RSMeans expertise in cost engineering, research and database management is engaged by clients in the A/E/C-FM industry. Our hallmark is improved cost management across the facility life cycle from early conceptual planning through facility maintenance. Means engineers and analysts consult with executives to address cost management practices driven by close attention to standards, methods, and business processes that impact effectiveness and cost control.

Perhaps no other industry has such a need to integrate internal data with external industry data for decision-making, forecasting, budgeting and day-to-day operations. A national roster of public and private sector clients includes the Fortune 1000, government agencies, school districts, colleges and universities, A/E/C firms, municipalities, healthcare systems and professional associations.

The ability to develop insights from past data, to project estimates and forecasts into the future and to design management tools all requires deep knowledge of the industry. RSMeans Business Solutions represents such a group of professionals. Our clients benefit from a flexible team structure in which a wide range of engineering, statistical, research and management expertise can be drawn upon for an unmatchable combination of professional insight.

RSMeans Business Solutions offers the skills, knowledge, datasets and tools necessary to draw insights from the past, and confidently forecaste and manage the future. The cost continuum addresses the entire range of “front to back” costs.


Cost modeling enables clients with extensive building inventory to quickly estimate the costs and variations at any location in the U.S. and Canada. Accurately predicting construction costs for standard facilities in multiple locations is an essential tool for budgeting and cost control. Starting with a detailed understanding of the client's project plan, RSMeans engineers create an estimate of major building components and variables, including the structural system, exterior wall construction, building systems and parameters. Cost models are developed in Means CostWorks™ - a proprietary software program that incorporates the base building and its variations.

Predictive Cost Modeling White Paper

Business Case - DOE

“Construction cost overruns were a big problem for the VA at 171 hospitals throughout the U.S. We had project engineers coming in with little knowledge of the background of estimating data. We turned to RSMeans because of trust in a familiar product. RSMeans engineers really know the field and made it a point to understand our needs. They illustrated how to better use cost data, especially when adjusting estimates locally. Post-training evaluations show a system-wide increase in estimating accuracy and consistency.”

Larry Cheatham, Education and Training Center
Engineering and Construction Management
Department of Veterans Affairs


Many opportunities exist to apply Means' extensive construction and facility databases for benchmark studies. We offer research insight into volatile material and market areas. We maintain data for clients, fully linked to Means' research activities to provide the most current information. For several management firms, Means analyzes material, labor and volume market conditions in multiple U.S. locations to monitor cost escalation across markets. For government agencies, Means benchmarks material and labor cost volatility in areas affected by Katrina.

As an example of facility benchmarking - for a metropolitan housing authority, RSMeans determined the "curve of best fit" for maintenance resource allocation in hundreds of apartment buildings. For a municipality, Means conducted an extensive labor rate study to determine the impact of prevailing wage legislation on current and future construction.

Business Case - New York City Law


A construction cost database or facility management database drives accurate planning and estimating. Using the building blocks of construction cost engineering that include a standard code of accounts; concise activity descriptions; material, labor and equipment costs; productivity rates; and location factors, RSMeans is the national leader for custom database development to fit any construction or facilities management situation. Means has developed and maintains a global cost estimating database for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Defense. Means has developed a cost index for various building types for the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Clients across many sectors license Means Data™ to integrate into proprietary systems in CAD, project management, and computerized maintenance management systems. Licensing agreements include client access to Means unit prices, backup crew, trade and equipment files necessary to augment the client's platform.

Cost analysis is the keystone of executive decision-making across the cost continuum, from inception to design and development, to management, renovation and maintenance. RSMeans builds custom analytic databases and tools for clients with “all the best data” from public, private, internal and external sources.

RSMeans has the most extensive proprietary collections of construction and facilities management industry data that extends to assembly and unit costs. More importantly, RSMeans has developed the tools and technical expertise to do rapid development of custom databases and web-based dashboards for specific client requirements. Services provided include design, data mapping, research, database management and hosting of specialized sites to track metrics. Management dashboards are web based, easy-to-use graphical representations of historical and forecasted data.


The construction industry has emerged as a multi-faceted industry in the U.S., increasingly affected by interest rates, land use and development, climactic conditions and green building practices. Facility owners and executives are deeply affected by these issues. Sustainability has become more of a concern with rising operational and energy costs, as well as indoor air quality, mold and moisture issues and increased demand for reused and recycled materials. Sustainability is not an "add-on" to construction but rather part of the integrated building design program. Government sector initiatives such as LEED and Energy Star are leading important industry transformations including code definition, standards and best practices.

RSMeans Business Solutions offers sustainability audits to improve operational best practice for cost savings in the areas of site selection, building automation, energy, HVAC, lighting controls, water efficiency and indoor air quality.

Life cycle costs play a significant role as owners address the long term use of building products, construction processes and infrastructure costs. Life cycle analysis studies address typical first-time and second-time costs of capital construction and maintenance respectively, as well as longer range operating and replacement costs.

