July 15, 2019

Rawlinsons wrote the book on Construction Costs ... literally

Around 38 years ago the Directors at Rawlinsons, a Quantity Surveying and Construction Cost Management firm, already well established in its then 28th year of operation, identified a gap in the market for an all inclusive construction cost reference guide.

Following further research they decided to take the plunge, and, in 1983, launched an extensive national publication satisfying this need across the whole of Australia. The Rawlinsons Australian Construction Handbook was the first of its kind and, little did they know, would become the cornerstone of construction cost estimating over the years to come.

A decade later, following the success of the Handbook, a second publication was launched, the Cost Guide. Aimed at project costs under $1.5 million, this smaller publication filled the space in the market for residential and domestic nature projects.

Now, there is an enormous amount of data in these publications, and it is not compiled lightly, nor quickly. Rawlinsons Editor and Publishing Director, Matthew Roddis, is in charge of the research, calculation, compilation and editing of the information contained in these annual publications. With assistance from respected construction industry professionals, Matthew thoroughly investigates and researches current and perceived trends in the market and then builds rates from material cost, labour norms and labour rates. The calculated rate is reviewed against the tender return trend and the supplier ‘state of the market'. Tender returns are then reviewed so that the current construction trends can be ascertained. As a final check process, tenders are priced based on the Detailed Prices, then reviewed after the tenders have been returned.

There are multifarious benefits to using the Rawlinsons Construction Cost publications. Essentially, they are a cost control tool beneficial from the inception of a project, right through to project completion and handover.

There are various sections in the publications, tailored for each construction stage. For example, during the early stages of concept and feasibility when there is limited information available, the cost per sqm section is used in order to establish a project budget. A benchmark rate per sqm of the building is determined by parameters such as building function and size of development, as well as the quality of finish required. This produces a realistic budget estimate at an early conceptual stage.

As a project progresses through concept design to schematic design and more information on the building layout and level of finishes becomes available, the comparative rates section is used to accurately estimate the overall cost of a project. As the design develops, this ensures that the refined cost estimate can be reviewed against the original budget. Additionally, at this point in the project, value engineering options can provide choices in terms of the standards of finishes required. Finally, progressing into the contract documentation stage, the detailed pricing section is used at project tender to accurately price each individual unit of work, enabling a detailed and accurate pre-tender estimate for individual trades.

Aside from the use of the cost guides for estimating, the publications also contains a vast array of sundry information on construction topics such as contractual procedures and conditions of contract, estimated construction time frames, information on current tax depreciation regulations and requirements, replacement insurance valuations and environmentally sustainable costs.

Rawlinsons customer base covers a plethora of construction industry professionals including; Quantity Surveyors, Architects, Designers, Engineers, Builders and Property Valuers. Not just limited to the Construction Industry, the extensive customer base also includes Lawyers, state and local government bodies, insurance companies and educational establishments.

Proudly Western Australian owned and published, Rawlinsons Australian Construction Handbook and Construction Cost Guide are industry staples.

Rawlinsons, quite simply, wrote the book... and it has stood the test of time.

Written by
Kirsty Maxted for Rawlinsons