International construction cost comparisons

Rick Best*, Jim Meikle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contributionResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Comparisons of the cost of construction across national boundaries have been routinely undertaken for many years for a variety of purposes. For clients, the reason may be as simple as wanting to know how much it will cost them in their own national currency to build a facility in another country; for governments and other agencies, it may be about how competitive their industry is in a global marketplace. For example, in 1949, a UK group, the Building Industry Productivity Team, visited the US (Anglo-American Council on Productivity 1950). A primary purpose of the visit was to compare the cost of construction in the two countries, which they did by comparing the cost of buildings of similar size used for similar purposes. The group concluded that US costs were in the order of 55 to 80% higher than comparable UK costs but noted that differences in design and specification of buildings varied considerably between the two countries. Costs were collected in the respective national currencies and then compared using the exchange rate current at the time of the group’s visit to the US, GBP1 = USD4. A year later, that rate had changed considerably to GBP1 = USD2.80 – had this rate been used, US costs would have appeared to be more like 120 to 160% higher than UK costs. That there would be so much change in relative construction costs in such a short time is extremely unlikely.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMeasuring Construction: Prices, Output and Productivity
EditorsR Best, J Meikle
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781134687282
ISBN (Print)9780415659376
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2015


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