Water for Life – Cost estimate requirements

How to prepare cost estimates for Water for Life and Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership funding applications.


Funding applications for the Water for Life program and the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership must include detailed cost estimates for the project which follow the requirements included on this page.

Cost estimating and quality control process

A copy of the cost estimating and quality control process used for the project must be outlined in the feasibility study and/or Project Funding Application. The process(s) must demonstrate that the cost estimate evolved along with the technical development of the project, and that good cost estimating practice was followed.


A statement is required stating that the responsible municipality is entirely responsible for the quality and completeness of the cost estimates prepared for the project.


The feasibility study/project funding application must clearly document any and all assumptions made in developing the cost estimate, particularly regarding the project’s scope of work.

Comprehensive estimate

Each cost estimate must be a comprehensive project cost estimate, including all cost elements anticipated for the entire project and their associated risks. The cost elements must reflect the level of detail and definition available for costs estimating purposes.

Risk contingency

Appropriate risk contingency must be assigned and delineated clearly in the estimate for each of the cost elements and activities. This risk contingency is to be 10% which will be added to overall cost estimate.

Total project cost estimate

For larger projects, the number and extent of segments of the project for which a separate cost estimate is to be prepared is based on the project’s work breakdown structure. Regardless of the number of separate segment cost estimates prepared, each segment cost estimate will roll up to create a single, total project cost estimate.

Elemental parametric method

As a minimum, the cost estimate must use the elemental parametric method for cost estimating.

The estimate of a project builds from the expected cost of its elements and its parameters. In the elemental parametric approach, the elements are the building blocks such as:

  • design
  • land acquisition
  • project management
  • environmental requirements
  • construction, including sub-elements of:
    • supply of material/equipment
    • installation of material/equipment
    • structural
    • mechanical
    • electrical/instrumentation
    • HVAC
    • third-party utilities

The parameters are the variables which need to be defined, such as:

  • pipe size
  • pipe length
  • number of crossings
  • building square meterage
  • pump horsepower
  • treatment equipment

The feasibility study/project funding application must contain a complete copy of cost estimate(s), the supporting materials, scope statements and assumptions in the feasibility report or project funding application.


We reserve the right to review and audit the estimate to ensure good estimating practice was used, in particular, that the scope of work is adequately defined and that all cost elements and parameters are included.

Unacceptable cost estimation processes will be rejected and the feasibility study/project funding application will be returned to the responsible municipality for revision prior to the department’s further review and action.


For more information about the Water for Life program, find your region by checking the Municipalities, Locations and Corresponding Transportation Regions list, then contact the Infrastructure Manager in your local Transportation Regional Office.