All You Need to Know About Construction Hard Costs

Construction hard costs include the costs of physical construction elements such as foundations, equipment, laborers, and so on. The costs associated with these elements are pretty easy to estimate. Usually, an experienced estimator quantifies the hard costs of a construction project. Hard costs make up almost 70% of the total cost of the construction project. 

These hard costs are usually incurred when the project is finally in its construction phase. Market conditions have a direct impact on construction hard cost estimation. Other factors like the cost of materials, labor, and delivery dates also have an impact on the hard costs of the project. These costs are calculated from the start of the project until its conclusion. 

Components of Construction Hard Costs

Hard costs include the costs associated with the engineering and design process of projects. These costs can change with architectural and engineering decisions. Usually, hard costs in a construction project include the following.

Building Structure Costs

These include the costs of materials and labor required for the construction of the structure along with any other costs associated with the building’s construction.

Site Costs 

The costs of utilities needed at the site such as drains, piping, and water systems are included in site costs.

Landscaping Costs

Hard costs also include the cost of grass, fertilizers, and other material that is used in landscaping jobs. 

Contingency Costs 

It is an estimated amount that is set aside to deal with unforeseen circumstances and any other such expenses. The amount set aside is usually 5 to 10% of the total cost on a new project and around 10 to 20% on a remodeling project. 

Change Orders

Usually change orders result in the project going over budget, but the costs associated with change orders are also included in construction hard costs.


The materials and supplies used in the entire duration of the project along with any other needs and inventory requirements are included in construction hard costs. The salary of employees and any other fees that need to be paid during the construction process will also be included in hard costs. 

Make sure to include all these things when you are estimating the costs of construction. Make a list of all the materials and equipment needed for the project along with their current rates in the area. If you need a dozer or a used road roller for your project, include them in the list. You can use this list when estimating the hard costs of your project. Remember to calculate labor costs for the project as well. To do this, you can use data gathered from similar old projects.