​​​​​​​Elemental cost classifications

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Note

17 Feb 2021: ArchSD Standard Method of Measurement for Building Elements Edition updated. Comments on NRM 1 added. Section on floor areas added.

17 Mar 2020: Created.

​​​​​​​Elemental cost classifications

  1. Such classification systems divide the costs of a construction project into various parts ("elements") each serving a specific function or common purpose such that the costs of alternatives serving the same function or purpose can be compared, evaluated and selected irrespective of their design, specification, materials or construction.
  2. Classifying the costs of a building (or other construction) into elements would facilitate: 
    ​把樓宇(或其他建設)的造價按功能分部分拆可利於:
    • Comparison of the costs of different design options serving the same elemental function 
      達到同一功能的不同設計方案按功能分部的造價比較
    • Comparison with costs of other projects by elements; 
      按功能分部與其他發展項目的造價比較
    • Rationalizing the budget allocation between different elements for better use 
      把投資按不同功能分部更合理地分配使用
    • Quicker estimating based on elemental quantities which are easier to measure 
      使用較易計算的功能分部數量加快估算
    • Analysis of data for different projects on the same basis and classification 
      以同一的基準及分類分析不同項目的資料
  3. Different QS practices and ArchSD have different elemental classifications.
    不同的測量師事務所及建築署有不同的功能分部分類方法
  4. ArchSD adopts the following Project Element Cost Model as described in the Standard Method of Measurement for Building Elements 2020 Edition published by the Architectural Services Department (https://www.archsd.gov.hk/media/426052/asdsmmbe_2020.pdf):​​​​​​​​​
  5. Many other places outside Hong Kong also have their own elemental cost classification systems, e.g.

Construction Floor Area and Gross Floor Area in Hong Kong

  1. Quantity Surveyors measure the construction floor area (CFA) in order to estimate the total construction cost of a building.

  2. Lands leased by the Government in Hong Kong are subject to limitation on the gross floor areas (lease GFA) of the buildings which may be built on the land. Some of the construction floor area is not accountable for the lease GFA. The Lands Department is responsible for the control. The Lands Department's Practice Note on Accountable and Non-Accountable GFA under Lease is available at https://www.landsd.gov.hk/en/images/doc/1998_1A_text.pdf.
  3. Building plans have to be submitted to the Buildings Department for approval and consent before construction. The gross floor areas (GFA) are also controlled by the Buildings Regulations. The Buildings Department's Practice Note on Calculation of Gross Floor Area and Non-accountable Gross Floor Area is available at https://www.bd.gov.hk/doc/en/resources/codes-and-references/practice-notes-and-circular-letters/pnap/APP/APP002.pdf.
  4. The Lands Department's Practice Note says while the Lands Department is usually prepared to follow the Buildings Department's ruling in exemptions from GFA calculations, it reserves its right and absolute discretion to do otherwise in individual cases.
  5. There are further complications due to the use of saleable area for residential properties. See Cap. 621 Residential Properties (First-hand Sales) Ordinance at https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/cap621.
  6. Search the internet for China's National Standard on Code of Measurement of Construction Floor Areas 《建筑工程建筑面积计算规范》(GB/T50353-2013) to appreciate the discounting and exclusion rules there. Find one with diagrams.
  7. The International Property Measurement Standards available at https://ipmsc.org/standards/ intend to unify the rules of measurement of various kinds of floor areas for different types of buildings. IPMS 1 (gross external floor area) and IPMS 2 (gross internal floor area) are referred to by ICMS (see below). They should be the same for all types of buildings, but because of the different types of publications of the various IPMS standards at different times, the text may vary. A consultation draft covering All Building Asset Classes is available at https://ipmsc.org/consultation/. It may be simpler to read this and appreciate the diagrammatic illustration. CFA in Hong Kong is close to IPMS 1 with one exception: accessible rooftop terraces are included in IPMS 1 but not in Hong Kong CFA.

