An Analysis Of Construction Costs In The Region

Construction costs in the Caribbean region vary depending on the island or country. In the first quarter of 2010, BCQS completed a comprehensive review of construction costs likely to efffect the cost of construction in several English and Dutch speaking countries. This included cost of utilities, materials and labour. The cost indices will be published […]

By Sanjay Amin

June 23, 2010

Construction costs in the Caribbean region vary depending on the island or country. In the first quarter of 2010, BCQS completed a comprehensive review of construction costs likely to efffect the cost of construction in several English and Dutch speaking countries. This included cost of utilities, materials and labour.

The cost indices will be published bi-annually which will be invaluable to fellow professionals, builders and developers as well as those considering building a home of their own. The indices will not only show escalation costs for building materials, plant and labour reflecting market trends, but will also consolidate useful information on general costs per square foot of various types of construction.

At BCQS, we have identified a need for clear and concise information on construction costs in order that Clients may make informed decisions at the feasibility stage of their projects. As a company, we have decided to share this information in order to encourage informed development within the region which we hope will foster new relationships and be of benefit to the Caribbean construction industry as a whole.

What has become clear is that there is a great variance between our ten chosen jurisdictions in terms of construction costs and subsequent rental and sales values. A pattern emerges generally in that the higher the country’s GDP/head, the higher the construction cost and in turn the higher the rental or sales value upon completion.

With regards to Barbados, the results are summarised in the bar charts below.

  • What transpires is that whlst the construction costs in Barbados are relatively high, the cost of utilities compared to other countries is low. The cost of water per gallon is US$0.01 per gallon whilst in Cayman and Curacao, the cost is $0.019 and $0.031 per gallon respectively. Electricity is US$0.11/kwh in Barbados and US$0.29 in Jamaica and US$0.34 per kwh in Trinidad.
  • Import duty on luxury goods is one of the highest in the region but stamp duty on property transfer at 1% is one of the lowest.
  • Labour costs in Barbados are higher than most jurisdictions apart from the British terriorties such as Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.
  • The construction costs per square foot for offices and high-end condominiums is also higher than most countries with the exception of the UK territories but the sales values are also higher.

In summary, it is apparent that whilst the cost of utilities is relatively low, the cost of labour, materials and other indirect costs are high and this results in construction costs being higher than in most other countries.

For more detailed analysis and a copy of the report, refer to www.bcqs.com.

Sanjay Amin

Sanjay Amin FRICS ACIArb - Chartered Surveyor, BCQS International is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and a director of BCQS International. He was educated in Kenya and the United Kingdom where he completed his secondary education at Durham School before undertaking a degree in Quantity Surveying at Newcastle Upon Tyne. Following graduation, he worked in London for Gardiner & Theobald, one of the largest firms of Chartered Quantity Surveyors in the world, gaining experience on a variety of commercial, retail and educational projects including offices, business parks, warehouses, industrial developments, shopping centres and leisure centres. After 12 years, he left Gardiner & Theobald in 1997 as an Associate Partner to open BCQS's office in the British Virgin Islands. In 2002, Sanjay and his fellow Directors decided to open an office in Barbados. In 2006, Sanjay moved to Barbados with his family to expand the company's operations. In January 2011 under Sanjay's guidance, BCQS opened an office in Trinidad. Sanjay's experience in the Caribbean includes managing a variety of commercial, residential, resort, airport, hospital and industrial projects in Barbados, Trinidad and the Eastern Caribbean. Further information on these projects can be found on www.bcqs.com. Sanjay Amin's other key qualifications and skills are listed below: Specialist in design and build projects in the United Kingdom. Specialist in whole life costing of materials in the United Kingdom (Life cycle costs). Member of the steering committee on concrete structures in the United Kingdom. Club Service Director of Rotary Club of Tortola (2004 - 2005). Member of the Rotary Club of Barbados (current). Assessor for membership into the RICS. Chairman of the RICS Caribbean Board (2010 - Current). Voluntary mission to Haiti on behalf of the RICS (2009). Current member of the RICS Americas Construction Council. Member of the RICS Global Governing Council (2013-2017).

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