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The worst error a prospective fishfarm operator can make is to develop an area without project cost estimates and a programme of development. Development money is wasted, and management of the area may be difficult or impossible. Poor planning is the major cause of project failure and even leads to personal bankruptcy.

It is very necessary that preparation of the project cost estimates as well as programme of development be done before any construction is started. It is important to know approximately how much will be spent to finish the whole project. It is better that one knows how and when the project will be constructed and completed. The importance of the project cost estimates and programme of development should not be underestimated.

5.1 Project Cost EStimates

The cost of development can be estimated based on the 1) data gathered in the area, 2) proposed layout plan, and 3) design and specification of the physical structures and other facilities.

5.1.1 Pre-development estimates

a. For the preparation of Feasibility Study. Whether the fishpond operator will apply for a loan in the Bank or he will use his own money to finance the development of a fishpond project, a feasibility study of the area is needed. The feasibility study will be his guide in the development and management of the project. All activities such as the development, management and economic aspects are embodied in the feasibility study. It is a specialized work by engineers, aquaculturist and an economist having special knowledge in fishfarming industry. Usually, for the preparation of the feasibility study, the group charges about 2% to 10% of the total estimated cost of development.

b. For the Survey of the Area. An area survey includes a topographic survey, and re-location survey. Whether the area is owned by a private individual or by the government, an area survey by a licensed Geodetic Engineer is very important for the proper location and boundary of the land. It is one of the requirements in the application for a 25-year Fishpond Lease Agreement in the BFAR and also in the application for a loan in the Bank. It must be duly approved by the Bureau of Lands.

A topographic survey is necessary in the planning and development of the project. A re-location survey must be conducted to check the validity of the approved plan as well as to avoid conflict in the future. An area and topographic survey done by a Geodetic Engineer will cost about 400.00 for the first hectare or a fraction thereof and 50.00 per hectare for the succeeding hectarages. Re-location survey is cheaper than the area and topographic survey.

c. For the Construction of a Temporary Shelter. Experienced fishpond laborers generally do not live in the locality. To be more effective they need to have a place to stay during the construction activities. For the construction of a shelter house made of light material, assume a cost of 300.00/sq.m. of shelter. This includes materials and labor costs.

d. For the Construction of Transport Facilities. Flatboats will be needed in the transport of mudblocks. A banca may be used in going to the site. Cost of construction varies from locality to locality. A flatboat with dimensions of 8' × 4' × 14" will cost around 500.00. A small banca will cost around 600.00.

e. For Representation and Transportation Expenses. This item is not included in the cost of development of a fishpond project. However, it appears that a big amount is being incurred in representation and transportation expenses before the project is started. Example of expenditures are follow-ups of survey plan of the area, FLA application and bank loan. Other expenses are incurred in canvassing of supplies and materials, survey of manpower requirement and equipment needed in the development of a project. Representation and transportation expenses cover about 10–20 percent of pre-development cost.

5.1.2 Development Proper.

a. For the Clearing of the Whole Area. Clearing the area of vegetation can be divided into three categories, namely: 1) cutting and chopping, 2) Falling and burning, and 3) uprooting and removal of stumps and logs. Generally, cutting and chopping costs about 500.00 per hectare; piling and burning costs about 300.00 per hectare; and for the uprooting of stumps and removal of logs, costs depend on their size and number per unit area. A hectare pond, for instance, having 200 stumps of size below 15 cm. in diameter will cost about 800.00. Stumps numbering 50 pieces with diameter over than 15 cm. will cost about 1,000.00 per hectare. Cost for the clearing depends upon the prevailing price in the locality.

b. For the Construction and Installation of Gates. Cost of construction and installation of a gate can be calculated based on its design and specification proposed in the area. The two kinds of gate commonly constructed in fishponds ( concrete and wood) will be discussed separately.

