Global coalition launches international construction cost comparison

A global coalition of more than 40 organisations in construction and infrastructure industries has launched its International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) to improve cost comparisons and predictions in major projects.

The coalition, formed in 2015, is represented in the UK by the Chartered Institute of Building, the Institute of Engineering Technology, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Royal Institute of British Architects. Initiated at meetings of the International Monetary Fund in 2015, the ICMS coalition was set up to produce a single common international method of construction cost measurement.

According to RICS, which is expecting to have its own global professional statement on cost prediction ready in 2019 based on ICMS, the international standard will allow governments and investors to calculate whether infrastructure projects present good value for money. Inconsistent information causes poor cost prediction, which impedes investment and can cause 9 out of 10 mega projects  to run over budget, RICS says.

Close to $78 trillion is the predicted amount that needs to be spent globally between 2014 and 2025 on infrastructure. The ICMS Coalition set out to de-risk projects for public and private sector investors. The World Economic Forum has also called for professional collaboration to standardise cost definitions and classification. Arup, Arcadis, Gardiner and Theobold, Faithful+Gould, Turner & Townsend and Gleeds are among leading companies that have announced a commitment to future use of the standard by registering as ICMS Partners.

The chair of the ICMS standards setting committee, See Lian Ong, of the International Federation of Surveyors, said: "We are delighted to launch this new standard. 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 ICMS 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."