This paper examines the preliminary cost estimate procedure followed in planning the reconstruction of the city of L’Aquila and of 56 other towns in the Abruzzo region damaged by the 2009 earthquake. As with past catastrophic events, the Italian Government has assumed full responsibility for funding repair/reconstruction of both private and public properties. A highly articulated legislative cost estimation system - developed on behalf of the national authorities in the wake of the earthquake that caused over three hundred victims - was implemented to coordinate the distribution of funding among the different municipalities and private subjects affected by the earthquake. The paper shows how the automatism of this procedure may have produced a distortion in cost estimates when compared to the costs actually needed for reconstruction. An alternate cost estimation model is proposed based on multiple linear regression analysis that uses bills of quantities from reconstruction projects funded immediately following the quake (and is based on actual structural designs rather than emergency damage assessment data). The objective of the proposed model is to achieve a more realistic reconstruction cost estimate framework, while respecting the need for a quick and rational procedure that requires no additional information beyond the post-earthquake expert survey reports available only weeks after the earthquake.
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