Survey overview

The 2018 international construction market survey brings together data and experience from 46 markets around the world, to provide an insight into the current state and direction of the global construction industry. This year it also brings optimism.

Our international construction market survey aims to deliver comparable data from real projects across the world that provides greater insight into the constantly changing dynamics of global construction activity.

The data inevitably represents just a snapshot of what lies behind the analysis. Even so, one message should ring clear. Global construction is more buoyant than it has been for many years and in the short term at least, things are looking up.

Much attention is paid to fast-developing nations, but the developed economies still account for about half of global construction. So, with the giant US and EU economies surprising on the upside they are better able to support investment and they appear ready to do so.

Within the array of new major projects coming on stream, infrastructure stands out as the hottest sector for the future, followed by commercial construction. The pursuit of expanding global infrastructure gets to the heart of two key global ambitions – to increase productivity and reduce poverty. In developing and emerging nations especially, infrastructure can be a boon for both, opening access to both markets and resources and reducing the frictions within economies.

For construction, investment in infrastructure delivers immediate workloads. But it also brings the promise of future work, as better connections and better utilities encourage follow-on development in the residential and commercial sectors.

In gathering and gaining insight from the data, our team of expert economists worked closely with our local experts to analyse input costs – such as labour and materials – and chart the average construction costs per square metre for six building types across all 46 cities in 33 countries. We added three more markets this year – Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta and Shanghai.

We use a variety of construction cost comparison methodologies to ensure our findings deliver accuracy and insight. Methods such as straight-line USD conversion, purchasing power parity (PPP) and location factors are used to standardise our data and draw useful conclusions.

This is increasingly important given the volatility in exchange rates and its impact on comparing construction costs across markets.

The research also gathers data on the market conditions, which provide context and a deeper understanding of the balance of supply and demand and the cost pressures within each market. Common themes emerge. One of the more important is that the tightening of skills shortage seen in last year’s report is continuing.

This, in many ways, reflects growing demand for construction across the globe. It also reinforces the need to improve productivity.

For more information on the methods we use see Comparing construction costs.



This content is part of the International construction market survey 2018

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