Determinants of Building Construction Costs in South Africa




Completing project within cost is the target of most clients on any construction project. However, the achievement of this desire is just an imagination in the construction industry, because procurement and execution environments for projects are hostile and unpredictable. This study examines the determinants of building construction costs in South Africa and whether changes in the cost of certain resource factors such as construction equipment, labour and materials can be related to changes in building construction costs. The study employs a longitudinal cross-sectional quantitative research design approach and makes use of literature review and historical data obtained from institutional and governmental databases to identify the determinants. The data collected were analysed using time series analysis to confirm the trends in the cost of the resource factors and its alignment to the changes in building construction cost. After that, it makes use of an appropriate predictive modelling tool or causal analysis in establishing the determinants of construction cost. The results show that the price indices of construction equipment (EI), labour (LI) and materials (MI) have a gentler slope when compared with the Building Cost Index (BCI). It also emerged that later levels of the BCI are significantly and positively related to EI. The findings infer that the key determinant of increase in building construction costs in South Africa is equipment costs. Contractors and public or private sector clients in South Africa must utilize construction equipment optimally on projects, and these pieces of equipment should not be left idle on project sites or plant yards. Appropriate provisions should be made of equipment utilization policies which allow the joint ownership of equipment by contractors to mitigate the problems of cost increases. There are widely unexamined assumptions as to what resource factors are responsible for the growth in building construction costs in South Africa. Also is the similar high risk and uncertainty affecting the South African construction industry as a result of these fluctuations. The results of the study extend the knowledge of the resource factors responsible for building construction costs increases.     


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Author Biography

Abimbola Windapo, University of Cape Town

Dr Abimbola Windapo is an Associate Professor at the Dept of Construction Economics & Management, University of Cape Town, with more than 28 years of experience in the construction field. She is a Registered Construction Project Manager with the SA Council for the Project & Construction Management Profession (SACPCMP) and Registered Builder with CORBON. Her research focus is in the area of construction industry development, business & project managemnt from a performance & practice perspective.




How to Cite

Windapo, A., Odediran, S., Moghayedi, A., Adediran, A., & Oliphant, D. (2017). Determinants of Building Construction Costs in South Africa. Journal of Construction Business and Management, 1(1), 8–13.