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Cost benchmarking lifts off baa has worked with Franklin + Andrews to produce a valuable guide to the cost of building terminals BY RUTH SLAVID

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If you want to refurbish an airport building, how do the costs break down? What percentage of the cost should you expect to go on the shell and core, and what percentage on the perimeter works? What is the range of sums you should expect to pay per square metre on the structure, and is there a benchmark figure? What should you pay for an escalator? And are the costs the same all over the country?

Because baa is such a demanding and well-organised customer, this is exactly the sort of information that any architect working for it ought to have at their fingertips. And because baa is so demanding and well- organised, this information is now available.

With cost consultant Franklin + Andrews, the authority has produced Little Black Book: Construction Benchmarks Airport Terminal Buildings. This adopts the format of a previous Franklin + Andrews publication (The Little Black Book: a Guide to Construction Costs) that is far less specific and more wide-ranging, allowing the reader to discover, for example, that Ghana is the most expensive African country in which to work, and Kenya the cheapest, or that the costs of demountable internal walls can easily be treble those of permanent internal walls.

The airport publication, on the other hand, is restricted to the uk, and looks specifically at the kind of work that is done at uk airports. It has been produced 'to assist baa in monitoring and benchmarking costs and will prove to be an invaluable reference for those involved in estimating costs for terminal building developments'.

The guide is broken down into:

new build costs

refurbishment costs

remodel costs

facility costs

component costs.

It uses data both garnered from Franklin + Andrews' own experience and derived from completed baa projects.

There is a considerable degree of detail and a concern with accuracy. New build, for example, is defined as: 'Any construction work which may be considered as independent of or attached to an existing structure. With the exception of service supplies, any work which is executed as part of the overall development and is carried out within the existing building will form part of a refurbishment or remodelling project.'

It then breaks down the new-build work into:

group analysis

shell and core


perimetric works.

The group analysis determines that the typical breakdown will be:

shell and core 43 per cent

fit-out 54 per cent

perimetric works 3 per cent.

It breaks down each of these on a per m2 basis into:

base cost

cost drivers


on costs

and gives a benchmark figure for the base cost of each.

It then breaks each element down further. For example, under shell and core it gives a range of typical costs for

enabling works




external services

and gives a benchmark figure for each of these.

The book gives a similar analysis for the other elements of a new building, and then carries out a similar exercise for refurbishment and remodelling.

Under 'facility costs' the document considers terminal buildings which it breaks down into:

buildings and extensions

satellites and piers

cip (commercially important persons) lounge

retail/ commercial

arrivals concourse

abaggage reclaim hall refurbishment

stands and transfer buildings

passenger handling.

The section on components covers:

check-in desks and display monitors

flight information systems


The degree of detail is indicated by the fact that, for this last element, costs per linear metre are given for four different rises.

The appendices include inflation factors, and also location factors around the uk. For example, with Heathrow rated at 100, even nearby Gatwick rates only at 95. The two cheapest locations are Aberdeen and Edinburgh, both scoring 85.

The benchmarking of costs throughout is perhaps the most valuable element, both for initial estimating and for subsequent measurement of performance. Although the charts give wide ranges of costs for most elements, there must be a good reason for exceeding the benchmark - particularly difficult circumstances, or a very special demand for extra quality. Franklin + Andrews has done an excellent job with BAA. Let us hope it will be able to address other sectors in a similar way.

Copies of Little Black Book: Construction Benchmarks, Airport Terminal Buildings are available from Franklin + Andrews, Sea Containers House, 20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9LZ, tel 0171 633 9966, email: michelle.swales@franklindrews.com

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