BCISM aims to become a central information center on construction costs for Malaysia

Before building a physical structure, it’s important to know how much you need to spend on materials and expertise. Due to the pandemic as well as the rising costs of materials, it is even more crucial to control costs to ensure that prices are always within reach of the customer. Building Cost Information Services Malaysia Sdn Bhd (BCISM) can help you in this endeavor.

Formed in July 2019, the BCISM is the result of a collaboration between the Malaysian Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and the Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (RISM).

“The mission of BCISM is to provide credible cost information to the Malaysian construction industry and also to promote transparency and more fair and competitive pricing, as well as to provide construction cost information and advice. on the economics of construction in government, which can be used for policy making. We also offer information on construction costs to the general public, ”said BCISM director Datuk Sri Kandan Kanagainthiram.

The partnership between the government agency and the professional body was made organically.

“For many years, RISM has regularly published information on construction costs through our own construction cost information center,” explains Sri Kandan.

“But being a volunteer-run organization, the information is not as complete or substantial as we would like. At the same time, the CIDB has published cost data for the past 15 years. And because it covers a broad spectrum of the construction industry, it would be best if the published cost information involved quantity surveyors or cost engineers as they are the custodian of construction costs by virtue of their profession.

Sri Kandan: BCISM’s mission is to provide credible cost information to the Malaysian construction industry and also to promote transparency and more fair and competitive prices (Photo by BCISM)

“CIDB released cost information through the N3C (National Center for Construction Costs) website, but the catalyst that started it was the Construction Industry Transformation Program, which ‘continued from 2016 to 2020.

“One of the main thrusts of the program was productivity – on how to improve productivity in the construction industry. And this is where reliable cost information has become an important tool for increasing productivity.

“Many of us quantity surveyors were part of working groups that worked on various aspects of the construction industry, one of which dealt with information on construction costs. Through this group it was felt that if we could have a better base and a better base then it would be better in terms of publishing this cost information.

“And because CIDB has the funding and RISM has the professionals who are involved in the construction costs, we thought it would be a good marriage if we put them together, and that’s how BCISM was born,” Sri Kandan explains.

Kwan: ​​It is important to look at the life cycle of the project and not just the cost of construction (Photo by BCISM)

All information in one place

Prior to the formation of BCISM, obtaining construction costs required researching various sources. However, ensuring that the data was up to date, credible and accurate was a problem.

According to BCISM Director Kwan Hock Hai, having all the information in one place increases efficiency and produces more accurate data. “Rather than collecting data from everywhere, here is a hub to validate the data collected, and if the data is wrong, it will be flagged and verified to make sure it is usable. Because if you don’t “clean” the data, it is virtually useless.

BCISM Director General Nazir Muhamad Nor explains that data validation is strict. Once the data is uploaded to the N3C system, the system will indicate if it is within a range of +/- 10%; otherwise, it will be marked with a red flag. Then, BCISM will check with CIDB for more details if the data is correct. Once everything has been checked and verified, the data is published. If for some reason an error is detected, the system is able to unpublish the data and re-publish the correct one.

According to Sri Kandian, Kwan and Nazir, a wide range of users can benefit from using BCISM information. They include government, clients / investors, developers, contractors, quantity surveyors, architects, suppliers, financiers, engineers, researchers, universities and academics.

The types of cost data available include building material prices, labor wage rates, machine rental rates, and equipment purchase prices. There are also cost and construction indices such as a building material cost index, a building labor cost index, and a construction machinery and equipment cost index.

Nazir says data validation is strict (Photo by BCISM)

Culture of collaboration for the greater good

BCISM offers three packages: free, basic and premium. The free plan provides limited but sufficient services for someone to get general information. By the end of the year, the Basic plan subscription is RM500 per year while the Premium service subscription is RM1,000 per year. Normal rates are 700 RM and 1,500 RM respectively. All the details of the services and subscriptions can be found on the MyN3C portal.

Looking ahead, Sri Kandan says the company hopes to include more services and products. One of those products is the life cycle cost.

“For customers abroad, the cost of construction is only part of the cost of living of a building. You also have the maintenance costs, which include repairs, renewals, modifications, etc. For example, with the pandemic, people have to adapt their premises to deal with Covid-19. All of these costs are very significant, ”he says.

Kwan agrees. “It’s important to look at the life cycle of the project and not just the cost of construction. Even before construction, [we need to know] on the origin of the product, the extraction of the product, the efficiency of the production of materials, etc. This is where the entire life cycle comes in. Apart from considering only the cost of construction and the benefits to be realized, we don’t think about other things like socio-economic aspects and our responsibility towards them. i think it’s something [we are looking into] for the long term.

In the future, BCISM also wants to provide construction cost forecasting services, which are not available at the moment, Sri Kandan said, adding that overall he hopes BCISM will help cultivate a culture. of collaboration for the greater good. of all.

” The ultimate goal [for BCISM] in the construction industry is to see how, on our small scale, we can build a better place, a better world and a better Malaysia for everyone, ”says Sri Kandan.

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