(Section added, 17 Feb 2021)

International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS)

  1. International Construction Measurement Standards, 2nd Edition (https://icms-coalition.org/) is intended to standardise the elemental cost classification systems globally.
  2.  It covers also civil engineering works and life cycle costs.
  3. "elements" is called "Cost Groups" and "Cost Sub-Groups" in ICMS.
  4. Example Cost Code: 01.2.03.030 = Buildings: Construction Costs: Structure: Frames and slabs (above top of ground floor slabs)

Level 1: Projects and Sub-Projects

  • 2-digit cost code

01.

Buildings

08.

Pipelines

02.

Roads, runways and motorways

09.

Wells and boreholes

03.

Railways

10.

Power-generating plants

04.

Bridges

11.

Chemical plants

05.

Tunnels

12.

Refineries

06.

Waste water treatment works

13.

Dams and reservoirs

07.

Water treatment works

14.

Mines and quarries

Level 2: Cost Categories

  • 1-digit cost code

Cost code

Description

 

Life Cycle Cost (CC plus NPV of RC, OC, MC, and EC)

1.

Acquisition Costs (AC) [Part of Non- Construction Costs]

2.

Construction Costs (CC)

3.

Renewal Costs (RC)

4.

Operation Costs (OC)

5.

Maintenance Costs (MC)

6.

End of Life Costs (EC)

Acquisition Costs

  • 2-digit cost code for Cost Groups and 3-digit cost code for Cost Sub-Groups

Cost code

Description

1.

Level 2 Acquisition Costs (AC) (each Cost Sub-Group includes Risks Allowances)

 

Cost Group (Level 3)

 

Cost Sub-Group (Level 4)

 

 

01.

Site acquisition

01.010

Costs and premium required to procure site

01.020

Compensation to existing occupiers

01.030

Demolition, removal and modification of existing properties by way of payment to existing owners instead of carrying out physical work

01.040

Contributions for the preservation of heritage, culture and environment

01.050

Related fees to agents, lawyers, and the like

01.060

Related taxes and statutory charges

02.

Administrative, finance, legal and marketing expenses

02.010

Client’s general office overheads

02.020

Client’s project-specific administrative expenses:

010 – in-house project management and design team

020 – supporting project staff

030 – project office venue, furniture and equipment if not included in Constructor’s preliminaries | site overheads

040 – stores and workshops

050 – safety and insurances

060 – staff training

070 – accommodation and travelling expenses for in-house team and external parties

02.030

Interest and finance costs

02.040

Legal expenses

02.050

Accounting expenses

02.060

Sales, leasing, marketing, advertising and promotional expenses

02.070

Taxes and statutory charges related to sales and lease

02.080

License and permit charges for operation and use

Construction | Renewal | Maintenance Costs of Buildings

  • 2-digit cost code for Cost Groups and 3-digit cost code for Cost Sub-Groups

Cost code

Description

2.

Level 2 Cost Category - Construction Costs (CC)

3.

Level 2 Cost Category - Renewal Costs (RC)

5.

Level 2 Cost Category - Maintenance Costs (MC)

 

(CC, RC, and MC share the same Cost Groups below, so far as applicable. Those separated by ‘|’ in [ ] are respective alternative terms.)

 

Cost Group (Level 3)

 

Cost Sub-Group (Level 4)

 

 

01.

Demolition, site preparation and formation

01.010

Site survey and ground investigation

01.020

Environmental treatment

01.030

Sampling of hazardous or useful materials or conditions

01.040

Temporary fencing

01.050

Demolition of existing buildings and support to adjacent structures

01.060

Site surface clearance (clearing, grubbing, topsoil stripping, tree felling, minor earthwork, removal)

01.070

Tree transplant

01.080

Site formation and slope treatment

01.090

Temporary surface drainage and dewatering

01.100

Temporary protection, diversion and relocation of public utilities

01.110

Erosion control

02.

Substructure

02.010

Foundation piling and underpinning:

010 – mobilisation and demobilisation

020 – trial piles and caisson

030 – permanent piles and caisson

040 – pile and caisson testing

050 – underpinning

02.020

Foundations up to top of lowest floor slabs:

010 – excavation and disposal

020 – lateral supports

030 – raft footings, pile caps, column bases, wall footings, strap beams, tie beams

040 – substructure walls and columns

050 – lowest floor slabs and beams (excluding basement bottom slabs)

060 – lift pits

070 – composite or prefabricated work

02.030

Basement sides and bottom:

010 – excavation and disposal

020 – lateral supports

030 – bottom slabs and blinding

040 – sides

050 – vertical waterproof tanking, drainage blanket, drains and skin wall

060 – horizontal waterproof tanking, drainage blanket, drains and topping slab

070 – insulation

080 – lift pits, sump pits, sleeves

090 – composite or prefabricated work

03.

