Director's Corner

7 September 2006

Barry Barish

Developing an International Cost Estimate for the ILC

Our GDE team has about a third of its membership from the Americas, a third from Asia and a third from Europe. This "global" team developed a baseline configuration document (BCD) that lays out the technical description of the ILC, as it is presently envisioned. We produced this BCD through a process in which all major decisions were agreed upon internationally, and the product is one universal document that is used by all. We are rightfully proud of this important accomplishment, and it is a tribute to the strong global collaboration we have formed. Our next task, creating and documenting a universal ILC cost estimate, is an even greater challenge. Not only must we get the costs right, but we must present them in a way that can be understood and used by everyone internationally, in defining the resources that will be needed to build the ILC.

The Beam Dumps are going to cost HOW much?

To accomplish this task, we have adopted a methodology for estimating the ILC costs that borrows from elements of the costing methods used for other large international projects, such as ITER and large particle detectors. Our approach is to use a "value" estimating system, meaning we agree to the value, not the cost, of each of the many work packages that make up the total project. Using this system, we also determine the in-house manpower that will be required to carry out each task.

Everyone must understand that the goal of our cost estimating is not to determine a single number giving the total cost of the ILC. That number would be rather meaningless, because the ILC will not be built by one country, but rather by assembling a set of "in-kind" contributions from the worldwide collaborators. What it would cost to make each of these in-kind contributions in different countries varies greatly depending on regional differences, as well as what is built and how it is built, and even on what is customarily included in the quoted costs in each country.

Therefore, our cost estimates for each item are based on a call for world-wide tender, using the lowest reasonable price for the required quality. There are also different classes of items in the cost estimate that need to be treated differently:

  • Site-Specific Costs: These are costs such as tunneling, in which we are making separate estimates for each region or sample site.
  • Conventional Costs: These are costs for items that have global capability, and we can make a single world estimate.
  • High Tech Costs: Regional estimates will be made and compared for cavities and cryomodules, for example.

The entire ILC project has been compartmentalised into a work breakdown structure that defines each work package in detail. The cost estimators for each technical subsystem have followed a set of uniform guidelines for determining the cost. The costing engineers and I have now obtained an almost complete set of preliminary costing data for the project. We are very busy vetting and validating these costs item by item, looking hard at items in which costs appear inconsistent or are significantly different from our a priori estimates. We are also using the estimates to begin a set of studies to optimise cost to performance.

I will review highlights of this costing process as it evolves and as we determine the final designs and cost estimates to be presented in our reference design document.

-- Barry Barish