ICMS Coalition aims to unify construction measurement standards

ICMS Coalition signing

Over 30 professional bodies from around the world, including the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), met at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC to launch a major initiative which seeks to create international standards in construction measurement.

The International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) Coalition was established by non-profit organisations representing professionals in more than 140 countries. Collectively, the group aims to create overarching international standards that will harmonise cost, classification and measurement definitions in order to enhance comparability, consistency and benchmarking of capital projects.

In an industry estimated to be worth a staggering $15 trillion by 2025 according to Global Construction Perspectives, inconsistency in something as fundamental as construction measurement and reporting can create huge uncertainty, misunderstanding, and risk.

The ICMS Coalition will continue to grow as further professional organisations come forward to join the effort to align high-level principles. Industry corporations, contractors, and key government stakeholders will also be encouraged to contribute to and lead adoption of the new international framework in their capital markets.

The work to draft and consult on ICMS will be led by an independent committee of construction experts, due to be appointed by the coalition in the coming weeks.

The Washington meeting represented a landmark moment for construction, project management, cost engineering and quantity surveying sectors as a whole. This is the first time these professions have come together in this way to develop unifying standards which reflect and enhance an increasingly international construction market.

The coalition has stated its ambition to make tangible progress immediately and to deliver an internationally agreed and adopted standard in the near future.

“The fact that so many international organisations came together in Washington DC shows there is a strong desire to develop a single standard for construction measurement,” said RICS Senior Vice President, Amanda Clack.

“It was evident there was a real willingness to work together collaboratively for the benefit of the public and our clients. While not everyone was able to attend the meeting in person, the support from the construction industry around the globe has been incredible, and I can only see the coalition becoming even stronger as more organisations are able to sign up in coming weeks and beyond. This is about making a difference and I believe is something we will all look back on as momentous in creating a better industry for the future: standards work and construction needs them,” she said.

Adds TC Chetty, RICS Country Manager for South Africa: “Globalisation in the built environment is occurring at a rapid rate, and the need for global standards becoming more and more prevalent. The development and adoption of internationally accepted construction measurements standards will be a huge step forward for the industry.”