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News & opinion

19 NOV 2020

New cost prediction standard instils consistency in construction markets

RICS has launched a new global professional statement to support professionals working in cost management and give clients confidence that RICS professionals are working to consistent and high standards of professionalism for construction projects.

The standard follows an extensive consultation which considered views and expertise from over 100 quantity surveyors, contractors’ estimators, clients, and other interested bodies, on how to cut through existing market complexities and define best-practice for the cost prediction process.

RICS professionals will now be able to work from one set of consolidated guidance which implements international construction measurement standards (ICMS) − the globally standardised way of cost reporting for portfolios, programs and projects around the world.

They will benefit from a clear practical framework to deliver cost reports and benchmark with ICMS to provide timely, realistic advice and compare projects like for like across borders to help clients make better informed investment decisions.

Supporting consistent cost prediction

Alan Muse FRICS, Director of Built Environment at RICS explained:

“Improving predictability in construction is key. As economies look to ‘build back better’ following the COVID-19 pandemic, themes of digitisation, industrialisation, safety and sustainability resonate, but the risky and uncertain nature of construction projects permeates all solutions.

Predictability impacts many aspects of projects including time, quality, performance and, of course, cost. Improving cost prediction, in particular, will have many benefits including the attraction of private sector investment, better public accountability, less disputes and more certain decisions.

Effective cost prediction relies on combining a clear definition of the project scope, with the right skills and the right data, within the right system. We are enhancing professionalism by providing a common language to aid consistency and transparency in and across markets, and ensuring professionals have the skills and competencies to tackle ever more complex projects.

As different markets and construction sectors undertake cost prediction in different ways, this new standard brings together key principles from various approaches to connect national and international reporting formats and data sources.

Clients will have confidence in the value of RICS professionals working on their projects, particularly as investors increasingly require cost prediction to cover life-cycle costs, including maintenance and sustainability."

Alan Muse
Alan Muse

For professionals working in areas where the role of cost management professionals is less established, or where supply chains are less experienced, the statement sets out consistent terminology and approaches and processes for cost prediction.

To embed ICMS, the professional statement maps standards at a national level - such as the new rules of measurement (NRM) for building works in the UK, and internationally recognised design and asset classifications such as Uniclass and Uniformat - to facilitate its use in practice at a granular measurement level.

As rapidly developing technologies continually offer new potential, it also provides key considerations for the acquisition and curation of project data to help professionals to prepare and use data in the most effective way, such as integration with building information models (BIM).

Alan added: “The key principles of this professional statement may serve as a useful guide to firms on how you can support the professional development of your teams to best serve your clients.”

The standard becomes mandatory for RICS professionals and RICS-regulated firms on 1 July 2021.