Sources of International Cost Data

Keynote Address Presented at the NORDNET '97 Conference
"Quality in Project Management"
Reykjavik, Iceland, 11 September 1997
(with partial updates through September 2005)


Dr. Kenneth K. Humphreys, PE CCE
International Cost Engineering Council
1168 Hidden Lake Drive
Granite Falls, NC 28630, USA

This paper was originally presented at the Fourteenth International Cost Engineering Congress, Guadalajara, Mexico, February, 1996. It received the Jan M. Korevaar Outstanding Paper Award from the International Cost Engineering Council. The paper was updated and expanded for presentation at the 1997 NORDNET Conference. The paper includes a list of member societies of the International Cost Engineering Council and of the International Project Management Association.


Industrial firms are increasingly multinational, and many companies now build and operate plants in several nations. Economic cooperation agreements between nations, such as the European Economic Community (EEC), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) are encouraging further industrial globalization.

It is therefore becoming increasingly important for project control professionals to be familiar with techniques for estimating costs in other countries and to be able to compare costs in different nations. The questions that are always being asked are: "What will this plant cost in the U.S.?" "What about Australia, Germany, Norway, and Mexico?" and "Which location is the most attractive financially?"

A good estimator or cost engineer can readily develop the estimate for a plant in the home country, but such is not always the case for other nations. While cost engineers, quantity surveyors, and project managers are generally very familiar with major sources of cost data in their own country, they are often unaware of useful sources of cost data and related information in other countries. This problem is exacerbated by lack of time to perform a proper search, publications in various languages, and lack of information about key factors that can impact the estimate for particular geographic locations.

The following discussion is far from complete but should provide some insight into the availability of international cost data and location factors. Included are:


The information sources described in this paper are primarily periodical publications of various types. Published information must always be used with care. Every location factor or commonly available cost index has its own underlying method of construction, with its particular inherent components and weightings. It is vital for the estimator using such quick-estimate data to understand how it was created, and to recognize just what its limitations and applications are. Published data also is often inadequately explained and is frequently improperly dated. Date of publication is meaningless because the data may be months or years old and may require adjustment to current cost levels. Equipment cost data may or may not include ancillaries and/or transportation and installation costs, etc. Too often it seems that in the rush to complete the assignment, people will grasp any number they can find without fully understanding how it was derived, or what it represents.

With location factors, one must recognize that they generally reflect only the relative cost to replicate a facility exactly in another location. The factors do not consider cost effects which are introduced by site- unique conditions such as climate, earthquake and geological considerations, etc. If the design is not identical in both locations, the cost differences are not generally accounted for if location factors alone are used.


It is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss the many complex problems that must be recognized in preparing estimates for international projects. Nevertheless, due to their importance, some mention of the available background literature is appropriate.

In order for a proper estimate to be made of a particular international project, it is vital to understand the conditions existing in the country or countries where a project is to be located. In a 1978 paper presented at the Fifth International Cost Engineering Congress, Utrecht, Netherlands, C.G. Walker(1) outlined the major economic system parameters to be evaluated as follows:

Political Finance Legal System Social System Geography Industry Many other authors(2-10) have discussed site- or country-specific factors that can impact the cost, schedule, and/or price for an international project. These include: local material quality/availability, labor availability, equipment availability, labor productivity, import duties, import licenses, local taxes, language, length of workweek, holidays, inflation, fluctuating exchange rates, religious customs, buy-local laws, shipping cycles, weather/climatic impacts, workforce level of education, logistics, workforce housing, and many other relevant factors. Regional variations of these factors within a country must also be expected, and remoteness/distance from major cities or supply centers can often aggravate the above problems even further.

A. Patrascu(11-13) has proposed pre-estimate survey checklists to help identify background concerns for foreign construction projects. These checklists delineate a large number of factors which must be considered, including those described by Walker(1).

For offshore projects, an excellent detailed checklist(14) is available from the Association of Cost Engineers (ACE), Lea House, 5 Middlewich Road, Sandbach, Cheshire CW11 9XL, United Kingdom. Based on North Sea oil field construction experience, this publication provides a very detailed breakdown for offshore work.

Many other practical references (eg, 15-27) are useful in preparation for estimating international projects. However, background literature such as the publications mentioned here cannot replace pre- estimate site visits, proper contract development, and talking with others who have experience estimating work in the particular country or countries of interest. Review of appropriate literature, however, can help to ensure that all important factors for the project have been considered in developing the estimate.

To this point, this paper has described the extreme complexity involved in costing out-of-country projects. The references mentioned, while far from being a complete list, should nevertheless make the cost engineer aware of most of the potentially important considerations which are unique to international work.


When little time is available or warranted to perform the type of background studies suggested above, and detailed design and engineering has not been completed, estimators must turn to published indexes, location factors, or other sources of relevant data for help.

A location factor is an instantaneous, overall, total cost factor for converting a base project cost from one geographic location to another. This factor recognizes differences in productivity and costs for labor, engineered equipment, bulk materials, commodities, freight, duty, taxes, indirects and project administration. The cost of land, scope/design differences for local regulations and codes and differences in operating philosophies are not included in the location factor.

