How to Track the Construction Costs of a Building in Excel

With special formatting options, formulae and graphing applications, Microsoft Excel 2013 is a powerful accounting tool for managing projects such as building construction. Excel lets you set up a worksheet to track project costs, but the easiest way to use the program for project management and budgeting is to download a specialized building project template from Microsoft. Once loaded in Excel, you can type in your project data and make changes to the template just as you would your own document. The pre-designed formats and formulae can save you lots of time over creating your own worksheet.

Commercial building construction site
Excel helps you stay on top of complex projects like construction.
credit: Maudib/iStock/Getty Images

Step

Open Excel, click on the "File" tab and then select "New."

Step

Search for an online template by entering "construction" in the search field at the top of the window. You can also browse online templates by clicking on the category links under the search field (see Resources).

Step

Click on a template to open a preview with additional information about the template. Select the template that best suits your construction project and click on the "Create" button in the preview window to open the workbook template in Excel.

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Type in title information for your company or project name. Most templates include placeholder text for title fields. Simply click on the placeholder text to highlight it and then type in your own personal information.

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Review the template to identify sections you don't need or things you might want to add. Delete unnecessary categories for your construction project by highlighting the cell, column or row and pressing the "Delete" key. You can also add areas by right-clicking on a cell and then selecting "Insert" to add rows, columns or cells.

Step

Enter the costs for the preliminary phase of your construction project. Most templates divide construction costs in phases, with a project design phase covering costs like land purchases, site clearance, architect or engineer fees and construction permits.

Step

Enter the material costs for your construction project. Most templates include itemized material lists where you can enter the price per unit and the number of necessary units. Excel templates usually also have integrated formulae to calculate subtotals and totals based on the cost information you enter.

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Enter equipment and equipment rental costs for your construction project. If the template is divided in phases such as foundations, structure and electrical, list each piece of equipment in the appropriate phase worksheet.

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Enter labor costs for your construction project. Most templates allow you to include both hourly and fixed labor costs.

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Save your work and update the workbook regularly to stay on top of your construction project costs.