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Cost Estimation Guidance

The department is in the process of developing a series of cost estimation guidance notes which, in aggregate, will constitute the Cost Estimation Guidance.

The Cost Estimation Guidance is referred to in Appendix B of the department's Notes on Administration (NOA) for Land Transport Infrastructure Projects for the 2014 to 2015 financial year to the 2018 to 2019 financial year.

Guidance notes

The Cost Estimation Guidance will provisionally comprise the following key components:

  • Overview
  • Guidance Note 1 — Project Scope
  • Guidance Note 2 — Base Cost Estimation
  • Guidance Note 3A and 3B — Probabilistic and Deterministic Contingency Estimation
  • Guidance Note 4 — Outturn (Escalation) Cost Estimation

It is not intended that the Cost Estimation Guidance be available as a printed bound document. Rather it will be published on the department's website in PDF form, both as individual components, as well as a single consolidated document.

The guidance will outline the principles that must be followed by proponents in preparing cost estimates accompanying Project Proposal Reports, submitted in accordance with the Notes on Administration (NOA), which seek Australian Government funding for road and rail infrastructure projects.

More information on the Notes on Administration (NOA) and the associated National Partnership Agreement can be found at Investment Road and Rail Program.

Published guidance notes

The following Guidance Notes have been published following a thorough consultation process, where applicable, and are available now for download:

  • Guidance Note – Overview, Version 1.0, August 2018 PDF: 1.6 MB
  • Guidance Note 1 — Project Scope, Version 1.0, March 2017 PDF: 354 KB ReadSpeaker
  • Guidance Note 2 — Base Cost Estimation, Version 1.0, March 2017 PDF: 514 KB ReadSpeaker
  • Guidance Note 3B – Deterministic Contingency Estimation, Version 1.0, August 2017 PDF: 1.4 MB

Upcoming guidance notes and future consultation

It is anticipated that Guidance Notes 3A and 4 will be published on this website before the end of 2018.

While the department does not intend to expand its cost estimation guidance beyond the six key components at this stage, further notes on additional topics may be developed in future. The department will undertake a process of consultation with any future guidance note prior to final publication.

Users should register below to ensure they are automatically informed about future initiatives.

Register your interest

Submissions or registrations of interest to be kept informed about the progress of this work, can be made directly via email to or by using the form below. Items marked with an asterisk are mandatory fields.



Acceptable file types are txt, pdf, jpg, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, xls and xlsx. Multiple files can be attached before submitting. The upload button needs to be pressed before submitting the form.

(max 10MB)

Enquiries regarding the consultation process, or the published guidance notes, should be directed to:

Ben Du Bois
Civil Engineer, Change and Project Review
Ph: 02 6274 6993

Australian Privacy Principle 5 Notice

Your submission, including any personal information supplied, is being collected by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development for the purpose of seeking public and industry comment on the approach and content of its proposed cost estimation guidance, in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act).

Your personal information will be stored securely by the Department. It may be used by the Department to make further contact with you about the consultation process. Your personal information will not be disclosed to any other third parties, except in the circumstances outlined below.

Submissions, in part or full, including the name of the author may be published on the Department's website or in the Government's response, unless the submission is confidential. Confidential submissions (including author name) will not be published. Private addresses and contact details will not be published or disclosed to any third parties unless required by law.

Submissions will only be treated as confidential if they are expressly stated to be confidential. Automatically generated confidentiality statements or disclaimers appended to an email do not suffice for this purpose. If you wish you make a confidential submission, you should indicate this by ensuring your submission is marked confidential.

Confidential submissions will be kept securely and will only be disclosed in the following circumstances:

  • in response to a request by a Commonwealth Minister;
  • where required by a House or a Committee of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia; or where required by law.

The Department may also disclose confidential submissions within the Commonwealth of Australia, including with other Commonwealth agencies, where necessary in the public interest.

Please note that in order to protect the personal privacy of individuals in accordance with the Privacy Act any submissions containing sensitive information, personal information or information which may reasonably be used to identify a person or group of people may not be published, even if not marked as confidential.

The Department's privacy policy contains information regarding complaint handling processes and how to access and/or seek correction of personal information held by the Department. The Privacy Officer can be contacted on (02) 6274 6495.