With the current rush of industries attempting to globalize, use of location factors has become increasingly important. Location factors should be used to factor a base estimate for comparing costs at differing locations and not for the funding estimate for the selected location. After selection, a higher quality estimate should be developed for project funding.

Many countries do not have the capability to manufacture certain specialized equipment and routinely import this material. So the degree of local vs import and the relative cost differences need to be part of the location factor calculation. Many companies use U.S. costs and apply percentages for freight, import duties and customs and broker fees.

Two other issues that should be considered are: These items can greatly affect the material and equipment costs for an actual project. The location factor needs to reflect the above considerations and expected or known strategies with the factors being adjusted accordingly.

Local monetary rates, productivity differentials and benefits and burdens vary enormously by individual country. Governmental employment regulations, rules for foreign workers, travel and support costs, and religious and cultural differences must be carefully evaluated. All can impact a location cost factor program. Table 1 shows some details and location cost factors for a range of countries(78).

Table 2 contains a series of worldwide area productivity factors(78). As indicated, the basic elements are weather, culture and work ethic, trade skills, and numerous other factors. The factors are conceptual numbers and considerable judgement is required for their proper application.

In addition to the factors described above, Table 3 provides a listing of international data sources.The references in Table 3 are examples of multicountry data sources. For conceptual studies these may be useful, depending on what countries are of interest. Other references (eg, 6, 35, and 36) may also be of help. Various reports by banks, governments, trade associations, etc also exist if one is willing to search for them. An example is a report(37) that compares building costs in a number of countries to those in Malaysia. This special report was issued by a government task force and provides a handy reference for those comparing building costs in Pacific Rim countries.

Massa(3,4) has developed international cost location factors based upon a weighting of 33.05 percent for a labor factor, 53.45 percent for an equipment and civil material factor, and 13.50 percent for an indirect and home office cost factor. He presents a detailed form for calculating these three factors and the composite factor for any given country referenced to U.S. Gulf Coast costs. Massa has also provided labor factors for many countries. His factors are presented in Table 4 along with a list of country location factors previously reported by Bridgewater(5, 38). The Bridgewater factors are for complete chemical plants and are referenced to both the United Kingdom and the United States. (Note: The Bridgewater factors were developed in the late 1970's and reflect currency exchange rates, taxes and duties prevailing at that time. They should not be used without adjustment for changes which have occurred since the factors were developed.)

In addition to these sources, another excellent source of location factor information is the AACE Cost Estimating Committee. This committee maintains a listing of industry contacts who are willing to share location factors and foreign cost estimating data. The contact list includes representatives of many multi-national firms. The committee may be contacted via AACE International at 209 Prairie Ave., Morgantown, WV 26505; Phone (800) 858-2678 in the US or (304) 296-8444 (other countries); Fax (304) 291-5728 or through the committee chairman, Mr. Bernard A. Pietlock, DuPont Engineering, Barley Mill Plaza, Routes 141 & 48, Building 21/2122, Wilmington, DE 19805, USA; Phone (302) 892-5633; Fax (302) 892-5669; E- mail: Bernard.A.Pietlock@USA.DuPont.Com.


Cost indexes are valuable proven tools for adjusting costs for changes over time and, in combination with appropriate location factors, can facilitate development of conceptual estimates. The AACE Cost Engineers' Notebook(39) describes 28 indexes and index sources for U.S. and Canadian costs and 27 indexes and index sources for many other countries, including Australia, Brazil, England, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Germany. A description of each index or index source is given in Table 5.


Various compilers and publishers maintain databases of costs which form the basis for their various cost publications. A few of these are listed in Table 6. Of these, the Dutch Association of Cost Engineers Pricebook(61) is particularly valuable as a source of information for European process plant costs. The book reports actual installed project costs as reported by nearly 200 Dutch companies. Athough the book is published in Dutch, an English glossary of terms makes it very easy to use by those who do not read the Dutch language.

The R. S. Means Company(33) publishes numerous cost books for the US and Canada and distributes many for other countries in cooperation with other publishers. Notable are a Russian version of Means' well known Building Construction Cost Data and an English language newsletter Construction Market Intelligence Russia which are prepared in cooperation with Co-Invest(79), a Russian firm. Means also distributes Costos(80), a guide to Mexican building costs and Square Meter Construction Costs in Mexico(81) in cooperation with BIMSA; Construction Investment Guide for Vietnam in cooperation with Rawlinsons(82); and Construction and Development in Vietnam in cooperation with Davis Langdon and Seah, International(83).

Beyond these, an invaluable source of information and costs are the various cost engineering and project management societies throughout the world. Their members and employing firms are the most valuable network of international cost information that exists anywhere.

At the time of this writing, the member societies of the International Cost Engineering Council (ICEC) represented, either directly or through their branches and chapters, over 40 countries. These societies have individual members in well over 100 countries, thus being an extensive worldwide network of information sources. The International Project Management Association (IPMA) similarly has about 29 member societies representing many nations. A list of the members of ICEC and IPMA is given in Table 7. Many of these societies do not have permanent headquarters offices. A complete list of all ICEC and IPMA members with contact addresses including e-mail and Internet homepage links is available at all times on the Internet homepages of ICEC,, and IPMA, Alternately, ICEC or IPMA may be contacted directly to obtain current address information for any of their member societies.


