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INTERNATIONAL CONSTRUCTION MEASUREMENT STANDARD (ICMS)

BACKGROUND
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 allows:

 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 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 FRAMEWORK

Level 1: Projects or Sub- Level 2: Cost Level 3: Cost Level 4: Cost Sub-
Projects Categories Groups Groups
(Discretionary)

Buildings

Roads and
Cost Sub-Group
motorways
Cost Group
Capital
Construction
Railways Costs Cost Sub-Group
Cost Group

Bridges Cost Sub-Group


Cost Group
Associated
Capital Costs
Tunnels Cost Sub-Group
Cost Group

Waste water
treatment
works

Water Total Capital Cost


treatment
works

Pipelines
Provision for costs-
in-use to be added
at a later date
Well drilling

Power-
generating
plants

Chemical
plants

Refineries

Provision for
further types of
Project to be
added at a later
date
CONSULTATION PROCESS
The second public draft of the Standard was issued for consultation on 13 March, and can be
accessed at:

https://icms-coalition.org/consultation/

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.

Malcolm Horner
15 March 2017

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