  1. Estimating the cost of construction and installation of a concrete gate:

    1. Based on the plan of a concrete gate, determine the area and volume of the walls, wings, floor, bridges, toes, aprons and cut walls and compute for the total volume using the following formula:

      A = L × W
      V = A × t
      VT = V = V1 + V2 + V3 + …


      VT=Total volumet=thickness

      Determine the number of bags of cement, and the volume of gravel and sand by multiplying the total volume with the factors precomputed for a Class A mixture plus 10% allowance for wastage, thus:

      No. of bag cement=(VT × 7.85) + 10%
      Volume of Gravel=(VT × 0.88) + 10%
      Volume of Sand=(VT × 0.44) + 10%

      Class A mixture has a proportion of 1:2:4, that is one part of cement for every two parts of fine aggregate (sand) and four parts of coarse aggregate (gravel).

    2. Every square meter of a concrete gate uses 6.0 m. long of reinforcement bar placed at an interval of 0.25 m. both ways on center. This is equivalent to 1 ½ bars at a standard length of 20 feet per bar. The floor and toes use the same size of bar, thus:

      No. of reinforcement bar = (Af + 4t) × 1.5


      Af = Area of the floor
      At = Area of the toes

      The walls, wings, etc. use two different sizes of reinforcement bar, thus:


      Aw = Area of the walls
      Ax = Area of the wings
      An = other areas

    3. Find the total area of a concrete gate by adding all the areas mentioned in (a). Calculate the weight of tie wire no. 16 by multiplying the total area with a standard value per sq.m. of concrete, thus:

      Weight (kg) = AT × 0.3 Kg/sq.m.

    4. Calculate the volume of boulders needed by multiplying the area of the flooring with the thickness of fill.

    5. Form lumber can be calculated by multiplying the area of walls, wings and bridges by 2. Plywood can also be used as form. Since lumber measurement is still in feet it should be converted into meter, (see conversion table). Use 2" × 3" wood for form support.

    6. Bamboo puno could be calculated from the area of the flooring. A square meter of flooring will require more or less 20 puno staked at an interval of 0.25 m. both ways on center. This, however, depends upon the hardness of the floor foundation.

    7. Screens and slabs are calculated based on the design of the concrete gate.

    8. Assorted nails are calculated based on the thickness of the form lumber used.

    9. Labor cost is 35–40% of total material cost. However, close estimates can be computed by determining the cost of labor for the construction and removal of temporary earth dike, excavation of the foundation, staking of bamboo puno, placing of boulders and gravel, construction of forms, concreting of the gate and others.

  2. Estimating the cost of construction and installation of a wooden gate.

    1. Based on the plan of a wooden gate, determine the size and number of lumber for the sidings and flooring. Compute for the total board feet using the following formula:


      L=Length of lumber in inches
      W=Width of lumber in inches
      t=thickness of lumber in inches
    2. Based on the design and specification of the pillars and braces, compute for the total board feet using again the above formula.

    3. Determine the size and number of lumber needed for slabs and screen frames and compute the total board feet.

    4. Calculate the assorted nails (bronze) based on the lumber used.

    5. Calculate the coal tar requirement in gallons.

    6. Calculate the cost of nylon and bamboo screens.

    7. Calculate the labor cost at 30–40% of the material cost or calculate in detail according to the labor requirement. Calculation includes the construction, painting and installation of the wooden gate and excavation of the floor foundation.

c. For the Construction of the Proposed Dikes. Dikes constructed in fishponds vary in sizes. Bigger dikes are, of course, more costly to construct than smaller dikes. In other words, the perimeter or main dike will expend more than the secondary or tertiary dikes. The cost of construction is calculated based on the volume of soil filled and generally it costs 6.00 per cubic meter. Labor cost, however, depends on the prevailing price in the locality.

Transport distance of soil material to the dike is also considered in calculating the cost of construction. Long transport distance decreases individual output per day and thus will increase construction cost. Working eight hours a day, one skilled worker can finish diking, using one flat boat, based on the following distances:

10 – 100 meter distance6 – 7 cu.m./day
101 – 300 meter distance5 – 6 cu.m./day
301 – 500 meter distance4 – 5 cu.m./day

d. For the Excavation and Leveling of Ponds. Cost for excavation depends upon the volume of soil left inside the pond after the dikes have been constructed. Considering that some soils have been excavated for diking purposes, only about 60% is left for excavation. Generally, escavation costs about 2.00 per cu.m. depending upon the prevailing labor cost in the locality.