Structure

03.010

Structural removal and alterations

03.020

Basement suspended floors (up to top of ground floor slabs):

010 – structural walls and columns

020 – beams and slabs

030 – staircases

03.030

Frames and slabs (above top of ground floor slabs):

010 – structural walls and columns

020 – upper floor beams and slabs

030 – roof beams and slabs

040 – staircases

050 – fireproofing to steel structure

03.040

Tanks, pools, sundries

03.050

Composite or prefabricated work

04.

Architectural works | Non-structural works

04.010

Non-structural removal and alterations

04.020

External elevations:

010 – non-structural external walls and features

020 – external wall finishes except cladding

030 – facade cladding and curtain walls

040 – external windows

050 – external doors

060 – external shop fronts

070 – roller shutters and fire shutters

04.030

Roof finishes, skylights and landscaping (including waterproofing and insulation):

010 – roof finishes

020 – skylights

030 – other roof features

040 – roof landscaping (hard and soft)

04.040

Internal divisions:

010 – non-structural internal walls and partitions

020 – shop fronts

030 – toilet cubicles

040 – moveable partitions

050 – cold rooms

060 – internal doors

070 – internal windows

080 – roller shutters and fire shutters

090 – sundry concrete work

04.050

Fittings and sundries:

010 – balustrades, railings and handrails

020 – staircases and catwalk not forming part of the structure, cat ladders

030 – cabinets, cupboards, shelves, counters, benches, notice boards, blackboards

040 – exit signs, directory signs

050 – window and door dressings

060 – decorative features

070 – interior landscaping

080 – access panels, fire service cabinets

090 – sundries

04.060

Finishes under cover:

010 – floor finishes (internal and external)

020 – internal wall finishes and cladding

030 – ceiling finishes and false ceilings (internal or external)

04.070

Builder’s work in connection with services:

010 – plinth, bases

020 – fire-proofing enclosure

030 – hoisting beams, lift pit separation screens, lift shaft separator beams

040 – suspended manholes

050 – cable trenches, trench covers

060 – sleeves, openings and the like not allowed for in ‘Fittings and sundries’

04.080

Composite or prefabricated work

05.

Services and equipment

05.010

Heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems/air conditioners:

010 – seawater system

020 – cooling water system

030 – chilled water system

040 – heating water system

050 – steam and condensate system

060 – fuel oil system

070 – water treatment

080 – air handling and distribution system

090 – condensate drain system

100 – unitary air-conditioning system

110 – mechanical ventilation system

120 – kitchen ventilation system

130 – fume and smoke extraction system

140 – anaesthetic gas-extraction system

150 – window and split-type air conditioners

160 – air-curtains

170 – fans

180 – related electrical and control systems

190 – submissions, testing and commissioning

05.020

Electrical services:

010 – high-voltage transformers and switchboards

020 – incoming mains, low-voltage transformers and switchboards

030 – mains and submains

040 – standby system

050 – lighting and power

060 – uninterruptible power supply

070 – electric underfloor heating

080 – local electrical heating units

090 – earthing/lightning protection and bonding

100 – submissions, testing and commissioning

05.030

Fitting out lighting fittings

05.040

Extra low voltage electrical services:

010 – information and communications technology system

020 – staff paging/location

030 – public address system

040 – building automation

050 – security and alarm

060 – close circuit television

070 – communal aerial broadcast distribution and the like

080 – submissions, testing and commissioning

05.050

Water supply and drainage above ground or inside basement:

010 – cold water supply

020 – hot water supply

030 – flushing water supply

040 – grey water supply

050 – cleansing water supply

060 – irrigation water supply

070 – rainwater disposal

080 – soil and waste disposal

090 – planter drainage disposal

100 – kitchen drainage disposal

110 – related electrical and control systems

120 – submissions, testing and commissioning

05.060

Supply of sanitary fittings and fixtures (installation included in ‘Water supply and above ground drainage’ unless not separable from costs of ‘Fittings and sundries’)

