International Construction Costs 2018

Tackling costs in the digital age

Who takes the lead for relative cost of construction in 50 of the world’s leading cities?

The relative ranking of Australian cities against 47 other global cities in the latest Arcadis International Construction Costs report reflects that growth narrative, with Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne sitting in the top half of those analysed for cost of construction. Australia’s construction costs have been traditionally high in comparison to other global cities due to the country’s geographic isolation. Compared to Europe and the Americas, there is far less private sector competition to complete construction work and these companies import most of their construction materials, which can fluctuate in price significantly due to the impact of the strength of the Australian dollar and taxes.

Read the report to find out how the changing costs have Australia’s biggest cities, and how cost certainty through digitally enabled techniques can help.

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International Construction Cost Comparison, Location Factor Index

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Spotlight on Australian cities 

For the first time this year, three Australian cities have been included in the International Construction Cost report, allowing us to compare cost of construction not only internationally, but at a local level. 

Click the hotspots to read a short overview, and download the report for a full  construction cost profile on each city.

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At number 22, Brisbane is currently one of the most affordable Australian cities in which to build. Brisbane has experienced three years of gradual but steady growth following the collapse of the Natural Resources Boom, however this may be set to change in the next year as we begin to see the city’s construction cycle slowing, predominantly linked with the slowing down of the former apartment construction boom.


At number 21, Melbourne is Australia's second most expensive city in which to build. The city’s development profile mirrors Sydney’s, particularly in relation to apartment construction and government-funded infrastructure, which continues to underpin city growth. Unprecedented infrastructure investment in road and rail by the Victorian Government will likely keep a strong pipeline of work through to early 2023.


Sydney sits at number 19 in this year’s construction cost ranking, and is therefore the most expensive Australian city in which to build. This is reflective of just how buoyant the city’s construction industry is across the commercial, retail and infrastructure sectors, with apartment construction continuing to be one of the city’s strongest performers.

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Matthew Mackey

Director - Cost & Commercial Ask me a question

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