After excavation, leveling of the pond bottoms follows. This involves the cut-and-fill method (excavation and dumping to low portions). Generally, leveling costs about 2,000.00 per hectare.

e. For the Construction of Facilities. Facilities include the caretaker's house, working shed, bodega, chilling tanks, etc. For proper estimates there should be a simple plan of the facilities. However, rough estimates can be made based on the floor area of a house to be constructed. For a house made of light materials, assume a cost of 400.00 per sq.m. floor area; and for concrete structures, assume 1,000.00 per sq.m. All assumed costs include materials and labor based on 1979 price of materials.

f. For the Purchase of Equipment. A fishpond project cannot be operated without equipment. Examples are fish nets, digging blades, shovels, scoop nets, bolos, etc. These items should be included as part of the total development cost. Such equipment should be listed and calculated.

g. Contingencies. There should be a contingency fund for unforeseen expenditures, increase of prices and other materials not included in the above calculations. Assume 10% of the above costs for contingencies.

5.1.3 Cost estimate

For the purpose of determining the cost of developing a new brackishwater fishfarm project, a typical example of a 50-hectare fishpond project applied to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for a 25-year Fishpond Lease Agreement is presented below.

1.For the preparation of feasibility study 1,000.00
2.Re-location of boundaries2,000.00
3.For the construction of temporary shelter for laborers (light materials)4,000.00
4.For the construction of flatboats, 5 units at 500.00/unit2,500.00
5.For the purchase of small banca, 1 unit at 600.00600.00
6.For representation and transportation expenses3,000.00
Sub-total 13,100.00
II.Development Proper 
1.Clearing of the area at 600.00/ha. (cutting, chopping, burning & removal of logs 30,000.00
2.Construction of dikes (filling, compacting and shaping by manual labor) 
a.Main dike along bay and river 1,920 linear meters, 6.0 m base, 2.0 m crown and 2.25 m height or a total of 17,280 cum. at 6.00/cu.m103,680.00
b.Main dike along upland, 840 linear meters, 5.5 m base, 2.0 m crown, and 2.0 m height or a total of 6,300 cu.m at 6.00/cu.m37,800.00
c.Main canal dike, 980 linear meters, 5.0 m base, 2.0 m crown, and 1.8 m height, or a total of 6,174 cu.m. at 5.50/cu.m33,957.00
d.Secondary dike, 2,540 linear meters, 4.0 m base, 1.0 m crown & 1.5 m height or a total of 9,525 cu.m at 5.50 per cu.m52,387.50
e.Secondary canal dike, 400 linear meters, 4.0 m base, 1.5 m crown and 1.4 m height, or a total of 1,540 cu.m at 5.50 per cu.m8,470.00
f.Tertiary canal dike, 240 linear meters, 3.5 m base, 1.5 m crown and 1.2 m height or a total of 720 cu.m at 5.00 per cu.m3,600.00
g.Tertiary dike, 700 linear meters, 3.0 m base, 1.0 m crown and 1.0 m height or a total of 1,400 cu.m at 5.00 per cu.m7,000.00
3.Construction and installation of gates 
a.Main double opening concrete gate, 2 units at 20,000/unit including labor cost40,000.00
b.Construction and installation of 10 units secondary wooden gates at 3,000.00 per unit30,000.00
c.Construction and installation of 15 units tertiary wooden gates at 1,500/unit22,500.00
4.Excavation and levelling of pond bottoms (cut-and-fill) 
a.Nursery Pond, 1.5 ha at 2,000/hectare3,000.00
b.Transition Pond, 4.0 ha at 2,000/ha8,000.00
c.Formation Pond, 8.0 ha at 2,000/ha16,000.00
d.Rearing Pond, 32.0 ha at 2,000/ha64,000.00
5.Uprooting and removal of stumps at 600/ha30,000.00
6.For the construction of facilities 
a.Caretaker's Hut made of light materials, 2 units at 6,000/unit12,000.00
b.Bodega, made of light materials for inputs and equipment, 1 unit5,000.00
c.Chilling tank with shed, made of light materials3,000.00
7.For the purchase of equipment 
a.Nets for harvesting3,000.00
b.Digging blades and carpentry tools1,000.00
8.Contingencies (10% of cost)52,350.05
Sub-total 562,750.55
T O T A L 575,850.55


