What innovations does Cost Engineering involve?

Cost Engineering at ESA has progressively shifted focus from a purely economic approach to a real engineering discipline, with project technologies and architectures linked to cost and risk.

ESA cost engineers use tailored models to relate technical solutions to cost. ESA's progressive use of Concurrent Design during the last decade has been significant in placing Cost Engineering on an equal footing with other design disciplines and get it involved at the very start of programme life cycles, allowing the early identification and elimination of unaffordable solutions.

ESA cost engineers use sophisticated software to compare initial industry estimates with negotiated prices and final completion costs. Discrepancies are analysed, and lessons learned are integrated into software models and recorded in a database. Checks are run regularly against the database to track the activity and quality levels of services provided by ESA suppliers.

ESA cost engineers have also been instrumental in developing software called ECOS (ESA Costing Software) which allows bidders to prepare and present their financial proposals in an efficient, rigorous manner. ECOS benefits both the Agency and its industrial partners, because its standardised nature enables the calculation of cost/work breakdowns across even the most complex industrial teams for major space projects, as well as performing like-for-like cross-project comparisons.

Last update: 1 October 2009

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