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International Construction Measurement Standards by Kevin O’Grady, MACostE, Associate Director, Airport Development, ARUP
he way in which the costs of infrastructure projects are presented and benchmarked varies from one region to the next. To align global markets the International Construction Measurement Standards Coalition (ICMSC) was launched in Washington D.C. in 2015. The ICMS Coalition includes ACostE and more than 46 professional not-for-profit organizations from around the world, working together to develop and implement international standards for benchmarking, measuring and report-ing construction project cost. The International Construction Measurement Rules (ICMS) has completed the second stage of consultation, and the final version was published on 24 July 2017. ICMS can be used to compare historic, present and estimated future costs of new and retrofit/refurbishment projects, and facilitate the following: G global investment decisions G international, national, regional or state cost comparisons G feasibility studies G development appraisals G project work including cost planning and control, cost analysis, cost modelling and the procurement and analysis of tenders G reinstatement costs for the purpose of insurance G valuation of assets and liabilities.
It is important to note that ICMS will not replace existing measurement guidelines, such as: New Rules of Measurement (NRM) or Civil Engineer Standard Method of Measurement (CESMM) or bespoke client cost breakdown structures. Instead, it’s a new standard for presenting and reporting infrastructure project costs to
clients, stakeholders and investors at all project stages. The ICMS defines what is required, and how we at ARUP approached the adoption of ICMS can be summarised in four similar, plan of work stages: Identification, Communicate, Monitor, Success. I = IDENTIFICATION Identify the need; our aim is to have a consistent way to define, classify, analyse and report construction costs at project, category, regional and international level. In doing so, we looked to enhance the quality and comparability of data that will be required to provide sound value management and robust decision-making – maximising on the cost benefits from international integration. The drive for standards and efficiencies in construction has meant that embedding the digital information in building models has been mandated in many parts of the world to improve the data flow between project stages from inception, feasibility, design, construction, handover and operation. Using a common standard is key to that data flow, and embedding construction assets in the model enables facilities and asset management to access this information and drive operational efficiencies. Moving from an Excelbased estimation to a secure, centralised, digital environment, our data needed to have a common standard to enable global benchmarking and data sharing; so the timing of the ICMS launch was perfect, aligning with our search for a common structure that has been ratified by professionals in all markets. Once we had captured the need, we set out the Strategic Plan to build our Commercial ICMS Digital Vision and
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identify the available platforms that will integrate with our existing systems. To understand more about the standards, we collaborated with professional bodies in different regions; for example, in ARUP were speakers at the ICMS panel discussion at RICS headquarters in February 2017, and our cost engineering and management leaders worked with AACE International and RICS (US) at events in San Francisco. However, we understand it will take time for common standards to emerge alongside well entrenched, localised, divergent standards. We believe that it is the right thing to do in a construction sector, which is increasingly interconnected and global. In certain regions adoption will be hard as standard methods of measurement are not extensively used. C = COMMUNICATE Having defined the need and urgency, the next step was communication; in order to achieve our goals we had to focus on people, policies and process. G People – in order for the uptake to be successful we had to find what standards are being used in each region and if the ICMS aligned with these markets. As in any organization, communication is important to build strong foundations to enable change. Through global consultation with our cost centres we proposed the ICMS standardisation in data collection, and requested feedback and support. G Policies – digital systems work best when all those involved in a project can share information freely and collaborate. Due to contract clauses of confidentiality, liability and litigation, this can sometimes restrict collaboration.
G Process – too many processes create useless and wasted data across the life cycle of projects, and there are always better and more effective ways of doing things. By taking the time to set up a common framework we can then produce a consistent, efficient and collaborative foundation. Key to our communication was what to expect from the four levels within ICMS: G Level 1: Project categories – These categories describe the essence and principal purpose of the project, i.e., stage, date, currency, function, area, location, programme, procurement method, design life, etc. G Level 2: Cost categories – Capital construction costs, total costs for each of the elemental packages as defined in Level 3 and associated capital costs, the total project. Soft costs extracted again from Level 3. G Level 3: Cost groups – Shows the traditional elemental split of packages of works. Capital construction costs within Level 3 including elemental headings similar to the old BCIS cost plan format, such as demolition, substructure, superstructure external works, etc. It also includes associated capital costs such as land acquisition, post-completion furniture, administration, legal, marketing, consultant fees, risks, etc. G Level 4: Cost subgroups – The subelements quantities and estimating for the packages, this standard does not mandate the classification of the cost subgroups, but the following appendices provide recommended best practices: • Appendix A: Level 4 Cost Subgroups: Buildings • Appendix B: Level 4 Cost Subgroups: Civil Engineering, and • Appendix C: Level 4 Cost Subgroups: Associated Capital Costs. This standard allows users to adopt a classification based on trades, work breakdown structure or work results according to their local practices. Therefore, Level 4 supporting information is the measurement and estmating methodology selected on best fit such
Figure 1: Translation of ICMS for aviation projects as NRM, RRM, CESSM, POMI*, etc. An example of how project categories could be translated for an aviation project at Level 1 is detailed in Figure 1 above. Each project category needs to be reported separately before summing up to show the total project cost (if the cost of a project category is not significant, it may be included under a more costsignificant project category). As part of the integration with the digital estimation we needed to ensure that we would be ready for the July 2017 rollout; therefore, in conjunction with the ICMSC and the digital software providers, we received an early draft of the ICMS for our teams to trial. An airport estimate was set up in an ICMS structure that had multiple project categories as a test that the data can be benchmarked by system and type as well as by project. As the estimate information is built on a database, extraction of categories is much easier than in Excel. As a way of guidance, Appendix D of the ICMS provides process flow charts for step-by-step project category allocation. Further communication with our global clients will be required follow*RICS are looking to withdraw Principles of Measurement International (POMI) rules of measurement (widely used in the Middle East region) at some point this year, and replacement is uncertain at present.
