24th Jan

Estimating piping systems – things you should know

Within process plants and related projects, piping is a rather specialized discipline with a lot of aspects to take into account when estimating its costs. This article discusses a number of things you should pay attention to in order to make your estimate as accurately as possible.

Type of pipe

There are numerous types of pipes used in different kinds of industries, depending on project specific circumstances like the material that is transferred through it, the operating pressure, the operating temperature, the required maintenance, et cetera.

All these factors influence the material that the pipe should be made of, but also its size, the thickness of the walls and the required connections. There are many kinds of materials to choose from, but mostly it will be stainless steel, carbon steel or plastic. Be sure to inquire with the project designer and piping specialist which one is used, since it sure is going to impact the cost of the project.


When it comes to the specifications of the piping used in a project, size (diameter) and wall thickness are important cost drivers. When it comes to steel piping, size and thickness can be denoted in two different ways, depending on your region: the ASME standard and the DIN standard. Make sure you inquire with the piping specialist which one to use in your estimates.

In ASME, the size is always denoted in inches and there are pretty standard sizes ranging from 0.5 to 48”. In DIN, millimeters are used to specify the size of the pipe.

Connectors and other components

Besides the main pipe itself, there are obviously many other items that should be taken into account when estimating a pipe system. Does it needs bending or are you using elbows? And how many? How many flanges, valves, o-lets, gauges, reducers and tees are needed and what kind? Depending on the required accuracy of your estimate, the amount of these items is either based on a detailed design or industry standards. In CESK Composites, these industry standards are taken into account to simplify the estimation of piping systems. On a more detailed level, you can use CESK Bill of Quantities to estimate all components.

Other requirements

Besides the variables mentioned above, there are other aspects to take into account when estimating a piping system. Don’t forget include the required insulation (hold or cold?), paining or location (ISBL or OSBL?). If you know about and understand all those variables that impact the total price of a piping system, you can really start making accurate project cost estimates.

If you have a question, or want to know more about CESK data, please feel free to contact us