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News & opinion

1 NOV. 2019

Europe’s construction sector ready for 2020

The European commission is talking with key industry stakeholders to build on the Construction 2020 action plan designed some years ago to build a new vision for the future EU built environment, a vision for 2050. The aim is to implement a new strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises.

RICS' contribution to this vision will be crucial as the main focus of the EC action plan is to bring innovation to the sector, build up skills and qualification of professionals and ensure resource efficiency and circular economy.

In all of these areas, RICS has something to say and in particular when it comes to finding solutions to some of the challenges facing the construction industry. For this reason, the European Commission invited RICS to present this month in Brussels at a working group meeting on investing in affordable and sustainable built environment, in front of other key European industry leaders of the construction sector why the sector needs to look at standardising global life cycle costs to become more competitive.

ICMS, the solution to be more competitive

As Ken Creighton, Director, Professional Standards, representing RICS explained: “The world has changed and the construction industry is becoming more and more global, but the standards the industry uses are local. Today the construction and infrastructure sectors are about as international as you can get. Projects are funded and owned by foreign investors. Projects are delivered by international and multi-disciplinary teams. Investors, industry and business are leading the change. The shift to a globalised sector.

However, professionals in the industry must play a vital role in supporting and underpinning this trend, if we are to ensure sustainable and robust professional services in the construction sphere.

Collectively with 45 major professional and standard-setting bodies in this sector, from all around the world, we have been working to respond to this challenge since 2015 and now we are proud to launch the second edition of the International Construction Measurement Standard (ICMS).”

The standard will benefit any party that has a direct or indirect interest in construction projects; those investing in or managing construction projects; financial institutions and the public will benefit through enhanced, prudent assessments of public projects.

ICMS will allow capital cost comparisons to be made across building and civil engineering projects and it will:

  • adopt universal definitions of construction costs and the associated variables;
  • create a single classification system for building and civil engineering projects (works) for use with digital tools such as BIM;
  • recommend a consistent data framework for the collation of national statistics;
  • be as simple as possible, commensurate with allowing robust comparisons to be made;
  • articulate with local standards and the IPMS wherever possible;
  • recommend a standard reporting format;
  • allow global cost comparisons and benchmarking for global investors, corporate bodies and contractors;
  • provide a checklist for international best practice;
  • when combined with IPMS, consistent cost comparisons on a per m2 basis;
  • provide consistent language and terminologies for the worldwide, and increasingly mobile, profession; and
  • accommodate the need for continuous refinement, updating and change.

Demand for ICMS

Already now governments, major clients and international organisations, including the World Bank, IMF, G20 Infrastructure Hub, the World Economic Forum and the European Commission, demand ICMS.

The value of a European high quality built environment

The European Commission is fully supportive of ICMS and will provide the platform to promote this standard across Europe with the relevant stakeholders.

In the presentation on Construction 2020 and the New Vision for the EU Built Environment the EC recognised publicly the importance of standardised cost measurement in the built environment life cycle.

According to Ilektra Papadaki, Policy Officer in the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at the European Commission, “the contribution of a high-quality built environment is crucial to achieving a sustainable society, characterised by a high quality of life, cultural diversity, individual and collective well-being, social justice and cohesion, and economic efficiency; ICMS provides a roadmap for consistent, whole life costing in the built environment across the world. A whole life-cycle approach is how we get the best out of our built environment.”