The best summary for this discussion is from John R. Barry's paper, "Ten Commandments of International Cost Engineering," presented at the 1993 Annual Meeting of AACE International(25):

The reliability of available data is usually suspect, so test, test, and retest it. Communication problems are difficult across cultures, and sometimes language differences can cause misunderstandings when soliciting data. The use of international factors is a session all its own. A few basic principles for guidance include keeping in mind that a time or place factor means nothing without an exchange rate and date and that a base city must be identifiable, since variation can exist within your home country.

The paper concluded with Barry's "Ten Commandments for Worldwide Cost Engineering," which have appeared in several of his articles over the years. They are a fitting conclusion to this paper as well.

John Barry's Ten Commandments for Worldwide Cost Engineering


1. Walker, C.G., "Estimating Construction Costs Abroad," Transactions of the Fifth International Cost Engineering Congress, Paper A.10, Dutch Association of Cost Engineers, The Hague, Netherlands, 1978.

2. Cran, J., "A Cost and Location Index Grid," AACE Transactions, Paper F.2, American Association of Cost Engineers, Morgantown, WV, 1984.

3. Massa, R.V., "A Survey of International Cost Indexes, A North American Perspective," 1st European Cost Engineering Forum, International Cost Engineering Council, Oslo, Norway, 1985.

4. Massa, R.V., "International Composite Cost Location Factors," AACE Transactions, Paper F.1, American Association of Cost Engineers, Morgantown, WV, 1984.

5. Humphreys, K.K., Jelen's Cost and Optimization Engineering, 3rd ed., McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1991, pp. 423-428.

6. Kharbanda, O.P., Process Plant and Equipment Cost Estimation, Craftsman Book Co., Carlsbad, CA, 1979.

7. Richter, I.E., International Construction Claims: Avoiding and Resolving Disputes, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1983.

8. Stallworthy, E.A., International Construction and the Role of Project Management, Gower Press, Brookfield, VT, pp. 128-133, 1985.

9. Kharbanda, O.P. and E.A. Stallworthy, How to Learn from Project Disasters, Gower Publishing Co., Hampshire, UK, 1983.

10. Kerzner, H., Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Control, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1989, pp. 895-920.

11. Patrascu, A., Construction Cost Engineering, Craftsman Book Co., Carlsbad, CA, 1978, p. 55.

12. Patrascu, A., Construction Cost Engineering Handbook, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, 1988.

13. Patrascu, A., "Pre-estimating Survey. The International Aspect," AACE Transactions, Paper B.A, 1979, and Cost Estimating: Concepts and Approaches, AACE Technical Monograph Series, CE- 1, 1989, American Association of Cost Engineers, Morgantown, WV, 1989.

14. Estimating Check List for Offshore Projects, Association of Cost Engineers, Sandbach, Cheshire, United Kingdom, 1982.

15. Foreign Labor Trends, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Affairs, Washington, DC. Periodic reports of labor trends in various countries.

16. Hanscomb/Means International Construction Cost Intelligence Report (newsletter), Hanscomb Associates, 1175 Peachtree St., N.E., Atlanta, GA 02356.

17. Smith, K.A., "Forecasting Construction Costs for International Projects," AACE Transactions, Paper C.1, American Association of Cost Engineers, Morgantown, WV, 1978.

18. Grinberg, M., "Planning and Scheduling an International Project," AACE Transactions, Paper H.7, American Association of Cost Engineers, Morgantown, WV, 1981.

19. Milot, M., "Third World Estimating in Project Management," AACE Transactions, Paper O.5, American Association of Cost Engineers, Morgantown, WV, 1984.

20. Sinclair, D.N., Estimating for Abnormal Conditions, Industrial Press, Inc., New York, 1989.

21. Ruddock, L., "Productivity in the UK Construction Industry," AACE Transactions, Paper L.1, American Association of Cost Engineers, Morgantown, WV, 1991.

22. Hinojosa, L.C. and R. Vazquez del Mercado, "Mexico Infrastructure Projects Cost Engineering Support," AACE Transactions, Paper G.3, American Association of Cost Engineers, Morgantown, WV, 1992.

23. Watson, R.B., "Cost Control of Engineering Sources in Buildings," (UK) AACE Transactions, Paper E.5, American Association of Cost Engineers, Morgantown, WV, 1992.

24. Hinojosa, L.C. and R. Vazquez del Mercado, "Parametric Cost Estimating of Building Construction--US, Canada, and Mexico," AACE Transactions, Paper K.2, American Association of Cost Engineers, Morgantown, WV, 1993.

25. Barry, J.E., "Ten Commandments of International Cost Engineering," AACE Transactions, Paper L.4, AACE International, Morgantown, WV, 1993.

26. "Symposium INT" (Eight papers on international cost estimating and cost management), AACE Transactions, AACE International, Morgantown, WV, 1994.

27. Transactions of the 13th International Cost Engineering Congress, Association of Cost Engineers, Sandbach, Cheshire, United Kingdom, 1994.

28. McConville, J.G., The 1996 International Construction Costs and Reference Data Yearbook, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1996.

