For enterprise security executives, budgeting a first system design is crucial.

Concerning the end-point components needed in a security system, count the number of devices by type:
  • Electronic controls
  • Locking systems
  • Exit devices
  • Alarm monitoring equipment

Also count:
  • Network and control material
  • Cabling
  • Conduit

Show the unit price and extended price for each line item of material. Use caution when establishing the unit price for individual components; and because this is a budget estimate, if in doubt, use a higher price to ensure that adequate funding is available for these devices. Multiply the component count by the unit price to obtain the extended price. This is where the cabling estimate on the DDS is most useful.

The next step in the sample budget is for labor. Base the costs on an anticipated number of hours needed to install each device. The hourly estimate was derived from a table developed for this purpose and is based on historical experience from several sources. You may want to establish a library to compile local historical data based on projects complete. However, the estimates are a general guide for approximating the amount of time needed to install a specific component.

Labor costs

What is probably unknown at this point is the installation rate charged for the hours required. It is usually advisable to obtain the standard market rate for electricians in the local community. If this information is not available, R. H. Means publishes a list of estimated construction costs that provides an hourly rate for electricians. Use this rate to establish the installation cost based on the number of hours anticipated for a given device.

The Final Hookup Cost is also a part of the labor estimate. Final hookup is the work operations reserved for vendor technicians. The easiest way to define the distinction between installation and final hookup is to view installation as all cable pulls and mounting work up to but excluding the connection of the cable to the end device.

Generally, vendors prefer their employees to terminate all electronic devices to ensure that the person making those connections has been properly trained by the manufacturer and is supervised by the company responsible for the equipment warranty. The estimated number of final hookup hours for most of the commonly used equipment is a good rule of thumb in estimating Final Hookup Cost.

Determine the hourly rate used to calculate the resulting cost of this final hookup.

In addition to the direct expenses described above, there are other indirect expenses associated with any project installation. Those indirect expenses are travel, training and project management. Travel cost estimates are required if the facility is located in areas where local vendors are not available and inter-city travel is anticipated. Make an allowance for the travel costs from the installation and final hookup crews.

Estimate incidental costs

Calculate training cost by counting the number of individuals who will administer the system (be sure to consider multiple shifts for security officers). Assume that a single training class will have no more than ten people. In cases when more intense training may be required, reduce the estimated class size to only five individuals. Allow three full business days for each training session at approximately six hours per day. Multiply that by the hourly rate established for final hookup services from vendor technicians. This will be the estimated training cost. If manufacturer training is expected as part of the system specification package (as opposed to local vendor personnel) also add the travel and per diem cost necessary to bring this vendor to the facility.

Project management tends to be one of the most difficult elements of the labor cost estimation to assess. This is because the demands on the project manager vary with the experience level of the vendors and other support personnel from the client’s facility involved in the process. A number of factors affect how project management is assessed and these calculations can become difficult and tedious. Since this is a budget estimate, the most appropriate shorthand rule to follow is simply to assess project management based on the overall cost of the project. A rule of thumb used for project management in construction with regard to architects and other professionals is 7% to 10% of the total cost of the project.