Completion dates in contracts are more wishful thinking than statement of fact. But what if you could predict the actual time it takes to construct buildings? We look at an aid that's supposed to transport clients and consultants into a more certain future.
How long will it really take to build? Clients everywhere are desperate to find out the answer to this simple question. But in many cases, predicting the duration of construction, and therefore the likely cost to the client, tends to be way off the mark. In fact the DTI's figures show that almost 40% of construction projects over ran their contact period in 2003.

The problem is that most historical information on project duration available to clients and consultants has been based on the time period stated in the contract and not on the actual time the project took to build. In other words, from the day work started on site to the date of practical completion when the building is handed over with only minor defects.

Now the RICS' Building Cost Information Service has produced a guide on the actual time taken to construct a building based on its cost and a few key project variables, such as procurement route, client type, project sector, building function and region (all of these are listed in the table opposite). To keep things simple, the guide includes a CD, which allows users to predict the likely construction time for their building.

For a copy of the guide and CD, contact BCIS through their web site at