29. United Nations Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, United Nations, New York.

30. Engineering News-Record (weekly magazine), McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York.

31. Varela, Leopoldo, Costos de Construccion Pesada y Edificacion, Compubras, S.A., Anaya Monroy 168, Mexico DF 03590, MEXICO.

32. E & FN Spon, Ltd., 2-6 Boundary Row, London SE1 8HN, United Kingdom.

33. R.S. Means Co., 100 Construction Plaza, PO Box 800, Kingston, MA 02364-0800.

34. Richardson Engineering Services, 1742 S. Fraser Dr., PO Box 9103, Mesa, AZ 85214-1903.

35. Woodward, P.N., Oil and Labor in the Middle East, Praeger Publishing Co., One Madison Ave., New York, 10010.

36. Bu-Bshait, K.A. and Manzanera, I., "A Look at Planning & Scheduling in the Middle East," AACE Transactions, Paper D.6, American Association of Cost Engineers, Morgantown, WV, 1989.

37. Fong, C.K., ed., "Report on the Cost Competitiveness of the Construction Industry in Singapore," Construction Industry Development Board, 133 Cecil Street #09-01/02, Keck Seng Tower, Singapore 0106.

38. Bridgewater, A.V., "International Construction Cost Location Factors," Chemical Engineering, 86, p. 5 (Nov. 5, 1979).

39. Cost Engineers' Notebook, American Association of Cost Engineers, Morgantown, WV, 1989.

40. Building Cost Index, Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, National Surveyors House, PO Box 301, Deakin West, ACT 2600, Australia.

41. Construction Cost Index, Amax Australia Ltd., 200 St. George's Terrace, Perth, WA 6000, Australia.

42. Australian Builder, Australian Builder Publishing Co. Pty. Ltd., 332 Albert Street, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002, Australia.

43. Cordell's Building Cost Book, Cordells Building Publications, 33 Chandos St., PO Box 124, St. Leonards 2065, NSW, Australia.

44. Monthly Summary of Statistics, Australian Bureau of Statistics, PO Box 10, Belconnen, ACT 2616, Australia.

45. Revista de Precos, Av. N.S. de Capacabana, 749 Gr 801, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

46. Boletim de Custos, Rua Dana Mariana No. 2, Botafoga, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

47. A Construcao, Rua Anhaia 964, CEP 01130, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

48. Conjuntura, Instituto Brasileiro de Economia, Fundacao Getulio Vargas, Praia de Botafogo 188, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

49. NTC--Associacao Nacional dos Transportadores de Cargas, Ave Beira Mar 262, Gr 301-302, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

50. Statistics Canada, Prices Division, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0T6.

51. A.C.E. Indices of Erected Plant Costs, Association of Cost Engineers, Ltd., Lea House, 5 Middlewich Road, Sandbach, Cheshire, CW11 9XL, England.

52. Price Index Numbers for Current Cost Accounting, Department of Industry, Economics and Statistics, Div. 4A, Sanctuary Buildings, 16-20 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3D8, England.

53. Index Coefficients, Roux S.A., 51 Ampere, 75017, Paris, France.

54. Indicatori Mensili, Instituto Centrale di Statistica, Via Cesare Balbo 16-00100, Roma, Italy.

55. Index, Centro Statistica Aziendale S.r.l., Via A. Baldesi 20, 50131, Firenze, Italy.

56. Prezzi Informativi Delle Opere Edili in Milano, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato E, Agricoltura di Milano, Directtore Redazione Amministrazione, Via Meravigli 9/B1S, 20123 Milano, Italy.

57. Construction Price Indices by Year, Price Indices of General Machinery and Equipment, Non- Life Insurance Institute of Japan, 6-5, 3-Chome, Kanda, Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan.

58. MRC Monthly Standard Building Cost Indexes and Unit Price Data Bulletin, Management Research Society for Construction Industry, Japan.

59. Cifras de la Construccion, Fuente Camara Nacional de la Industria de la Construccion, c/o Sociedad Mexicana de Ingenieria Economica, Financiera y de Costos, Anaxagoras 17-101, Col. Navarte, 03020 Mexico DF, Mexico.

60. Indice Nacional de Precios Al Consumidor, Fuente Banco Nacional de Mexico, c/o Sociedad Mexicana de Ingenieria Economica, Financiera y de Costos, Anaxagoras 17-101, Col. Navarte, 03020 Mexico DF, Mexico.

61. Dutch Association of Cost Engineers Prijzenboekje (Pricebook), Nederlandse Stichting voor Kostentechniek/Stichting Nederlandse Apparaten voor de Processindustrie, PO Box 443, 2260 AK Leidschendam, Netherlands.

62. Ministry of Works and Development Construction Cost Index, Ministry of Works & Development, PO Box 12 041, Wellington North, New Zealand.

63. Monthly Abstract of Statistics, Department of Statistics, Aorangi House, 85 Molesworth Street, Wellington, New Zealand.

64. Fachserie 17: Preise, Verlag W. Kohlhammer GmbH, Abt. Veroffentlichungen des Statistischen Bunde Samtes, Philipp-Reis Strasse 3, Postfach 42 11 20, D-6500 Mainz 42, Hechtsheim, Germany.

65. Bureau of the Census, Construction Statistics Division, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Washington, DC 20233.