05.070

Disposal systems:

010 – refuse

020 – laboratory waste

030 – industrial waste

040 – incinerator

050 – submissions, testing and commissioning

05.080

Fire services:

010 – fire hydrant and hose reel system

020 – wet risers

030 – sprinkler system

040 – deluge system

050 – gaseous extinguishing system

060 – foam extinguishing system

070 – audio/visual advisory system

080 – automatic fire alarm and detection system

090 – portable hand-operated appliances and sundries

100 – related electrical and control systems

110 – submissions, testing and commissioning

05.090

Gas services:

010 – coal gas

020 – natural gas

030 – liquid petroleum gas

040 – medical gas/laboratory gas

050 – industrial gas/compressed air/instrument air

060 – vacuum

070 – steam

080 – submissions, testing and commissioning

05.100

Movement systems:

010 – lifts | elevators

020 – platform lifts

030 – escalators

040 – travellators | moving walkways

050 – conveyors

060 – submissions, testing and commissioning

05.110

Gondolas

05.120

Turntables

05.130

Generators

05.140

Energy-saving features

05.150

Water and waste water treatment equipment

05.160

Fountains, pools and filtration plant

05.170

Powered building signage

05.175

Audio/visual entertainment system

05.180

Kitchen equipment

05.190

Cold room equipment

05.200

Laboratory equipment

05.210

Medical equipment

05.220

Hotel equipment

05.230

Car park or entrances access control

05.240

Domestic appliances

05.250

Other specialist services

05.260

Builder’s profit and attendance on services

06.

Surface and underground drainage

06.010

Surface water drainage

06.020

Storm water drainage

06.030

Foul and waste water drainage

06.040

Drainage disconnections and connections

06.050

CCTV inspection of existing or new drains

06.060

Buried Process Pipe

07.

External and ancillary works

07.010

Permanent retaining structures

07.020

Site enclosures and divisions

07.030

Ancillary structures

07.040

Roads and paving

07.050

Landscaping (hard and soft)

07.060

Fittings and equipment

07.070

External services:

010 – water supply

020 – gas supply

030 – power supply

040 – communications supply

050 – external lighting

060 – utility disconnections and connections

08.

Preliminaries | Constructors’ site overheads | general requirements

08.010

Construction management including site management staff and support labour

08.020

Temporary access roads and storage areas, traffic management and diversion (at the Constructors’ discretion)

08.030

Temporary site fencing and securities

08.040

Commonly shared construction plant

08.050

Commonly shared scaffolding

08.060

Other temporary facilities and services

08.070

Technology and communications: telephone, broadband, hardware, software

08.080

Constructor’s submissions, reports and as-built documentation

08.090

Quality monitoring, recording and inspections

08.100

Safety, health and environmental management

08.110

Insurances, bonds, guarantees and warranties

08.120

Constructor’s statutory fees and charges

08.130

Testing and commissioning

09.

Risk Allowances

09.010

Design development allowance

09.020

Construction contingencies

09.030

Price Level adjustments:

010 – until tendering

020 – during construction

09.040

Exchange rate fluctuation adjustments

10.

Taxes and Levies

10.010

Paid by the Constructor

10.020

Paid by the Client in relation to the construction contract payments

11.

Work and utilities off-site (including related risk allowances, taxes and levies)

11.010

Connections to, diversion of and capacity enhancement of public utility mains or sources off-site up to mains connections on-site:

010 – electricity

020 – transformers

030 – water

040 – sewer

050 – gas

060 – telecommunications

11.020

Public access roads and footpaths

12.

Post-completion loose furniture, fittings and equipment (including related risk allowances, taxes and levies)

12.010

Production, process, operating and loose furniture, furnishing and equipment not normally provided before completion of construction

13.

Construction-related consultants and supervision (including related risk allowances, taxes and levies)

13.010

Consultants’ fees and reimbursable:

010 – architects (architectural, landscape, interior design, technical, etc.)

020 – engineers (geotechnical, civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing, technical, etc.)

030 – project managers

040 – surveyors (quantity surveying, land surveying, building surveying, cost engineering, etc.)

