Project Description

The Potter County Courthouse is a civil court, Design-Bid-Build, project for the district court located in Amarillo, TX. The project’s scope includes the construction of an all-new five-story building of 132,000 sf to replace the existing district courts building. The project design for the new building is a steel frame with load-bearing CMU exterior walls.

Project Estimation

Construction Cost Management (CCM) was selected for the project and began estimating in late 2019. The CCM project team was led by Keith Kothmann, Senior Estimator and Vice President, along with project estimator Radhika Kulkarni. Each member on the project was certified by the ASPE as an AEP or CEP which gave the client confidence. To manage this project, CCM split into multiple teams of junior and senior estimator pairings, where each team focused on separate divisions. Junior estimators quickly assessed and estimated the project and its changes, while senior estimators provided adjustments based on their experience and insight. The result was a $51 million contractor bid compared to CCM’s $50 million estimated construction cost. A 98% accurate estimate would be impressive on its own, without additional concerns.

Project Challenges Addressed

2020 saw a wild variance in the construction industry. None perhaps more challenging to manage than a public health pandemic. This pandemic in addition to material delivery delays, changes to safety protocols, labor shortages, and reduced equipment availability added layers of difficulty. To provide an accurate estimate amongst all these impending factors took a significant amount of work, attention to detail, and experience in the construction industry. The primary reason for CCM’s success with the Potter County Courthouse project is our legacy of experience. CCM has been estimating courthouse buildings for more than 40 years. We have seen construction booms, recessions, material and labor issues, and changes to regulations. That familiarity provided CCM a critical foundation for estimating a project of this caliber. For additional insight, CCM relied heavily on senior estimator Keith Kothmann’s general contractor background. His intimate knowledge of the factors facing general contractors helped the estimate accurately reflect those considerations.

Another reason for the overwhelming success of the estimate was CCM’s working history with project designer HOK. The comfortable and experienced working relationship made the project run seamlessly with minimal comments and reviews from the owner. This working relationship allowed architects to move forward from the initial design stage without going back and forth to cut and augment the design scope to stay within the project’s budget. CCM was involved in the initial design meetings to provide input on building materials, systems, and layouts to inform cost controls. This close association continued with CCM providing analysis to design options in the project’s concept design phase.

Estimation Services Provided

CCM provided three estimates for the schematic design, design development, and construction documents for the Potter County Courthouse project. To accurately assess the human labor need of the project, CCM conducted a detailed wage study for the project site location and surrounding county. Creating this assessment was instrumental to CCM’s ability to provide the most accurate labor pricing possible for the Potter County Courthouse’s construction. Being a Texas firm and very aware of the construction pricing and regulations of the state CCM provided insight to labor, material, and other costs.

The detailed cost calculation provided at the initial design stage was strengthened by CCM, using adjustment factors gleaned from 40 years of experience in estimating this type of project. CCM was able to adjust the estimate as the design evolved while providing the project owner and designer insight into managing the project’s cost and scope.

State of the Potter County Courthouse Project

The project received a contractor bid within a 2% variance of the estimate provided by Construction Cost Management, reaffirming CCM’s reputation for exceptional estimating accuracy. The Potter County Courthouse has been covered by numerous news articles and media coverage and has officially broken ground. The project designer, HOK, was thrilled with CCM’s estimating and sent their heartfelt congratulations when the project’s construction started, continuing the two companies’ beneficial working relationship. Once completed, Construction Cost Management plans to make a company outing to see the completed Potter County Courthouse that we are so proud to have helped make a success.

Media Coverage

  • Potter County gets closer to starting construction of new district court building (
  • Potter County selects district courts building contractor (
  • Potter County breaks ground on new districts court building | KAMR –
  • Potter County Commissioners approve new $63 million district court building | KVII (
  • HOK begins design on new Texas courthouse