Cost engineering is an essential part of the planning, design and construction phases of a project, and is aimed at extracting the best possible value for money from all activities with cost implications. In keeping with this philosophy, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs published the first edition of the Cost Reference Manual in 1978, to deal with the planning phase. The manual continues to be improved from year to year based on input from departmental specialists, cost experts and users across Canada. This unique tool enables the user to develop preliminary cost estimates for remote and difficult construction environments typically encountered on First Nations communities and in Northern areas. Commercially available publications of this nature are not specifically adapted to these particular circumstances.