ICMS aims to provide global consistency in classifying, defining, measuring, analysing and presenting entire construction costs at a project, regional, state, national or international level.
A non-governmental, not-for-profit, professional Coalition led by RICS has come together to create a shared standard. Its 44 members have confirmed their commitment to encourage world markets to accept and adopt ICMS as the primary standard for presenting construction costs across different nations in a consistent way.
The Coalition formed a Standard Setting Committee served by technical experts from 16 countries and a combined expertise covering 47 different markets to draft the Standard. The resulting International Construction Measurement Standard is a cost classification system that will;
- construction costs to be consistently and transparently benchmarked;
- the causes of differences in costs between projects to be identified;
- properly informed decisions on the design and location of construction projects to be made; and
- data to be used with confidence for construction project financing and investment, programme and project decision-making, and related purposes.
The ICMS Standard
The Standard currently encompasses 13 project categories, each identifying a different type of construction project, and a template against which costs can be recorded, analysed and reported. Twelve of the 13 categories are civil engineering works.
The Standard offers a hierarchical framework of four levels against which costs can be classified, measured, recorded, analysed and presented:
- Level 1: Project or Sub-Project
- Level 2: Cost Category
- Level 3: Cost Group
- Level 4: Cost Sub-Group
The composition of Levels 2 and 3 is the same for all Projects and Sub-Projects, although discretion is allowed in the contents of Level 4. Examples of the contents of Level 4 are given in the Appendices.
The Standard provides definitions, scope, attributes and values, units of measurement and explanatory notes for each type of Project. It provides guidance on:
- how the Standard is to be used;
- the level of detail to be included;
- the method of dealing with Projects comprising different Sub-Projects; and
- the approach to be taken to ensure that like is compared with like, especially taking into account different currencies and time frames.
Whilst at present, the Standard deals only with capital costs, it is intended eventually to embrace Whole Life Costs, and to extend the number of Civil Engineering Project Categories covered.
ICMS Consultation Process
The second public draft of the Standard was issued for consultation on 13 March, and can be accessed at:
It is important that the final document incorporates the views of as wide an audience as possible if it is to command international credibility. All members are therefore encouraged to access the document and provide feedback.
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