I.Cost of Materials
  QuantityUnit PriceAmount
1.Cement140 bags 24.00/bag 3,360.00
2.Sand10 cu.m.60.00/cu.m600.00
3.Gravel20 cu.m80.00/cu.m1,600.00
4.Boulders8 cu.m50.00/cu.m400.00
5.Reinforcement Bar
a) Æ ½ × 20'80 pcs22.00/pc1,760.00
b) Æ 3/8 × 20'35 pcs12.00/pc420.00
6.Plywood form
(¼ × 4' × 8")
49 pcs48.00/pc2,352.00
7.Lumber (S4S)
a) 2" × 2" × 12'30 pcs3.00/bd.ft360.00
b) 2" × 3" × 12'16 pcs3.00/bd.ft288.00
c) 1" × 2" × 12'10 pcs3.00/bd.ft60.00
d) 1" × 12" × 12'6 pcs3.00/bd.ft216.00
8.Assorted Nails10 kgs7.50/kg75.00
9.G.I. Wire #1620 kgs8.00/kg160.00
10.Bamboo Puno400 pcs4.00/pc1,600.00
Sub-total 13,251.00
II.Labor (40% of material cost)5,300.00
III.Contingencies (10% of material cost)1,325.00
T O T A L 19,876.00
say 20,000.00


I.Cost of Materials
  DescriptionQuantityUnit PriceAmount
1.Ply Board1"×10"×14'34 pcs. 3.00/bd.ft. 1,190.00
1"×10"×8'3 pcs.3.00/bd.ft.60.00
2.Slabs1"×12"×14'2 pcs.3.00/bd.ft.84.00
3.Pillars and  Braces2"×3"×10'4 pcs.3.00/bd.ft.60.00
2"×3"×8'7 pcs.3.00/bd.ft.84.00
2"×3"×14'2 pcs.3.00/bd.ft.42.00
3"×4"×10'12 pcs.3.00/bd.ft.360.00
4.Screen Frames2"×3"×16'2 pcs.3.00/bd.ft.48.00
1-½"×2"×7'1 pc.3.00/bd.ft.5.25
5.Groove1-½"×2"10'16 pcs.3.00/bd.ft.120.00
6.Nylon ScreenMesh size #1/168 sq.m.3.00/sq.m.24.00
7.Bamboo Screen3m long whole bamboo6 pcs.4.00/pc.24.00
8.NailsAssorted8 kg.7.50/kg60.00
9.Coaltar 2 cans60.00/can120.00
Sub-total 2,281.25
II.Labor (30% of material cost)684.37
T O T A L 2,965.62
say 3,000.00


I.Cost of Materials
  DescriptionQuantityUnit PriceAmount
1.Ply Board1"×12"×10'20 pcs. 3.00/bd.ft. 600.00
2.Slabs1"×12"×10'3 pcs.3.00/bd.ft.90.00
3.Pillars and Braces2"×3"×10'14 pcs.3.00/bd.ft.210.00
4.Grooves and Screen Frames1-½"×2"×8'18 pcs.3.00/bd.ft.108.00
5.NailsAssorted6 kg.7.50/kg.45.00
6.Coal tar 1 can60.00/can60.00
Sub-total 1,113.00
II.Labor (30% of material cost)333.90
T O T A L 1,446.90
say 1,500.00

NOTE: Costing based on 1979 retail price

5.2 Program of Work and Schedule of Development

A simple definition of project programming is listing construction activities in relation to manpower requirement versus the volume or piece of work required at a certain time of development. Project programming is undertaken to determine how and when a project will start and be completed with a given amount of work and labour force. It is done by determining the number of laborers that can finish a certain activity in a given period based on their daily output, or by determining the number of days a piece of work can be finished based on the available laborers in the area.

In the preparation of the programme and schedule of development, careful analysis and presence of mind is required because it will be the basis of implementation of the project. Evaluations and calculations must be carried out realistically so that a job is properly developed and economically done.