66. Construction Industry Institute, 3208 Red River St., Suite 300, Austin, TX 78705-2650.

67. Whitman, Requardt & Associates, 2315 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218.

68. Turner Construction Co., 150 E. 42nd Street, New York, 10017.

69. Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, Inc., 455 W. Fort Street, Detroit, MI 48226.

70. Boeckh Division, American Appraisal Associates, Inc., 525 E. Michigan St., Milwaukee, WI 53201.

71. Marshall & Swift, Inc., 1617 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026.

72. Chemical Engineering (bi-weekly magazine), McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

73. U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Interstate Management Branch, HNG-13, Washington, DC 20590.

74. U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Washington, DC 20212.

75. Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), 615 West 22nd Street, Oak Brook, IL 60523.

76. The Building Economist, Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, National Surveyors House, 27-29 Napier Close, Deakin, ACT 2600, Australia.

77. Shenzhen Property and Building Price Yearbook (in English and Chinese), Shenzhen Construction Quotation Price Management Department, West, 14th Floor, Jianyi Tower, 6 Zhen Xing Rd., Futian, Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, Peoples Republic of China.

78. Bent, J.A. and Humphreys, K.K., eds., Effective Project Management Through Applied Cost and Schedule Control, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, 1996.

79. Co-Invest, 79, Vernadsky Prosp., Room 1311, 117943 Moscow, Russia.

80. COSTOS Edicion Nacional, BIMSA Southam S.A. de C.V., Sófocles No. 118, Col. Chapultepec Polanco, Deleg. Miguel Hidalgo, C.P. 11560, México, D.F., published monthly.

81. L. Varela A., Costos Por Metro Cuadrado de Construccion (Square Meter Construction Costs), BIMSA Southam, México, D.F.

82. Rawlinson's, Rawlhouse Publishing Pty., Ltd., P.O. Box 145, West Perth, Western Australia 6872.

83. Davis Langdon & Seah International, 21st Floor, 2101 Leighton Centre, 77 leighton Rd., Hong Kong.

84. Empresa de Obras Públicas do Estado do Rio de Janiero - EMOP, Campo de São Cristóvão 138, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


A paper by this same title was coauthored by Kenneth K. Humphreys and Barry G. McMillan for presentation and publication in the transactions of the 6th Annual Meeting of the Association Française des Ingenieurs et Techniciens d'Estimation, de Planification et de Projets and 11th International Cost Engineering in Paris. Much of the information included in this paper is taken from the earlier paper. The author thanks AFITEP for permission to include this material and expresses his deep appreciation to Barry G. McMillan for Mr. McMillan's invaluable contributions to the original paper.

BasisImported Material (Average)Labor
CountryExchange rate / $Duty, %Freight, %VAT, %Imported Material IndexLocal Material Index$/hourProduc- tivity FactorLocation Cost Factor
Australia1.42 A$0 to 715201.351.324.801.61.4
Brazil1.10 Real1410181.421.
Canada1.40 C$057 to 19.841.
China 8.32 Renm810171.350.
France5.8 Fr0518.61.2361.219.831.21.15
Germany1.72 DM0501.051.1536.571.11.2
India36.4 Rupee65 max2001.851.
Japan122.5 Yen3.41031.131.427.301.01.35
Mexico8.2 New Peso75101.221.253.381.71.0
Poland3.4 Zloty1410221.460.810.331.70.95
Saudi Arabia3.75 Riyal0 to 121501.
South Africa4.8 Rand515101.301.117.821.31.1
United Arab Emirates3.67 Dirham11001.
United Kingdom0.60 Pound01017.51.2751.342.581.21.4
1. Duties for Australia and Saudi Arabia = 0 for imported materials which are not available domestically.
2. Australian sales taxes of 20 percent apply to local material.
3. Canadian VAT varies from 7 percent to 19.84 percent depending upon the province or territory.
4. China duties are shown for the special enterprise zones. Duties are higher elsewhere in China.
5. India may grant concessional duties for major projects. Duties as low as 20% have been granted for recent power projects. Although there is no VAT in India, a national sales tax of 4% plus state sales taxes of 4 to 15% apply to local material.
6. United Arab Emirates duty is 4 percent minus a subsequent rebate of 3 percent for a net of 1 percent.

Basis: Southeast United States (Non Union) = 1.0.
United States LocationsNon
Southeast (Carolinas, Florida, etc.)1.0---
Other CountriesAverageRemote
Eastern Europe2.0---
Great Britain1.5---
Hong Kong1.5---
New Zealand1.5---
Saudi Arabia1.6---
South Africa1.41.9
South Korea1.3---
Sri Lanka2.5---
United Arab Emirates1.7---
Productivity factors are heavily influenced by weather (rain, cold/heat, etc.), culture and work ethic, religion, inherent trade skills, available resources and infrastructure, and site conditions. The above factors are averages only and must be adjusted as appropriate for specific conditions and location.

