Building Magazine


New construction measurement standards tout cost projection breakthrough

In late July, a new system that strives to enable global comparison of construction project costs came online — harmonizing cost, classification and benchmarking definitions to enhance comparability and consistency of capital projects. Attempting to tackle longstanding inconsistencies and inaccuracies in cost analysis, a group of companies first formed the International  Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) Coalition during a meeting at the International Monetary Fund in June 2015 — with the ICMS system now released.

The new ICMS model is designed to enable more accurate cost comparison, with the ultimate goal of improving investor confidence and attracting private sector funding. Aiming to provide consistent methodologies and standards — supported by a wealth of international and regional data — the framework is buit to aggregate relevant international data to provide a broad but targeted basis of comparison.  Under the status quo, varied approaches to presenting construction costs can lead to inconsistent methodology which causes significant variations in cost comparison.

A visual overview of the ICMS system, image via ICMSC

A visual overview of the ICMS system, image via ICMSC

See Lian Ong, Chair of the ICMS Standards Setting Committee and Chair of Commission 10 (Construction Economics and Management) the International Federation of Surveyors, explains: “With increasing levels of public private, cross-border financing and construction investment funds underpinning our pension schemes, it is vital to make sure costs can be assessed in a transparent way. The framework will improve ways of working and this collaborative project is an example of the global construction profession uniting to improve ways of working for the public interest.”

Financing needed buildings and infrastructure including energy systems, railways, bridges, schools and hospitals entails significant risk because infrastructure projects across the globe categorize and forecast the construction costs differently. By taking these variables into account, the new standard attempts to provide a more accurate projection of costs.

Arup, Arcadis, Gardiner and Theobald, Faithful+Gould, Turner & Townsend and Gleeds are among leading organizations who have publicly announce their support for ICMS by registering as ICMS “Partners,” and committing to its future use.

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