New York and San Francisco are the most expensive cities in the United States for construction, according to Arcadis’s 2020 International Construction Cost Index (ICC), produced by international design and consultancy firm Arcadis. Both are in the top five internationally, with London, Hong Kong, and Geneva leading the list overall.

The report also indicates an increased need for sustainable technologies and materials to help reduce buildings’ long-term carbon footprint. Beyond costs, the report focuses on emerging trends associated with climate change, highlighting work being done to reduce the environmental impacts of construction.

Download the full report.

The 10 most expensive cities for construction in the world are as follows:

  1. London
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Geneva
  4. New York
  5. San Francisco
  6. Zurich
  7. Copenhagen
  8. Tokyo
  9. Dublin
  10.  Macau.

Covering 100 of the world’s major cities across six continents, the ICC is based on a survey of construction costs, a review of market conditions, and the professional judgment of Arcadis’s global team.

“Fifteen years ago, we were exploring whether sustainable construction was even possible,” says David Hudd, North American cost consultancy director for Arcadis. “Now, we are not only implementing it, but implementing it regularly.”

Construction processes alone are responsible for nearly 12 percent of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Even though greenhouse gas emissions are dropping as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for the industry to focus on rethinking resilience amid climate change while plotting a course toward a carbon-neutral future remains unchanged.

“Sustainability is now more of a core value than an option,” says Hudd. “Be it using timber in lieu of concrete or solar panels for domestic hot water, constructing more sustainable, resilient buildings is a consistent expectation.”

While sustainable construction is sometimes perceived as more expensive, Hudd says it is an important part of where the industry is going and something that everyone will be adopting sooner than later.

“Technology, social responsibility, and public expectation are pushing more sustainability in construction. For example, almost every new construction project has some requirement for renewable energy,” Hudd says. “Even if it appears costlier upfront, the cost of inaction in the long run will be far greater.”

The 10 most expensive cities for construction in the United States are as follows:

  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Boston
  4. Philadelphia
  5. Seattle
  6. Chicago
  7. Los Angeles
  8. Las Vegas
  9. Washington, D.C.
  10.  Salt Lake City.