Adapted from J. A. Bent, Effective Project Management Through Applied Cost and Schedule Control, K.K. Humphreys, ed., Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, 1996

Foreign Labor Trends(15) -- periodic reports of labor trends and costs for specific countries--includes key labor indicators, information on unionization, labor availability, recent developments affecting the workforce, etc. Each report covers one specific country and is prepared by the American Embassy staff in that particular country.
Hanscomb/Means International Construction Cost Intelligence Report(16) -- newsletter--provides comparative building construction cost information for many countries.
U.N. Monthly Bulletin of Statistics(29) -- includes a variety of production, trade, financial, commodities, construction, wage, and other cost/price indexes and statistics for about 190 countries.
Engineering News-Record(30) -- weekly magazine--primarily U.S. and Canada, variety of commercial/industrial construction and builders' indexes plus materials prices and labor rates; substantial North American data featured in "Quarterly Cost Roundup" issues; "World Parameter Costs" column features building costs for one or two countries per quarterly issue.
Costos de Construccion Pesada y Edificacion (Heavy Construction and Building Costs)(31) -- cost estimating database on building, industrial and heavy construction reflecting costing in Mexico and other Latin American countries, eg, Bolivia, Venezuela, Panama, Brazil, and Chile.
Spon's Architects' and Builders' Price Book(32) -- contains a European section for tendering and costs of labor and materials in 13 countries. Spon's European Construction Costs Handbook provides coverage of 28 countries in Europe plus the United States and Japan. Spon's Asia Pacific Construction Costs Handbook provides similar coverage of 15 countries in Asia plus the United States and the United Kingdom. Spon's Middle East Construction Price Book is a two volume set which provides detailed unit cost information for 6 Middle East countries. The two handbooks and the Middle East books are also distributed by the R.S. Means Co.(33) in North America.
R.S. Means Co.(33) -- various cost books published annually for building and industrial construction in the U.S. and Canada.
Richardson Engineering Services(34) -- unit cost database published for U.S. and Canada building and general construction; special estimating set for process plant construction; International Construction Factors Location Cost Manual for 16 countries worldwide.
International Construction Costs and Reference Data Yearbook(28) -- provides detailed information on construction costs, including fully loaded labor rates, for 30 countries.

Massa's Labor Productivity Factors(3,4) Bridgewater's Factors for Chemical Plants(38)
Location US= 1.0 UK= 1.0 US=1.0
Algeria 1.82 -- --
Australia 1.20 (0.96-1.45) 1.4 1.3
Argentina 2.00 (1.30-2.60) -- --
Austria 1.60 (1.57-2.10) 1.1 1.0
Belgium 1.14 (1.14-1.50) 1.1 1.0
Canada, East 1.14 (1.08-1.17) -- --
Canada, West 1.07 (1.02-1.11) -- --
Canada -- 1.25 1.15
Central Africa -- 2.0 2.0
Central America -- 1.1 1.0
Chile 2.70 (2.00-2.90) -- --
China (imported element) -- 1.2 1.1
China (indigenous element) -- 0.6 0.55
Colombia 3.05 -- --
Denmark 1.28 (1.25-1.30) 1.1 1.0
Egypt 2.05 -- --
Finland 1.28 (1.24-1.28) 1.3 1.2
France 1.52 (0.80-1.54) 1.05 0.95
Germany (West) 1.20 (1.00-1.33) 1.1 1.0
Ghana 3.50 -- --
Greece 1.49 1.0 0.9
India 4.00 (2.50-10.0) -- --
India (imported element) -- 2.0 1.8
India (indigenous element) -- 0.7 0.65
Iran 4.00 -- --
Iraq 3.50 -- --
Ireland -- 0.9 0.8
Italy 1.48 (1.10-1.48) 1.0 0.9
Japan 1.54 (1.00-2.00) 1.0 0.9
Malaysia -- 0.9 0.8
Mexico 1.56 (1.54-3.15) -- --
Middle East -- 1.2 1.1
Netherlands 1.25 (1.25-1.60) 1.1 1.0
Newfoundland -- 1.3 1.2
New Zealand -- 1.4 1.3
Nicaragua 2.67 -- --
Nigeria 2.22 -- --
North Africa (imported element) -- 1.2 1.1
North Africa (indigenous element) -- 0.8 0.75
Norway 1.23 1.2 1.1
Philippines 2.86 -- --
Portugal 1.66 0.8 0.75
Puerto Rico 1.54 -- --
Singapore 4.00 -- --
South Africa 1.58 1.25 1.15
South America (N) -- 1.5 1.35
South America (S) -- 2.5 2.25
Spain 1.74 -- --
Spain (imported element) -- 1.3 1.2
Spain (indigenous element) -- 0.8 0.75
Sri Lanka (Ceylon) 3.50 -- --
Sweden 1.18 (1.10-1.20) 1.2 1.1
Switzerland -- 1.2 1.1
Taiwan 1.52 (1.52-7.20) -- --
Thailand 2.82 -- --
Turkey 2.32 1.1 1.0
United Kingdom 1.53 (0.70-2.46) 1.0 0.9
United States 1.00 1.1 1.0
Venezuela 2.00 -- --
*Note: Increase chemical plant factor by 10% for each 1000 miles or part of 1000 miles that the new plant location is distant from a major manufacturing or import center or both. When materials or labor, or both, are obtained from more than a single source, pro-rate the appropriate factors. Factors do not consider investment incentives.

