Public Works Expo 2018

TU29 - What Does it Cost to Do Public Works?

Aug 28, 2018 3:00pm ‐ Aug 28, 2018 3:50pm


Many questions in Public Works are about cost. Attend this session and learn how one can determine key cost components by considering both overhead and fleet rates that match an agency’s actual cost incurred for doing maintenance and capital efforts. These values are key for estimating work such as mowing grass, fixing potholes or installing a sign. This presentation will outline how county public works departments, in both California and Florida, applied this theory to their work. We'll also cover how the values were computed and where the data can be found and compiled to determine these rates. Limitations and how best to apply these rates in decision-making, internal costing, outsourcing decisions, and billing will also be discussed. The choice of which rate type to apply for the different overhead and equipment rates will be described with examples.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, you will be better able to: 

  • Calculate both equipment and overhead rates.
  • Recognize when to apply different equipment and overhead rate models.
  • Improve decision-making and budgeting systems for maintenance and capital improvement projects.


  • Harry C. Lorick, PE, PTOE, PWLF, Principal/President, LA Consulting, Inc.
  • Vicki Quiram, PE, Assistant Director, Public Works, Orange County, CA

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