Selecting Cost Fields


It is possible to define billions of different cost fields within Mandrel. Selecting cost fields from a single list is obviously impractical. Instead, cost fields are selected for reporting purposes by selecting their individual properties.


Selecting and subsequently modifying cost fields is done via the Cost Field Definition form, which is called from any of the Report Designers which require cost fields.

Cost Fields Form

Selecting a cost field requires the following steps:

1.   Selection of the cost type. The available cost types are shown in the table below.

2.   Selection of the cost display mode and the cost component.

3.   Selection of ancillary characteristics such as tax and cost allocation block.



Project X requires the use of a labor category called Senior Engineer. A cost allocation system has been set up dividing costs into three time periods, 2010, 2011 and 2012. You require to include in a report the contingency hours allotted for this category in 2011.

1.   Select Defined costs (units of measure) as the field type

2.   Select Senior Engineer as the specific field

3.   Select Base+Contingency as the cost display mode, and select Contingency as the cost component

4.   Select 2011 as the cost allocation block.




Individual Direct Cost Any direct cost field with a specified name. If you leave the Direct Cost Name box blank, the field will show any unnamed direct costs
Total Direct Cost The sum of all the direct costs within the cost item
Individual Defined Cost (units of measure) A specified defined cost showing the data entry in terms of the units in which that cost is defined, e.g. if the cost is a labor cost defined in hours, the field will show the number of hours.
Individual Defined Cost (cost value) A specified defined cost showing the cost value, obtained by multiplying the units entry by the unit price
Total Defined Cost (cost value) The sum of the cost values for all defined costs within the cost item
Overall Cost Total The sum of the Total Direct Cost and the Total Defined Cost for the cost item
Cost Performance Fields Any fields which are based on cost performance data, such as Estimate to Completion



Cost Components

Just as you can input data in base+contingency mode or high/mid/low mode, you can also display data in a report in either of these two modes. Once you have selected the display mode, you then selection the cost component you require:




   Base cost    High Range
   Contingency    Mid Range
   Total (base + contingency)    Low Range



Cost fields may be shown without tax, with tax (i.e. inclusive of tax), or as tax only. If you select either the With tax or Tax only options, you must then select a tax. This can be an individual named tax or all taxes combined.


Unit Prices

All defined costs must have an associated unit price, and all unit prices have a nominal value, a high range value and a low range value. These three values may be the same if there is no uncertainty in the unit cost, but they will always exist.

With any cost field type involving unit prices, i.e.

- Individual defined cost

- Total defined cost

- Overall cost total

you may show costs in terms of the nominal, the high range, or the low range unit costs.


Cost Allocation

If you have set up a cost allocation system, any cost field may contain the costs for a specific cost allocation block only, or it may contain the costs for that field summed over all allocation blocks.


Probability Weighting

Probability weighting applies only to risks, i.e. to cost items which have been assigned a probability of less than 100%.

When dealing with risks, you are dealing with costs which may or may not occur. Mandrel allows you to display these costs as weighted costs, i.e. as the actual cost multiplied by the probability that the cost will occur:

With weighting option:         costs will be shown weighted by probability

No weighting option:            actual costs will be shown

The sum of all the weighted costs for all risks represents your risk exposure.


Showing Cost Fields as Percentages

You can show a cost component such as contingency as a percentage of the base cost. You can also show tax fields as percentages, where the percentage refers to the tax rate. However, a problem arises if the field is both a tax field and a contingency field, e.g. tax payable on the contingency amount. Does the percentage in this case refer to the contingency amount or to the tax rate?

Mandrel solves this problem by enforcing a percentage hierarchy of tax first, cost components second. If the field is a tax-related field (with-tax or tax-only), any percentages will refer to tax rates. Percentages will refer to the cost component amount only if the field is not a tax field.