Assessment of the manpower is necessary in order to have an assurance of the required number of people even during the start of the construction. In most cases, laborers skilled in fishpond construction are not readily available at the site, and if available, the number is not sufficient for the requirement. If this happens, there is a need to import skilled laborers from the neighboring town or province. In the survey of manpower, points to be considered are as follows:

  1. Quantity of skilled laborers that can be hired in the area and vicinities.

  2. Work experience or duration of involvement in fishpond development.

  3. The time in which the laborers are available, either year-round or seasonal.

  4. Labor cost and condition of payment; and

  5. System of work practiced by the laborers.

Construction materials should be canvassed to determine their availability in the locality. It is important for the fishpond operator to know the source of the construction materials before the programme and schedule of development is made. In the assessment of the construction materials, the points below should be considered:

  1. Quality and quantity of the materials;
  2. Unit cost and mode of payment;
  3. Sources of construction materials and the system of delivery;
  4. Availability of materials, whether seasonal or year-round; and
  5. Status of the dealer.

5.2.1 Program of work

For the purpose of giving example, a proposed program of work covering September to December 1979 of the BFAR-FAO/UNDP Brackishwater Aquaculture Demonstration and Training Center, Lala, Lanao del Norte is presented below.

Proposed Program of Work For BFAR-FAO/UNDP Brackishwater Aquaculture Demonstration & Training Center Lala, Lanao del Norte (September to December 1979)
a.Construction of dikesdaily1201001. Digging blade
2. Flash board
3. Flat boat
b.Construction of canals
c.Excavation & leveling of pond bottom (cut & fill)
d.Removal of stumps
a.Construction of temporary dikeLabor contract401001. Mixing form
2. Shovel
3. Water drum
4. Boat
5. Bolo & hammer
6. Steel saw
7. Digging blade
8. Carpentry tools
9. Mason tools
b.Excavation of gate site
c.Piling of bamboo puno & boulders
d.Construction and installation of wooden forms
e.Preparation and installation of reinforcement bars
g.Removal of forms & temp. dikes
h.Construction of screens & slabs
a.Cutting of vegetationDaily1201001. Bolo and Ax
b.Removal of debris and logs2. Bamboo raft
a.Excavation of footingLabor contract or by administration201001. Mixing form
2. Shovel
3. Digging blade
4. Steel saw
5. Water drum
6. Hammer
7. Carpentry tools
8. Mason tools
9. Plumbing tools
b.Piling of bamboo puno on footing & tie beam
c.Construction and installation of wooden forms
d.Preparation and installation of reinforcement bars
f.Construction of the floor, walls, ceiling, roofing, etc.
g.Construction of doors and windows
a.Filing & CompactingBy administration20801. Digging
b.Piling of bamboo puno at the side2. Flat boat
a.Completion of the dike by side and top filing and filing & shaping   1. Crane
2. Dump truck
3. Flat boat
b.Surfacing with boulders, gravel & sand
7.WATER TANK AND PIPING SYSTEMLabor contract or by administration1050 

5.2.2 Schedule of development

For the purpose of determining the target dates of the proposed fishpond project, a schedule of construction activities, based on the accomplished program of work, is prepared. Presented below is an example of a schedule of development for a 20-hectare fishpond project:

Lincoln's Agri-Business Enterprises Schedule of Fishpond Development (March-February 1979)
1. Preparation of feasibility study XXXX                      
2. Acquisition for bank loan   XXXX XXXX XXXX                
3. Pre-location survey       XX                
4. Canvassing of materials & laborers       XX XX              
5. Construction of temporary shelter         XXXX              
6. Clearing of the area         XXXX XXX            
7. Establishment of markers         XX              
8. Construction of main dike         XX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX    
9. Construction of main gate             XXXX          
10. Construction of partition dikes             XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX
11. Construction of secondary gates                   XXXX XXXX  
12. Construction of tertiary gates                   XXXX    
13. Construction of supply canals               XXXX XXXX      
14. Pond excavation and leveling                 XXXX XXXX XXXX XXX
15. Construction of caretaker's hut and bodega           XXXX XXXX          
16. Others                       XXXX

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