Recycle cost data to save on future projects


The construction industry generates a wealth of valuable cost data on projects, but most of it is not systematically captured for re-use on future projects

This is the conclusion of an Insight Paper published by the RICS, Sharing construction data – Benefits, challenges and opportunities.

The paper is the result of three roundtable discussions attended by clients, contractors and consultants. Some of the key points raised by the discussions included:

  • The benefits of sharing data seem to be well recognised by clients, consultants and, to a lesser extent, contractors. The willingness to share appears to be proportional to the perceived benefits.
  • How can clients and their supply chains be incentivised to collect data that is comprehensive, and robust?
  • Most of the cost data is produced as part of the commercial transaction process: budget setting, approvals, tendering, negotiating, interim and final payments, etc.
  • Can clients who are the ultimate beneficiaries of data sharing, write into their specifications the data they require to be collected and reported as part of the commercial transactions.
  • For buildings a standard form of reporting project cost data (SFCA)* is established and widely used, however no such standards have been adopted for civil engineering structures.
  • The International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS)** produced by the International Construction Measurement Standards Coalition, provide a high-level standard for most project types. Is this the appropriate vehicle through which to standardise the process of cost collection and analysis?
  • Should RICS take the lead in setting up, managing, quality assuring and analysing a data repository? If so, how should it be funded?
  • Clients and contractors use the data in different ways and for different purposes. How can these differences in use be reconciled?

Note: BCIS online is an industry repository for building project costs analysed elementally. It provides clients, consultants and contractors secure online access to their project data. The analyses can be prepared from contract documents used in most procurement routes for example:

Procurement route Required Needed Optional
Design and Build Contract Sum Analysis Employers’ Requirements or Contractors’ Proposals Drawings
Specification and Drawings Contract Sum Analysis Specification Drawings
Traditional BQ Drawings
Target Cost Target Cost Breakdown Specification Drawings
All projects require the gross internal floor area, location and date on which the costs are based if not included in the supplied documents.


If you are interested in having access to all your project data online, contact the Data Delivery Team on 020 7695 1700 or by email.

* Elemental Standard Form of Cost Analysis – Principles, Instructions Elements and Definitions, 4th (NRM) Edition.

** The International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS): Global Consistency in Presenting Construction Costs, International Construction Measurement Standards Coalition, 1st edition, July 2017.


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