Note also that the Bridgewater factors reflect currency exchange rates prevailing in the late 1970's. Appropriate adjustments must therefore be made prior to using these factors today.

Country/Index Comments
Building Cost Index Construction labor and material costs(40)
Construction Cost Index Weekly earnings; building and nonbuilding materials(41)
Australia Builder Price information on raw materials(42)
Cordells Building Cost Book Price information for non-residential building(43)
Monthly Summary of Statistics Manufacturing articles: materials, building/non-building materials, metallic materials, wage rates; indexes(44)
Revista de Precos Cost/price indexes for residential and non-residential construction; Portuguese(45)
Boletim de Custos Cost/price indexes for residential and non-residential construction; Portuguese(46)
A Construcao Residential and non-residential construction and project costs; Portuguese(47)
Conjuntura Indexes for industrial machinery and equipment; residential and non-residential construction material; Portuguese(48)
NTC--Associacao Nacional dos Transportadores de Cargas Transportation rates for industrial materials; Portuguese(49)
Statistics Canada Variety of cost/price indexes for construction costs and capital expenditures; English and French(50)
A.Cost.E. Indices of Erected Plant Costs Indexes of erected cost of typical process plants(51)
Price Index Numbers for Current Cost Accounting Indexes for non-residential construction, machinery, equipment(52)
Index Coefficients General index for building and machinery replacement costs(53)
Indicatori Mensili Government statistics and indexes; Italian(54)
Index Costs and indexes for various industries; Italian(55)
Prezzi Informativi Delle Opere Edili in Milano Indexes for residential and non-residential construction, consumer prices, raw materials, and wage rates; Italian(56)
Construction Price Indexes by Year, Price Indexes of General Machinery and Equipment Non-Life Insurance Institute publication for use by industrial insurers in Japan; English(57)
MRC Monthly Standard Building Cost Indexes and Unit Price Data Bulletin Cost indexes of many components of construction and certain building types; Japanese(58)
Cifras de la Construccion General construction index; Spanish(59)
Indice Nacional de Precios al Consumidor Consumer price index; Spanish(60)
The Netherlands
Die Workgroep Begrotings Problemen in de Chemische Industrie (WEBCI) Unit prices for chemical plant construction in the Netherlands; Dutch(61)
New Zealand
Ministry of Works and Development Construction Cost Index Weighted construction cost index(62)
Monthly Abstract of Statistics Variety of labor force indexes by industry; residential construction, wage rates, other(63)
Fachserie 17: Preise Indexes for general machinery and building construction: German(64)
United States
General Purpose Indexes:

Engineering News-Record, 20-city construction cost
Engineering News-Record, 20-city building cost
U.S. Dept. of Commerce, composite(65)
BuRec, general building
Construction Industry Institute, construction price(66)
Factory Mutual, industrial building
Handy Whitman, building construction(67)
Lee Saylor, Inc., material/labor
R.S. Means construction cost(33)
Selling Price Indexes, Building:

Fru-Con Corp., industrial
Lee Saylor, Inc., subcontractor
Turner, general building(68)
Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, general(69)
Valuation Indexes:

Boeckh, 20-city commercial/manufacturing(70)
Marshall & Swift, industrial equipment(71-72)
Special Purpose:

Nelson-Farrar refinery cost inflation index
Chemical Engineering, plant cost(72)
Federal Highway Construction Bid Price(73)
Handy Whitman, public utility construction
BuLabor Statistics Consumer Price Index(74)
BuLabor Statistics Producers Price Index(65)
AED Average Rental Rates for Construction Equipment(75)
Note: Many of the above listed indexes for the United States are published regularly in the Engineering News-Record "Quarterly Cost Roundup" issues.(30)

Country Source
Australia Building Economist(76), quarterly
Cordells Building Cost Book(43)
Rawlinsons(82), various books
Brazil A Construcao(7)
Conjuntura(48), monthly
Empresa de Obras Públicas-RJ(84), various publications
Canada R.S. Means(33), various books
Richardson Engineering(34), data books
China Shenzhen Construction Quotation Price Management Department(77)
Mexico Costos de Construccion Pesada y Edificacion(31)
COSTOS Edicion Nacional(80)
Costos Por Metro Cuadrado de Construccion(81)
Netherlands DACE Price Booklet (Prijzenboekje)(61)
Russia Co-Invest(79), various publications
R.S. Means(33), various publications
United Kingdon E & FN Spon(32), various books
United States R.S. Means(33), various books
Richardson Engineering(34), data books
Vietnam Vietnam Construction Investment Guide, Rawlinsons(82)
Construction and Development in Vietnam, Davis Langdon & Seah(83)
R.S. Means(33), various publications

