Building Trust is Key to Successful Infrastructure Projects

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  • Lack of accurate project budget information, project progress and cashflow data during execution can cause distrust among key stakeholders.
  • International standards are necessary to ensure that benchmarks are being met, and best practices are being followed.
  • RICS, alongside a coalition of 46 professional organizations have developed International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) to harmonize global cost reporting across markets, regions and sub-sectors.

High performing infrastructure is an enabler for growth, prosperity and the well-being of citizens. Even if infrastructure delivery is a priority for governments, there are often concerns about delays and transparency regarding infrastructure projects, programs and portfolios. That is why governments should insist that International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) are followed.

There is an issue with the provisioning of accurate and timely project information to policy makers and government decision makers. Lack of accurate project budget information upfront, as well as project progress and cashflow data during execution can cause distrust among key stakeholders in the infrastructure delivery value chain.

Some of this distrust stems from the absence of international standards in project management and commercial management of infrastructure projects. Without consistent and internationally-agreed upon industry standards, neither project sponsors nor owners are able to ensure that benchmarks are being met, and that best practices are being followed. Definitions and common practices differ across the country muddying contracts where they should be transparent. Moreover, data is not collected and reported in a standard, consistent and comparable form.

Standards that yield efficient project selection, project delivery, project control, reduction in operating costs, usable benchmarks and enhance asset performance must be adopted. Following the international standard is the first step in creating a seamless, global, hierarchy of construction cost classification that connects a high-level globally agreed cost structure to a granular, local cost measurement and classification system.

ICMS was developed by a coalition of 47 professional bodies, including RICS, to harmonize global cost reporting across markets, regions and sub-sectors. By insisting project stakeholders adopt these transparent standards, governments can better monitor projects and ensure value for money is being delivered.


“Standards that yield efficient project selection, project delivery, project control, reduction in operating costs, usable benchmarks and enhance asset performance must be adopted.” – Anil Sawhney, director of the infrastructure sector, RICS


Communication, collaboration and coordination is key

A critical step in the successful delivery of a mega-project is stakeholder management, especially public engagement. If the public is fully informed and engaged from the start of a project, the project avoids political controversy and public distrust during construction and operation. RICS strongly encourages stakeholder management and provides professional guidance on stakeholder engagement.

Additionally, an informed infrastructure client can navigate these issues and provide the project leadership that is crucial in the delivery of large-scale projects through RICS’ professional guidance for project owners.

By putting international standards in place and adopting efficient project delivery and commercial management models and systems, the sector can start accounting for the social value of infrastructure projects and assets, as well as provide a holistic appraisal of their impact on society. Incorporating social value into the analysis will help improve project selection and project formulation, leading to the improved operational performance of infrastructure assets.

The infrastructure sector can continue to enhance its output through the incorporation of education and qualifications standards, embedding ethics, and enhanced use digital technologies.

RICS promotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards in the valuation, development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. Our name promises the consistent delivery of standards – bringing confidence to markets and effecting positive change in the built and natural environments.  Sign up to hear more by e-mail from RICS.

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