ICMS (International Construction Measurement Standards)

Download ICMS 2nd edition:  Life Cycle Costs (Sept 2019)

Global Coalition Transforms Construction Cost System

The International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS), first launched in July 2017, is revolutionising the global industry by improving cost prediction in infrastructure projects.

Construction is a global industry, but the way project costs are measured varies enormously which makes decision-making risky and creates barriers to investment.

ICMS creates a globally consistent method for presenting costs, aligning national standards with one universal framework for classifying, defining, measuring, recording, analysing, presenting and comparing entire life cycle costs of construction projects at regional, state, national or international level.  Governments and investors can compare construction costs like enabling them to know if public infrastructure projects are of good value.

ICMS benefits all stakeholders with an interest in buildings and civil engineering construction, including governments, developers, owners, occupiers, managers and investors by creating a common language for construction investment and enabling better benchmarking.

ICMS are a high-level cost classification system.  The Standards cover:

  • High-level cost classification
  • Buildings and civil engineering
  • Definitions, inclusions and exclusions
  • Four level taxonomy
  • Key cost drivers

ICMS 2nd edition:  Life Cycle Costs (September 2019)

Life cycle costs (LCC) play a pivotal role in the financial management of construction projects around the world.  As part of the whole life cost (WLC), they allow critical decisions to be made about the importance of capital and longer-term costs that utimately affect asset performance, longevity, disaster resilience and sustainability.  It is for this reason that the ICMS Coalition has revised and extended the scope of the Inernational Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) to incorporate this broader cost classification.  This new edition supersedes the first edition of ICMS (July 2017) although this second edition can still be used solely for capital cost reporting.

"This new standard is a game-changer for the global construction industry, representing the first time there will be an internationally standardised way to report the full life cycle cost for portfolios, programmes, and projects around the world."  Ken Creighton, ICMS Chair.

"In simple terms, this means that projects can be easily and quickly compared across jurisdictions, giving decision-makers better tools to analyse the impact of their investment in construction, and now across the full life-cycle of the built asset." 

The globalisation of the construction business has only increased the need to make this meaningful comparative analysis between countries, not least by international organisations such as the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, various regional development banks, non-government organisations and the United Nations.  Since their introduction to the market in 2017, ICMS has already been adopted by a number of high-profile bodies seeking to benchmark project costs internationally.  To date this includes large public sector project sponsors, global cost consultancies, constructors, and other construction sector stakeholders (for a list of business support partners visit here).

ICMS in practice

The below documents represent a selection of live examples where the presentation of the cost classification data is illustrated in a form that aligns with this ICMS standard.  They have been adjusted as necessary to suit local circumstances.

The examples are taken from projects in Australia, Malaysia and Turkey.

ICMS Coalition

ICMS has been developed and implemented by a growing international coalition of 50 leading standards organisations, representing professionals across the multi-trillion dollar construction sector.

NZIQS has been a member of the ICMS Board of Trustees since the coalition started in 2015.  NZIQS supports the move towards greater global consistency of standards.

RIB, NZIQS Platinum Partner, is also a coalition partner to ensure that their product range is well prepared for these standards, which will be of great benefit to their global customer base.


ICMS Standard 

ICMS Website

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General FAQ

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NZIQS ICMS Press Release