Savills building and project consultancy launches Programme and Cost Sentiment Survey

06 July 2016

A new quarterly research report by Savills building and project consultancy team has revealed that build and fit-out costs have risen across all sectors and geographies for Q3 2016, whilst overall project delivery has quickened.

The Savills Programme and Cost Sentiment Survey (S.P.E.C.S) will track sentiment regarding the cost of construction, costs of fit-out and the associated time-scales for all grades and geographies for commercial and residential real estate across the UK.

Simon Collett, head of building and project consultancy at Savills, comments: “Our first edition of S.P.E.C.S highlights how current macro events are impacting the construction industry. Cost increases are generally stabilising whereas timescales for larger projects are moving out faster in comparison to smaller schemes. The impact of Brexit will take a number of months to filter into our scores as the direction of any change remains to be seen.”

Central London
For central London contractor availability has become a key issue. Demand for services is high, but supply is being constrained due to an ongoing skills shortage meaning at present, contractors are dictating procurement routes to clients. Using data from Gardiner & Theobald, for this reason it is expected that UK average rates of tender price inflation to remain at 4% for 2016 and 3.5% for 2017, before levelling off in 2018.

Paul Davies, director of building and project consultancy in the City office team at Savills, adds: “In the coming months we do not expect Brexit to have any immediate impact on the predicted tender price inflation, but timescales and workloads could be impacted as occupiers and developers react.”

Regional offices
Across other sectors, Savills notes that the regional office market is also experiencing upward pricing pressure, with new build and heavy refurbishment projects slower coming to site due to clients ensuring existing projects are completed by Q3 2016.

Retail costs are also increasing, which can be attributed to the high quality of fit-outs being undertaken, particularly for shopping centres. In contrast, there has been a decrease in lead in times driven by competition for prime pitches and smarter working by fit-out contractors.

A more fully supplied prime central London pipeline has led developers to focus more on outer London locations.  Here, much of the capacity is being met by housebuilders creating relatively little call on contractors.  Furthermore, less competitive demand from developers for contractors has seen cost price inflation come off over recent months, particularly in central London.  This means that contractors are less able to pick and choose between projects and have shifted away from demanding negotiated contracts.  This is leading to some improvement in development timescales, though planning and absorption rates will still dictate timings.

In regards to logistics, steel tonnage costs have gone up by £90 per tonne. The material price increase of steel combined with buoyancy in the market has meant an increase in overheads and profit levels, resulting in an upward cost trajectory across the different warehouse size bands for the foreseeable future. With steelwork lead in periods ranging between 14 to 20 weeks, there has been a significant impact on programme timescales.

Kevin Mofid, director of research at Savills, adds: “This is a truly unique index that will be of particular value to investors and developers concerned about when to start new construction or refurbishment, as well as occupiers considering the fit-out of new space. Now more than ever, people will be scrutinising costs and associated time-scales to ensure that the right decision is being made in regards to their development or existing property.”


General Enquiries

Head Office London


Key Contacts

Simon Collett

Simon Collett

Head of Professional Services
Building & Project Consultancy

Head Office London

+44 (0) 20 7409 5951


Paul Davies

Paul Davies

Building & Project Consultancy

Finsbury Circus House

+44 (0) 20 7409 8992