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The Tailgate

Materials For You to Share With Your Team.

Are maintenance costs eroding your budget?

We are looking for builder or developer partners to help us do actual cost comparisons over time, specifically looking at what percentage of your stormwater compliance budget is spent on maintenance versus installation.

An Invitation

This post is an invitation to join us in understanding your maintenance costs. We can talk (or write) all day about what we believe, but we are looking for builder or developer partners to help us do actual cost comparisons over time, specifically looking at what percentage of your stormwater compliance budget is spent on maintenance versus installation. Please read on, and if you’d like to join us in a research project, we’ll provide more information at the end of this post.

Why is this project important? Well, for DTEC, we want to be able to back up our claims with real world data, and really, we want to confirm for ourselves that our approach pays off because we want to deliver value to our clients. Joining us in the research is a win-win situation. For any company joining this research project we hope it will be important for you because this may be an overlooked area of your construction budget. And possibly because having access to the same real world data will spare you the expense of learning by trial and error. Maybe you just want to see our data to confirm your own instincts about stormwater maintenance costs.

A Simple Approach

Here’s the simple method we propose. Choose any of your completed projects and run the numbers for all control measures (BMPs) and the associated maintenance. The goal is to come up with a ratio of installation costs to maintenance costs. We think even this simple calculation will be eye-opening for most builders and developers. What we then want to compare is the total cost of maintenance for Installation company A versus Installation company B or C for similar project types.

However, that broad view might overlook some important information, and if the method varies between projects, we won’t have consistent data. So for those who want to dive deeper into the data, we suggest the following categories so that we can be more confident in the data.

Installation cost: 
All BMPs, by type.
 
Maintenance costs:
All BMPs by type

Street sweeping costs 
Street sweeper
Broom and shovel cleaning of inlets and streets.

Supervision Time (scheduling, approving, layout for BMP contractor)
Average hours per week X number of active weeks, or for first calendar year of a project.

Damage by others
Decide whether or not to include damage by others in the maintenance costs.

Tracking those items and comparing them across projects would yield some solid data about the true and total cost of control measures for compliance. And having those conclusions backed by real world data would move the industry from hunches and impressions toward approaches that are both effective and cost-effective. 

Observations

  • If you are not getting maintenance versus installation costs on your invoicing you should ask your vendor to begin providing this information. Without it, this exercise will be impossible.
  • Maintenance costs will vary by project type as well, so where possible, compare similar project types (multifamily, single family, hospitality, commercial, retail, road construction, subdivision development, etc)
  • If your accounting group is too busy, consider using an intern or admin to compile the data on some representative projects.
  • If you choose to explore this kind of research, contact us for some tips or support or collaboration.

Join Us

Is this an exercise you want to complete? Would you like to learn what maintenance and installation costs are on your typical project? On a typical DTEC project?  DTEC is committing to sharing this information if you will share what you’ve observed on your projects as well. Contact Joel at info@trustdtec.com if you want to discuss how to compile data and/or when you are ready to compare results. We’d love to help.

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