ing ICMS launch to inform, consult and adapt to project-specific requirements clients may have. M = MONITOR The response from our cost centres offered full support and enabled us to progress to the implementation phase. We are currently planning our next steps post-July 2017 to monitor ICMS uptake and obtain feedback for our clients. RICS plans to amend the New Rules of Measurement (NRM) at some point in 2017; we will need to monitor and work with the RICS to understand how to accommodate these changes. During the adoption of standards and centralised data storage, we will constantly monitor the security of our client information in the light of recent cyber-attacks and in conjunction with PAS 1192:2 & 3. ARUP’s Resilience, Security and Risk teams have come together to act as the Built Asset Security Manager for an executive agency of a UK ministerial department as it rationalises and relocates a number of its sensitive built assets. This is believed to be the first government agency in the UK to implement PAS 1192-5, the national standard setting out the security of Building Information Modelling (BIM) information, since its publication in 2015. We are providing an assessment of security issues and threats associated with the use of digital built environments, and
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not the wish to expand, but the quest for quality, which has brought us to deliver ‘Total Architecture’. ARUP will certainly benefit from the structure of data collection in ICMS.
However, success can only be obtained by the adoption of the standard by industry, governments and academia. Therefore, early conversations with all ARUP clients and other stakeholders will
help to raise awareness of the standard and develop more market feedback and data collection. Only by embedding ICMS across all sectors and all geographies will this success be achieved G
Your route to professional status via ACostE Figure 2: Example of the ICMS within an estimate developing framework and guidance documentation to support the use of BIM on the project whilst protecting sensitive data. Part 5 of PAS1192 has relevance, not only for government projects, but should also be a consideration for any project adjacent to their sites along with commercial developments where the BIM contains sensitive information about form of vulnerability or business critical systems. In addition, business continuity and security mitigation measures should attract protection within BIM as a matter of good practice, regardless of the project’s status, and PAS1192-5 provides a framework that can be applied in any context. As the measurement guidelines and definitions vary considerably between countries, linking ICMS with International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS) provides a valuable tool for overcoming these inconsistencies. ICMS requires a cost report to include both GEFA (IPMS 1) and GIFA (IPMS
2) measured in accordance with the rules set out in IPMS. IPMS are evolving on a building-sector basis (offices, residential, retail and the like) and, although IPMS 1 will be consistent for all building types, IPMS 2 will therefore vary between different building types. These rules are summarised below, but reference to the specific standard, for the particular building type, is recommended. With ICMS and IPMS we look to address fundamental issues such as building measurement variances: G New Zealand – fully enclosed covered areas G UK and Middle East – gross internal floor area G USA – gross floor area G Africa – gross construction area. S = SUCCESS Construction is an international business, and with global construction output likely to surge by 70% to US
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$15tn by 2025 (according to Global Construction 2025 report) with 60% of the surge in China, India and the US, these globally accepted standards are even more critical to permit transparency and true comparison of costs and efficiencies, and thus provide true competitive markets. As technology develops, and particularly BIM, standard international classifications will become more important in multidisciplinary practices, since this will enable more interactive and agile design and cost decisions to be taken, leading to better optimisation of buildings and assets with less process waste. ARUP’s vision of ‘Total Architecture’ encompasses every aspect of the built environment and ICMS is truly aligned with our global outlook and drive for collaboration and transparency: the term ‘Total Architecture’ requires that all relevant design decisions are considered together and are integrated into a whole by a well-organized team. It is Project Control Professional September 2017 15