Chapter 3New Approaches and Rulesof Measurement for Cost Estimating and Planning

Barry Symonds, Peter Barnes and Herbert Robinson

3.1 Introduction

In the UK, cost estimating and cost planning, have for the past 50 years been used by Quantity Surveyors and Cost Consultants to convey to the building client, the predicted cost of a project. The basis of the preparation of these estimates and cost plans originates from a system of ‘elemental cost planning’ (Seeley, 1972) and owes its origins from the construction economist pioneers who created the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which provided the first rules for the measurement of the elements of a building. The rules were largely created, to enable historic cost data from Bills of Quantities to be archived in a standard format, to allow the UK surveyors, architects and engineers, to not only access the information, but use it to ‘model’ the costs of future projects. Remarkably the cost data was freely provided by members of the RICS, to allow fellow members to access what had hitherto been only available to an individual practice. The development of cost analyses and cost planning has been extensively documented in textbooks (e.g. Ferry et al., 1999) together with many published conference papers and guidance rules, on cost planning methods.

However, in reality, whilst the cost consultant might have adopted ‘elemental format’, and accessed cost information from the ...

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