cost Validation Estimate for World Cultural Center


Taylor R. Boyd



A Saudi company received a proposal for the information technology and audio visual systems for a 540,000 square foot world cultural center, intended to provide state-of-the-art visitor and owner communications and exhibition experiences, but the scope and cost of the work being designed and priced were outside the prior experience of any of the management groups involved. To obtain a sufficient level of confidence in the proposal, they sought cost consulting services.


Key Issues


In order to complete the work the following challenges needed to be met.


  • Client demands required recruiting a project team and submitting the cost estimate within a two week period.

  • The scope and quality of technical expertise needed would require the participation of four separate consulting firms.

  • The cost consulting team consisted largely of IT professionals who were unfamiliar with production of deliverables for use outside the company.

  • The estimate was broken down into about seventy sub-sections, each of which was divided into work performed within the project home country and abroad.

  • Specifications and design documents consisted of approximately five thousand text pages and drawings.


Cost Consulting


Directed by commercial market sector leaders, the Chief Estimator of the lead design firm assembled the team and compiled the results of their efforts. This required the following actions.


  • Proposals of outside consultants in audio visual systems, traffic control systems, and data and communications hardware were analysed.

  • Team members who were normally occupied with procurement and operations of internal functions needed to be trained to produce work that could be presented as part of a submission to clients.

  • Agreement on division of responsibilities within the project team for extensive and diverse project scope was needed. Monitoring and adjusting assignments as the team proceeded also had to be executed during production.

  • Project team members had to be instructed on the form of the final product and where and how their assigned responsibilities would be incorporated.  They also needed to understand such elements as training, interdisciplinary integration and interface  resolution, constructability reviews, and project management, and how to incorporate them.

  • Compliance with client work breakdown structure requirements were communicated and supervised.

  • Disparate data sets were compiled, coordinated, and modified for consistency as required.




The client expressed satisfaction with the thoroughness of the analysis and indicated that the costs confirmed their expectations. There was no follow-up work or revision required.

Subsequent additional contracts resulted directly from the diligence and quality of the work demonstrated on this project.


Though brief in duration, the project was reasonably profitable. There were additional benefits in the inauguration of the lead design firm’s IT team as a potential profit center, and IT personnel grew to consider themselves a better integrated part of the primary missions of the firm. Design and consulting staff also gained valuable experiences and relationships in working with a new set of technical professionals.

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