I had a conversation with a friend who is a civil engineer the other day regarding (lack of) planning in software projects. I said that before the construction phase of a software development project, before developers sit down in front of a computer to actually write code, a serious and thorough planning phase should take place (requirements, design). Bad software development project end up doing construction twice or more (due to lack of planning). As an analogy I asked what would have happened if a skyscraper project would have carry out the construction phase twice, in a goal to show how bad, costly and not acceptable this is, just as (it should be) in software, or in any other field for that matter.
Although agreeing with me, he replied that software is "engineering without foundation" (as oppose to construction projects), that software construction costs are low/cheap relatively to "classic" engineering projects (meaning producing a "real" physical product, or in this case, a building), and that in software development there aren't many influenced factors, like in other fields, especially like in construction (regulations, environment, landscape to name a few).
This left me thinking:
1. What are the costs figures of a big software construction project? Any published large scale well known projects documentation I can get numbers from?
Edit: I'm mainly looking for information about total project costs of past software development processes, known projects/software preferred.