Selecting benchmark building prices

The BCIS average prices section provides a statistical analysis of the costs of projects, which can be used to provide a budget for a project. The costs can be adjusted for location and date.

Care should be taken in selecting an appropriate figure; the factors to consider are:

  • The likely design and specification expectations of the client – are they typical for the type of building or are they likely to be more or less complex?
  • The current market in the locality – is the existence of other large projects likely to influence the demand and supply of labour and materials?
  • The constraints of the site – will the physical characteristics of a particular site, its size, accessibility and topography influence the design or ease of construction.
  • Any anticipated difference between the main contractor's preliminaries, overheads and profit for the current scheme compared with an average scheme.

The statistics presented for a building type may include mean, median, upper and lower quartiles, deciles and overall range. A scatter diagram and histogram can also be found where the sample is at least 10.

While an average figure is provided by the mean or median, it will usually be more appropriate to pick a cost from within the range, to reflect the project’s likely position within the distribution of costs for a building type, by considering the factors listed above.

A video showing how to use the BCIS average prices section is also available.

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