050 – specialist consultants (environmental, traffic, acoustic, facade, BIM, etc.)

060 – value management studies

13.020

Charges and levies payable to statutory bodies or their appointed agencies (in connection with planning, design, tender and contract approvals, supervision and acceptance inspections)

13.030

Site supervision charges (including their accommodation and travels)

13.040

Payments to testing authorities or laboratories

Construction | Renewal | Maintenance Costs of Civil Engineering Works

  • 2-digit cost code for Cost Groups and 3-digit cost code for Cost Sub-Groups

Cost code

Description

2.

Level 2 Cost Category - Construction Costs (CC)

3.

Level 2 Cost Category - Renewal Costs (RC)

5.

Level 2 Cost Category - Maintenance Costs (MC)

 

(CC, RC, and MC share the same Cost Groups below, so far as applicable. Those separated by ‘|’ in [ ] are respective alternative terms.)

 

Cost Group (Level 3)

 

Cost Sub-Group (Level 4)

 

 

01.

Demolition, site preparation and formation

01.010

Site survey and ground investigation

01.020

Environmental treatment

01.030

Sampling of hazardous or useful materials or conditions

01.040

Temporary fencing

01.050

Demolition of existing structures and support to adjacent structures

01.060

Site surface clearance (clearing, grubbing, topsoil stripping, tree felling, minor earthwork, removal)

01.070

Tree transplant

01.080

General site formation and slope treatment

01.090

Temporary surface drainage and dewatering

01.100

Temporary access roads and storage areas (provided under an advance contract)

01.110

Temporary protection, diversion and relocation of public utilities

01.120

Erosion control

02.

Substructure

02.010

Embankments/cuttings

02.020

Excavation, disposal and lateral supports (specifically to receive any substructure construction but excluding general site formation and slope treatment)

02.030

Trenching

02.040

Drilling/boring

02.050

Piling/anchoring

02.060

Structural backfill/ground remediation

02.070

Earth-retaining structures

02.080

Abutments/wing walls

02.090

Pile caps/footings/bases (nearest to the ground level or water level if constructed in water)

02.100

Sub-base to pavements and rail track structures

02.110

Bases to supports for tanks, pipes, well heads and the like

02.120

Beds and surrounds to underground pipes

03.

Structure

03.010

Piers and towers

03.020

Suspension system

03.030

Decks

03.040

Bearings

03.050

Tunnel lining

03.060

Road/track base

03.070

Pavement

03.080

Service roads and approaches

03.090

Parapets/edge treatment

03.100

Main structures

03.110

Tanks, rigs, storage containers and the like

03.120

Supports for tanks, pipes and the like

03.130

Civil pipework

03.140

Valves and fittings

04.

Non-structural works

04.010

Non-structural removal and alterations

04.020

Non-structural construction

04.030

Running surface

04.040

Signage, markings and the like

04.050

Gantries and the like

04.060

Safety facilities

04.070

Barriers/rails and means of access

04.080

Special equipment and fittings

04.090

Interior landscaping

04.100

Builders’ work in connection with services

05.

Services and equipment

05.010

Mechanical systems

05.020

Lighting systems

05.030

Illuminations

05.040

Low-voltage power supply

05.050

High-voltage power supply

05.060

Cables/cable trays

05.070

Other electrical services

05.080

Control systems and instrumentation

05.090

Pipe racks/supports

05.100

Water supply and drainage above ground or inside underground construction

05.110

Fire services

05.120

Movement systems: lifts/ elevators/ conveyors

06.

Surface and underground drainage

06.010

Surface water drainage

06.020

Storm water drainage

06.030

Foul and waste water drainage

06.040

Pumping systems

06.050

Drainage connections

07.

External and ancillary works

07.010

Site enclosures and divisions

07.020

Ancillary structures

07.030

Roads and paving (not amounting to a Sub- Project)

07.040

Landscaping (hard and soft)

07.050

Fittings and equipment

08.

