Benchmarking infrastructure costs

Collecting, analysing, modelling and interpreting cost data allows industry to make better informed decisions regarding projects and assets, and identify areas for improvement.

Abstract building

In order to compare costs it is important that they are analysed in a consistent format. While individual infrastructure clients have developed standard data analysis systems there is no accepted standard data collection system within or between sectors.

A discussion paper, Benchmarking infrastructure costs has been published on RICS isurv that examines the state of data collection in the infrastructure sectors.

It looks at data collection, explaining why it is collected and who collects it. It also includes provision for cost classification relating to how project information is structured, with an example hierarchy providing five progressively more detailed levels (see below). This serves to provide an idea of typical levels of detail associated with a project.

Data is collected with differing levels of richness throughout infrastructure and there is no one sector where a uniform data collection system is in use. With cross sector benchmarking being undertaken, it is important that comparable information is collected and imperative that rules and definitions are clear, to ensure transparency and facilitate like-for-like comparisons.

Data is collected and used by:

  • regulators
  • consultants and
  • contractors.

The paper mainly concerns data at the project level, e.g. cost per equated track length of a railway, but the principles apply equally to collecting and comparing costs at the unit rate level, e.g. cost per m3 of concrete.

The paper describes some proposed industry wide initiatives including the International Construction Measurement Standard (ICMS)

Hierarchy of costs

Click on the file to show the original file.

For further details of the paper or to discuss data issues, contact the author Aaron Wright

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