Help / FAQ

European Construction Costs Soft Launch Guidance Notes



Frequently Asked Questions


Below is a list of the most commonly asked questions concerning the handbook and site. If the answer to your specific query is not answered from the list please use the contact forms and it will be forwarded to the correct department for a reply.


1. My user name and password do not work.
- Check that you have entered them correctly. See your confirmation email to confirm that they are correct.

- Check that you do not have 'Caps lock' on.

- You may recover your password from 'forgotten your password' under the Login box on the top toolbar. This leads you to a further screen where you may enter your username. An automated email will be sent to the address you registered at the time of your subscription.

- Your account maybe blocked for one of three reasons which will be presented to you on a further screen:

a. You have used the wrong password at least five times;
In the window that appears you may retry with the correct password and your account should unlock. You may then log in again.

b. Your account has expired.
If your account has expired it will automatically be blocked. If you see that message you will have the option on the same screen to renew your subscription.

c. Payment has not been received in time.
If we have not received your payment your account will be blocked. On receipt of your payment the account block will be automatically be removed and you will receive a notification that the block has been removed and that you may log in and resume access to the account. 

2. How do I change the country’s models I wish to view?
Your IP address will be automatically recognised so that in the UK you will see the UK site with its UK models in English and Pounds Sterling.  In Spain the Spanish site, in Spanish and Euros. To change the country’s models you wish to view select the country from the drop down menu on the title page or cost figures. 

3. How do I change the currency used to present the country’s models I wish to view?
Select the currency required from the drop down menu on the title page. Should you select Polish Zloty you will see the UK models but priced in Zlotys. 

4. How do I know that the exchange rates used are correct?
We take the exchange rate offered as a split between buy and sell on www.xe.com and we update these rates every week. 

5. How do I change the language of the site?
On the top right corner there is a drop down from which you may select the language of choice. Note; the only languages available are those of countries where we have a fully participating Euro affiliate. 

6. Are the high and low cost ranges just an added or subtracted percentage?
No they are calculated for each model and reflect changes typical for each category of building. For example a high quality office may have a decorative atrium and reception, feature fenestration and marble floors, (for offices the range could be -7% to +12%). A high quality distribution centre may have higher ceilings, stronger floors, and better insulation (the range is less, typically -5% to +7%) 

7. Why are the costs shown per m³?
Not commonly used in the UK except for demolition, air conditioning and refurbishments but more common in mainland Europe. Handy for BREEAM and similar calculations. 

8. Rebuilding cost, how is it calculated?
This figure can only be indicative as rebuilding is seldom to create the same building as before and other factors like the reusability of foundations and eco regulations all have impact on the costs. The figures presented are based on our own database of typical costs. 

9. The price given seems to vary from our experience.
We give the costs as typical for the model presented. Unfortunately the average building does not actually exist but our further break down of costs shows how the costs of the models presented are made up so it is possible to see where the differences are; maybe extensive exterior works or an expensive facade or even additional underground parking. The explanation is in the detail. Should you need further clarification the contact details of the local expert are given on the title page with a link to answer your query. 

10. How do you calculate the regional variances in cost for the UK?
We have a selection of sources giving regional cost variations. The extensive database from ECC records the costs from current and past jobs but we review costs from several other sources to ensure that changes and trends we report are not aberrations. 

11. How do you update the prices, are they accurate?
We cost the models initially using current costs  but there are a selection of around 20  items that make up 80% of the cost of a building. We already have a costed spreadsheet for each model so we can introduce costs like steel, cement, labour, plant etc directly into the models to create a meaningful revaluation each three months. It is a requirement of each affiliate in each country that they provide these figures, in that way we know we are providing the best current costs available. 

12. What units and areas are measured?
We use Gross Floor area (GFA), Gross internal area (GIA) and Gross Internal Volume (GIV) all in metric units. Most national measures use these or similar. There are exceptions; for example Mediterranean countries may include balconies, other countries may exclude the areas of interior walls. Where there are significant differences the national site for each country defines the figures used. 

13. Why have the external wall area and GIFA shown as a ratio?
The cleverness of the Netherlands data capture records these figures and therefore refines more accurately the calculated costs; this is now being done for the UK and all the other countries. For example higher ceilings use more materials in the walls so therefore the cost of walls is greater per m²! 

14. What is the ratio of GFA to built area?
The gross floor area of a building may be 2,000m² and the built area 1,000m². On two floors the ratio therefore is 0.50 and on a five floored building this becomes 0.20 so by changing this the calculated model can show the cost differences for more or less floors for a given gross floor area. In the calculation tool this enables an instant recalculation of the proposed model.   

15. Why have a ratio of wall openings to wall area?
The accuracy of our data capture enables us to record this. Put simply, windows are more expensive per m² than walls (masonry etc.) so as more luxurious buildings tend to have larger glazed areas they therefore cost more per unit wall area. The data capture from many hundreds of models allows us to introduce these costs as realistic variations; a further refinement for accuracy. 

16. Extra for BREEAM?
BREEAM is applied to more and more commercial premises and therefore we have calculated the additional cost for some categories of building. For example to attain BREEAM Very Good for an office building we show an extra cost per m². Likewise we show for some residential properties the additional calculated cost per m² of attaining an EPC (Thermal efficiency) of 0.4 up from the standard 0.6. This is not applied to all buildings shown but we are working to achieve this over time. 

17. Embedded Carbon, what does it mean?
The construction of buildings takes energy, defined as grammes of CO². By selectively choosing materials the energy content required to create those materials can be calculated. For example lightweight concrete blocks may use less cement and have a lower cost for transport so their contribution to the embedded CO² is reduced. This is a crude example but by calculating the carbon content of all components of a building this value and the benefits to the environment may be quantified. 

18. Carbon in use, what is it?
All buildings consume power in various forms. Heating, air conditioning, lighting, lifts etc use energy. Skilful selection of materials and design can reduce consumption of power (better insulation, heat recovery systems etc.) which is quantified again in grammes of CO². When quantified a measure of operational efficiency can be deduced. 

19. What is a functional rate?
Many buildings have functions which may be defined in user terms such as pupils per school, patient beds per hospital, cost per parking place, work stations per office. Where suitable these are given with any other units of measure so for example FF&E for hotels at varying grades are given. 

20. Project tool; why choose a model that is not the same as mine?
The models represent a progression of costs so whereas the 12 floor office model may be four floors higher than your project the historical cost given is within that band so may be used as a starting point for your calculation. According to the feedback we receive we'll increase the number of models given to more reflect the demand. Please let us know? 

21. Can I update my stored projects with current costs?
The projects you have made and stored may have been on the server for some months. To refresh the costs to current levels just press refresh on the page and it will automatically update the costs. 

22. How can I introduce the regional variances in costs?
When you create a model in the 'my projects' section you enter the address and in the third box is a drop down menu which gives the option to select one of the twelve areas of the UK whose costs we monitor. You may select the area of your choice which will calculate your model based on the costs applicable for that region. 

23. I wish to print a copy of the stored project, how do I do this?
From the list of your stored projects you may select the one you wish to print. If required you may select 'refresh' to ensure the latest update of costs is applied before selecting print PDF. 

24. The picture is at variance from the description?
The pictures used on the site and book are intended to be generic illustrations and not necessarily of the model calculated. 

25. Can I add parts of a project together?
Yes, for example you could take an eight storey building and add in as another item two floors of under building parking or another item on the proposed site or just open a new project file and create another item. 

 






...