Preliminaries | Constructors’ site overheads | general requirements

08.010

Construction management including site management staff and support labour

08.020

Temporary access roads and storage areas, traffic management and diversion (at the Constructors’ discretion)

08.030

Temporary site fencing and securities

08.040

Commonly shared construction plant

08.050

Commonly shared scaffolding

08.060

Other temporary facilities and services

08.070

Technology and communications: telephone,  broadband, hardware, software

08.080

Constructor’s submissions, reports and as-built documentation

08.090

Quality monitoring, recording and inspections

08.100

Safety, health and environmental management

08.110

Insurances, bonds, guarantees and warranties

08.120

Constructor’s statutory fees and charges

08.130

Testing and commissioning

09.

Risk Allowances

09.010

Design development allowance

09.020

Construction contingencies

09.030

 

 

Price level adjustments

010 – until tendering

020 – during construction

09.040

Exchange rate fluctuation adjustments

10.

Taxes and Levies

10.010

Paid by the Constructors

10.020

Paid by the Client in relation to the construction contract payments

11.

Work and utilities off-site (including related risk allowances, taxes and levies)

11.010

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connections to, diversion of and capacity enhancement of public utility mains or sources off-site up to mains connections on-site:

010 – electricity

020 – transformers

030 – water

040 – sewer

050 – gas

060 – telecommunications

11.020

Public access roads and footpaths

12.

Post-completion loose furniture, fittings and equipment (including related risk allowances, taxes and levies)

12.010

Production, process, operating and loose furniture, furnishing and equipment not normally provided before completion of construction

13.

Construction-related consultants and supervision (including related risk allowances, taxes and levies)

13.010

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consultants’ fees and reimbursable:

010 – architects (architectural, landscape, interior design, technical, etc.)

020 – engineers (geotechnical, civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing, technical, etc.)

030 – project managers

040 – surveyors (quantity surveying, land surveying, building surveying, cost engineering, etc.)

050 – specialist consultants (environmental, traffic, acoustic, facade, BIM, etc.)

060 – value management studies

13.020

Charges and levies payable to statutory bodies or their appointed agencies (in connection with planning, design, tender and contract approvals, supervision and acceptance inspections)

13.030

Site supervision charges (including their accommodation and travels)

13.040

Payments to testing authorities or laboratories

Operation Costs

  • 2-digit cost code for Cost Groups and 3-digit cost code for Cost Sub-Groups

Cost code

Description

4.

Level 2 Cost Category - Operation Costs (OC)

 

Cost Group (Level 3)

 

Cost Sub-Group (Level 4)

 

 

01.

Cleaning

01.010

External cleaning (routine and periodic)

01.020

Internal cleaning (routine and periodic)

01.030

Specialist cleaning (define type)

02.

Utilities

02.0100

Fuel (state type: gas/electricity/oil and other fuel sources)

02.02

Water, drainage and sewerage

03.

Waste management

03.010

Waste collection and disposal

03.020

Recycling and savage

04.

Security

04.010

Physical security

04.020

Remote monitoring

05.

Information and communications technology

05.010

Communication systems

05.020

Specialist technology / sensors

06.

Operators’ site overheads | general requirements

06.010

Administration

06.020

Property insurance

07.

Risk Allowances

07.010

Operation related (user definable)

07.020

Contractual obligations

08.

Taxes and Levies

08.010

Taxes

08.020

Levies

End of Life Costs

  • 2-digit cost code for Cost Groups and 3-digit cost code for Cost Sub-Groups

Cost code

Description

6.

Level 2 Cost Category - End of Life Costs (EC)

 

Cost Group (Level 3)

 

Cost Sub-Group (Level 4)

 

 

01.

Disposal inspection

01.010

Dilapidations report

01.020

Contractual handback obligations

02.

Decommissioning and decontamination

02.010

Shutdowns and decommissioning

02.020

Decontamination

03.

Demolition, reclamation and salvage

03.010

Demolition

03.020

Reclamation

03.030

Salvage

04.

Reinstatement

04.010

Agreed reinstatement works

04.020

Contractual obligations

05.

Constructors’ site overheads | general requirements

05.010

Administration

05.020

Overheads (project specific)

06.

Risk Allowances

06.010

End of life specific (user definable)

06.020

Abnormal risks (user definable)

07.

Taxes and Levies

07.010

Taxes

07.020

Levies

07.030

Credit for grants

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