An Investigation into Factors Influencing Construction Costs Based on Japanese, UK and US Contractor Practice

Hong Xiao, David Proverbs


Construction cost is a major concern to both clients and contractors. Based on a hypotheticalconstruction project (a six-storey concrete framed office building), cost and otherrelated information was collected through a survey of contractors in Japan, the UK and theUS. Using multiple regression analysis it was found that lower overheads, less prefabricatedcomponents, and fewer design variations could reduce construction cost. Overheadslargely represent indirect costs to contractors and if reduced can lead to increased profitlevels and improved competitiveness. The use of prefabricated components may be problematicwhere there are delays in production, insufficient coordination between design andconstruction, and congested transportation on site. Design variations during constructionbring about uncertainties and are disruptive to the construction process. These factorshave paramount impact on construction cost and demand close attention and consideration.Contractors are advised to reduce the costs of their overheads and utilise prefabricationappropriately, while clients and designers should minimise the number of designvariations during construction if better cost performance is desired.

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