Society Country ICEC
AACE-CANADA, The Canadian Association of Cost Engineers Canada Yes No
AACE International, the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE-I) (chapters in Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Egypt, Malaysia and Norway) United States YesNo
American Society for the Advancement of Project ManagementUnited States No Yes
Asociación Espanola de Ingenieria de Proyectos (AEIPRO) Spain Yes Yes
Associacao Portuguesa de Gestao de Projectos (APOGEP) Portugal No Yes
Association of Cost Engineers (ACostE) (chapters in Hong Kong and Siberia) United Kingdom Yes No
Association of Cost Engineers, Hong Kong Branch (ACostE HK) Hong Kong Pending No
Association Françophone de Management de Projet (AFITEP)(chapters in Belgium and Switzerland) France YesYes
Association of Project Managers (APM) United Kingdom No Yes
Association of Project Managers of South Africa (APMSA) South Africa No Yes
Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) South Africa Yes No
Associazione Nazionale di Implantistica Industriale (ANIMP) Italy No Yes
Associazione Italiana d'Ingegneria Economica (AICE)Italy Yes No
Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS) Australia Yes No
Azerbaijan Project Management Association (AzPMA) Azerbaijan No Yes
Brazilian Association for Project Management (ABGP) Brazil No Yes
Building Suryeyor's Institute of Japan (BSIJ) JapanYes No
Bulgarian Project Management Association Bulgaria No Yes
Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS)Canada Yes No
China Engineering Cost Association (CECA) China Pending Yes
Cost Engineering Association of Southern Africa (CEASA) 11 countries in Southern Africa Yes No
Croatian Association for Project Management Croatia No Yes
Cyprus Association of Professional Quantity Surveyors (CAPQS) Cyprus Yes No
Czech Association of Project Management (SPR)Czech Republic Yes Yes
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Projektmanagement eV (GPM) Germany No Yes
Fiji Institute of Quantity Surveyors (FIQS) Fiji Yes No
Foreningen for Dansk Projektledelse (FDP) Denmark Yes Yes
Gépipari Tudományos Egyesület / Mûszaki Költségtervez Klub (GTE/MKK) (Hungarian Cost Engineering Club) Hungary Yes No
Ghana Institution of Surveyors (GIS) Ghana Yes No
Grupo OFC Guia Referencial de Costos (GOGRC) Venezuela Yes No
Hellenic Project Management Association (HPMI)Greece Former Member Former Member
Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS) Hong Kong Yes No
Institute of Project Management of Ireland Ireland No Yes
Institute of Project Managers of Sri Lanka (IPMSL)Sri Lanka YesNo
Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya (IQSK) Kenya Yes No
Institute of Namibian Quantity Surveyors (INQS) Namibia Yes No
Institute of Quantity Surveyors Sri Lanka (IQSSL) Sri Lanka Yes No
Instituto Brasileiro de Engenharia de Custos (IBEC) Brazil YesNo
Institution of Surveyors, Malaysia (ISM) Malaysia Yes No
Institution of Surveyors of Uganda (ISU) Uganda Pending No
Instituto Latinamerico de Ejecutivos de Proyectos (ILEP) Mexico No Yes
Japan Society of Cost and Project Engineers (JSCPE) Japan Yes No
Korean Institute of Project Management and Technology (PROMAT) South Korea Former Member No
Kazakhstan Project Management Association Kazakhstan No Yes
Latvian National Association of Project Management Latvia No Yes
Management Engineering Society (MES) Egypt No Yes
Mauritius Association of Quantity Surveyors (MAQS) Mauritius Yes No
Nederlandse Stichting Voor Kostentechniek (DACE) Netherlands Yes No
New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS) New Zealand Yes No
Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) Nigeria Yes No
Norsk Forening for Prosjektledelse (NFP) Norway Yes Yes
PM-Greece, The Network of Project Managers in Greece Greece Pending Yes
Project Management Associates India Yes Yes
Project Management Association of Finland (PMAF) Finland Yes Yes
Project Management Association of Hungary (FOVOSZ) Hungary No Yes
Project Management Association of Serbia and Montenegro (YUPMA)Serbia and Montenegro NoYes
Project Management Association of Slovakia (SPPR) Slovakia Yes Yes
Project Management Institut Nederland Netherlands No Yes
Project Management - South Africa (PMSA) South AfricaYesNo
Project Management Research Committee, China China No Yes
Project Management Romania Romania No Yes
Projekt Management Austria-Institut Austria Yes Yes
Romanian Association of Cost Engineering (RACE) Romania Yes No
Russian Association of Bidding and Cost Engineering RussiaYes No
Russian Project Management Association (SOVNET) Russia No Yes
Schweeizerische Gesellschaft für Projektmanagement (SPMS) Switzerland No Yes
Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers Singapore Yes No
Slovenian Project Management Association (ZPM) Slovenia Yes Yes
Sociedad Mexicana de Ingeniería Económica, Financiera y de Costos (SMIEFC) Mexico Yes No
Stowarzyszenie Project Management Polska (SPMP) Poland No Yes
Svenskt ProjektForum (SPMS) Sweden Yes Yes
Tanzania Institute of Quantity Surveyors(TIQS) Tanzania Pending No
Taiwan Project Management Association, China (TMPA)Taiwan, China No Yes
Ukranian Project Management Association (UKRNET) Ukraine No Yes
Verkefnastjórnunarfélag Íslands (VSF) Iceland Yes Yes
ICEC Secretariat address:
PO Box 301
Deakin West
ACT 2600
Phone: 61-2-6282-2222
Fax: 61-2-6285-2427
IPMA Secretariat address:
c/o Ellen Jongeneel
PO Box 1167
3860 BD Nijkerk
Phone: 31-33-247-34-30
Fax: 31-33-246-04-70

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