International construction market survey 2019

Survey overview and highlights

Our 2019 international construction market survey brings together data and experience from 64 global markets. It is our largest and most in-depth survey to date, providing insights into the current state and direction of the global construction industry.

Here are some of the key highlights from ICMS 2019:

  • 64 global markets
  • 18 new markets
  • 9 different build categories

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Economic turmoil is not a barrier to growth


Neil Bullen Global Managing Director, Real Estate
“In the last 12 months, the economic backdrop has shifted. The International Monetary Fund has cut its forecast for global economic growth, stock markets have retreated, and house price inflation has slowed. Added to this, political turmoil and trade-war tensions have increased uncertainty and volatility within global markets, with tariffs directly affecting the construction sector.”

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Global economic outlook

As a potential economic slowdown is expected, there are increased uncertainties in the political sphere, which have potentially powerful economic impacts. These include Brexit and the implications not just for the UK but Europe, trade wars, US government shutdown and political tensions, climate change fears rising with the perception that natural disasters are increasing, mass migrations of disenfranchised people and a rise of populist leaders.

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Global construction cost performance

Even as the global economy starts to slow, the construction sector remains strong. But is there enough activity to help cushion the worst impacts of any global economic downturn?

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The most expensive market to build

To identify the most expensive market to build, the average build cost in USD of six different categories of construction was assessed. Will New York City remain at the top as the most expensive?

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Construction preliminaries and margins

Preliminaries can vary quite widely within a region, depending on the type and location of the construction. As they take account of the setting up costs for a construction job, preliminaries tend to be higher in regions where there is a high degree of complexity.

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Labour skills shortages

Survey respondents were asked to advise on the state of labour skills shortages in their local market. Are there trades labour skills shortages or is the market in balance or even in surplus?

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Download the report to see the full analysis and insight from the survey.