Last edited 09 Sep 2020

BCIS elements

BCIS is the Building Cost Information Service of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). It is described by RICS as ‘the leading provider of cost and price information to the construction industry and anyone else who needs comprehensive, accurate and independent data.’ It was established in 1961 to facilitate the preparation of elemental cost plans, where an 'element' is defined as, ‘a major physical part of a building that fulfils a specific function or functions, irrespective of its design, specification or construction’.

An elemental cost plan is a cost plan which is broken down into a series of elements. Initially, the elemental cost plan will simply be the total construction cost for the project divided into elements on a percentage basis. As the design becomes more detailed however, the elemental cost plan will be 'measured', based on the actual quantities of work and materials that will be required to construct the project.

The outline BCIS elements data structure is:

0 Facilitating Works

1 Substructure

2 Superstructure

3 Internal Finishes

4 Fittings, Furnishings and Equipment

5 Services

6 Prefabricated Buildings and Building Units

7 Work to Existing Building

8 External Works

9 Main Contractor’s Preliminaries

10 Main Contractor’s Overheads and Profit

11 Project/Design Team Fees

12 Other Development/Project Costs

13 Risk (Client’s Contingencies)

RICS state that the 4th (NRM) edition ‘has not sought to make radical changes to the elemental list, but to take account of some practical issues that have come to light in the drafting of measurement rules for designed elements and components for NRM1 and NRM3.

The use of the common elemental definitions and cost breakdown structure with the New Rules of Measurement for capital and maintenance cost will increase their usefulness to the profession and its clients and allow capital and lifecycle maintenance cost plans to be developed and analysed in the same format.’

NB: The New Rules of Measurement (NRM) are published by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). They provide a standard set of measurement rules for estimating, cost planning, procurement and whole-life costing for construction projects.

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