The term ‘cost’ in the construction industry generally refers to the amount that has to (or will have to) be paid to receive goods or services. It may also have wider interpretations, such as the environmental cost or the social cost of a particular purchase or action, lifecycle costs (rather than capital costs) and so on.
Generally cost is not fixed. There is uncertainty at the beginning of a project about precisely what is required, and whilst this is clarified as the project proceeds and more decisions are made, even when a firm price has been accepted from suppliers, this is likely to change as a result of variations to requirements, events such as exceptionally adverse weather (relevant events), the rate of inflation (fluctuations) and so on.
There are a number of key articles about cost on Designing Buildings Wiki, and each one includes links to further, more detailed information:
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