RSMeans Business Solutions assists facility owners and executives with a myriad of solutions - from facility sustainability audits - to web based analytic dashboards - to special studies that analyze life cycle costs.

Third Party Validation

RSMeans "third party validation" studies control cost by providing reliable guidelines for expenses, project duration, cash flow projections, resource allocation, change order negotiation and other information necessary to execute a project. Boards of Trustees, management teams and corporate planners look to Means for third party cost validation. With proprietary unit price methodology and Means' CCI (Construction Cost Indexes) that include historical data since 1945, Means "third party validation" is recognized as an industry standard. Means engineers also provide expert witness services for legal mediation and testimony for construction cost claims and disputed building product failures.

“We're one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. Our project engineers had a critical need to improve estimating accuracy...everything from renovations to new construction. RSMeans response was outstanding and their work was always on schedule. They helped us to implement easy-to-use software and build a standardized, updatable database, combining modified data from RSMeans with proprietary data from our company. We've tracked this over several years and have seen a substantial improvement in estimating accuracy.”

Phil Balchan, Principal Engineer
Hoffmann-La Roche Pharmaceuticals

Facilities Management Dashboards

RSMeans Business Solutions develops for individual clients and hosts web based interactive dashboards that combine RSMeans' proprietary databases as well as client specific historical and forecasted data.

A facilities management dashboard is an operations management tool for owners of multiple properties. It brings together in one analytic tool all information needed for strategic decision-making and day-to-day management of a portfolio of properties. Data is automatically updated on a regular basis. The dashboard's purpose is easy availability of integrated financial and operational information for management decision-making.

Features include:

  • Integrated (financial, operational, marketing) view of the organization at a glance
  • Automatically generated color-coded alerts of problem areas
  • Life cycle trends within the portfolio
  • Modeling capabilities for sell/renovate/replace scenarios

On-Line Cost Calculators are custom designed for associations to enhance membership benefits on websites or to add value to industries applying RSMeans extensive cost and facilities databases. On-Line Calculators have been developed for the insurance, building automation and consumer reporting industries.

E-Mail Tim Duggan, Senior Consultant or call 781-422-5105 for information.


Marketing executives require continuous business intelligence to size markets. We extract quantitative answers from proprietary databases to offer a variety of data-enriched market research services. Our studies predict and model market size, asses vertical markets, document trends in specifying products and validate productivity and life cycle costs of new product adoption. Our team of engineers, business analysts, and database experts interact closely with clients to develop multi-year benchmarks and measurement standards.

Studies are available, such as…

Buyer Influence Analysis

A study that combines qualitative and quantitative research to identify trends that impact specification and/or purchase behavior. Executive Interviews are conducted with a limited sample of key industry leaders by specific sector (e.g., architects, contractors, owners, public officials, etc.) to explore issues and trends. A content analysis is conducted for emerging trends which are then further researched by quick “soundings” or quantitative surveys.

Business Case about a Seating Manufacturer

Material Usage Models

A model and accompanying algorithms are defined for product categories according to CSI Division and across Means 72 building type models for a state to state market analysis. The data is benchmarked against historical data, client reports and publicly available data. Resultant historical and forecasted metrics can be converted into interactive custom dashboards. Often, clients will use this approach to “drill down” into a specific sector such as education, government or healthcare for further analysis to project actual construction volume into a local market area with accompanying square foot and project value information.

Time & Motion Studies

Time savings, increased productivity and streamlined installation processes are key message opportunities to increase product adoption, particularly with installers. Increasingly, building product manufacturers sales are technical and require quantitative productivity information and third party validation. Metrics for improved productivity in a demonstrable “time & motion study” conducted by RSMeans provides a marketplace advantage from the perspective of documenting installed contractors’ costs, localized for different areas of the U.S. Other studies include life cycle cost analysis and research into local markets.

Building product manufacturers require quantitative documentation that new products perform faster and install at less cost. RSMeans "time & motion" studies document cost performance and compare "old and new" processes.

Business Case about a Time/Motion Study (Senco)

Specifications Analysis and Interactive Dashboard

SpecView™ is a web based interactive dashboard for marketing executives. It brings together in one place and in one tool all the information needed to benchmark and monitor specifications adoption across the U.S. It also provides a competitors analysis by vertical markets and geography as well as “what if” scenario analysis for gauging market impact. Data is automatically updated to provide a 12-month look at up to 5 product lines and 7 competitors simultaneously. Features include….

  • Analysis for number of projects, square foot of construction and dollar value of construction
  • Interactive graphics that reveal percentage of specification share
  • Updated from Reed Connect™ an extensive database of construction and renovation projects
  • Exportable reports to excel for sector analysis and geographic analysis
  • “What if modeling capability” to forecast sales impact on a specific sector

Contact Us

Contact RSMeans Business Solutions

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Department of Labor
Clark Realty Builders
Forest City Chicago
Firestone Building Products
Armstrong World Industries
Portland Cement Association
Georgia Pacific
Alcan Cable
Institute for Water Resources
VA Healthcare
Hunt Building Corporation