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Cost Planning


Summary: Cost planning is an essential part of project planning, which involves identifying, planning, and monitoring all incurred costs. The focus is on the economic implementation of a project and ensuring that all resources are used efficiently. Successful cost planning can help to minimize financial risks and increase the profitability of a project.

Cost Planning in Detail

Cost planning is a crucial component of project planning and includes identifying, planning, and monitoring all costs incurred within a project. Since the economic implementation of a project is of paramount importance, cost planning helps to minimize financial risks, increase profitability, and ensure that all resources are used efficiently.

Objectives of Cost Planning

Cost planning pursues several goals related to the successful implementation of a project:

  • Cost transparency: The systematic recording and analysis of all incurred costs allow for a transparent representation of the financial aspects of a project.
  • Cost control: By regularly monitoring costs and comparing planned to actual costs, deviations can be detected early and corrective measures can be initiated.
  • Cost efficiency: Cost planning helps to find the most economical solution for implementing a project and to use resources efficiently.
  • Minimizing financial risks: A well-founded cost planning enables early detection of financial risks and reduction through appropriate measures.

Types of Costs and Cost Groups

In the context of cost planning, various types of costs are distinguished:

  • Fixed costs: Costs that arise regardless of the utilization of a project, such as rent or salaries.
  • Variable costs: Costs that are directly related to the utilization of a project, such as material costs or energy costs.
  • One-time costs: Costs that occur once within the scope of a project, such as acquisition costs for equipment or software.

These types of costs can be divided into various cost groups, which can be done, for example, according to DIN 276 for construction costs or DIN 69901 for project costs. The division into cost groups allows for a structured recording and allocation of costs.

Phases of Cost Planning

Cost planning is divided into various phases:

  1. Cost forecasting: In this phase, the expected costs are roughly estimated based on experience, market analyses, and internal specifications.
  2. Cost estimation: Cost estimation is based on the existing planning documents and includes a detailed breakdown of the anticipated costs.
  3. Cost calculation: Cost calculation is carried out based on the final planning documents and serves to determine the actual costs incurred within the project.
  4. Cost tracking and control: During the project's duration, the actual costs are recorded and compared with the planned costs to detect deviations early and, if necessary, initiate countermeasures.

Methods and Instruments of Cost Planning

Various methods and instruments are used in cost planning to support the identification, planning, and monitoring of costs:

  • Cost comparisons: By comparing costs from similar projects, estimates and forecasts for the current project can be derived.
  • Element method: This method divides a project into individual elements and determines the costs for each element. The costs of the elements are then added to obtain the total costs.
  • Unit price method: Here, costs are determined based on unit prices (e.g., cost per hour or per square meter) and multiplied by the respective quantities to calculate the total costs.
  • Cost simulation: Simulation procedures can be used to play through various scenarios and analyze their impact on costs.
  • Controlling instruments: Controlling instruments such as budgets, actual vs. planned comparisons, or key performance indicators can be used for monitoring and controlling costs.


Cost planning is an important part of project planning and significantly contributes to the economic implementation of a project. Sound cost planning enables minimizing financial risks, efficient use of resources, and increasing the profitability of a project. By using various methods and instruments, costs can be systematically identified, planned, and monitored.