EC Harris: Switzerland retains status as most expensive place in the world to build (CH)

Construction costs in Switzerland are more than 25% higher than anywhere else in the world, according to the annual 'International Construction Cost Comparison Report' released yesterday (August 16, 2011) by built asset consultancy EC Harris.

The annual report, which benchmarks the construction costs in 55 countries across the globe using UK prices as a baseline, found that Europe continues to be the most expensive continent in which to build, providing eight of the top 10 entrants in the final league table.

According to the report, the price of construction in Switzerland is 71% higher than in the UK where costs are now more than 20% below their peak price in mid-2008. Overall, the UK is now tied with Bahrain as the 12th most expensive place in the world to build, up four places from 2010 where it finished in 16th place.

However, this has been largely due to falling costs in other countries rather than rising prices in the UK where construction costs have continued to drop over the last 12 months, with contractors prepared to work for ever slimmer profit margins to try and secure work in an increasingly competitive arena.

Denmark retained its position as the second most expensive place to build, closely followed by its Scandinavian neighbor Sweden. Australia and Canada were the only non-European markets to make it into the top 10 although Bahrain just missed out, finishing in 12th place overall alongside the UK. India and Sri Lanka were tied as the cheapest countries in which to build with construction costs estimated to be 72% cheaper than the UK baseline.

Mathew Riley, Head of Cost and Commercial at EC Harris said: "It's no surprise to see that Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries are the most expensive places to build as high labor costs and the need to import materials are all combining to drive prices up.

"The interesting element is that we're now starting to see signs that developing nations are closing this gap as they continue to invest in significant new-build programs to fuel further GDP growth."

Continuity of supply emerging as major concern
The report also underlines the need for Western economies to start planning ahead now to guarantee access to the raw materials needed for future construction projects. During the economic downturn global supply chains have shifted their focus to meeting the demands of economies like China and India and are likely to continue to prioritize them over the coming years as they offer the greatest revenue growth opportunities.

Without robust levels of risk analysis here, contractors will not be able to guarantee continuity of supply as materials will be less readily available or disproportionately more expensive.

Riley added: "The industry can no longer take supply as a given, it needs to start proactively managing this risk through forward-planning and smart procurement strategies. Certain commodities will only be available in finite volumes so it is imperative that contractors work with the supply chain to get this long-term visibility of what will be required well ahead of schedule.

"Without this rigorous approach serious cost and time overruns on construction projects will be inevitable, as key materials with be unavailable or only within reach to those who can afford to pay premium prices."

Other global highlights:

Despite a rise in construction activity during 2010, the outlook for the UK construction sector will be tough over the next couple of years and the fall in construction tender prices, which started in 2008 is expected to continue well into 2012 for most of the country

Construction costs are remarkably consistent amongst the largest EU countries with Ireland, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands all within a range of 20% of UK costs. Eastern European prices are generally cheaper, with differences ranging from 30% lower in Poland to 45-50% lower in the cheapest countries like Bosnia, Macedonia and Bulgaria. Costs are likely to drop further

Related News