Sharing knowledge is an important motivation for me in promoting and further developing the cost management profession.

The story of Erik Schulte Fischedick

Not long after I joined Witteveen+Bos in 1999, I began learning all I could about cost management. It’s an overshadowed subject in engineering degrees, despite the fact that money is almost always central in business. You don’t learn how to calculate the costs of building a bridge or tunnel at university. That comes from practical experience. Sharing knowledge is an important motivator for me in promoting and further developing the cost management profession.

The Dutch Association of Construction Cost Experts, together with the HAN University of Applied Sciences in Arnhem and Nijmegen, has established the national Infrastructure Cost Expert degree to meet the current need for knowledge. It’s typically Dutch to want to calculate everything in the initial phase of a project and try to estimate what are usually regarded as uncertainties. In other countries, benchmarks are typically applied in early stages, creating a high chance of exceeding the budget.

With the International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS), a project has been started whose goal is to create a global standard which allows project construction costs to be compared. This standard is not intended to impose a set of rules, but rather make it possible to understand and discuss differences. We are providing input regarding ports, hydraulic engineering, dykes, dredging and immersed tunnels.

The European Council of Construction Economists has a project in which various countries draw up cost estimates for a fictitious office building. As well as differences between the respective economies, it showed, for example, that the cost of laying a foundation in Switzerland is lower than the cost for the same building in the Netherlands.