Where does the money go? Economic flow analysis of construction projects

Dimitra Ioannidou, Stefano Zerbi, Borja García de Soto, Guillaume Habert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new approach is introduced for analysing the economic flows in a construction project that will complement the existing methods. The main focus of the new method is to trace the flow of costs in the project and identify their spatial characteristics as well as who are the final recipients. This type of analysis highlights the flow of costs of the specific project in the local economy. It can be used for decision-making purposes from the project-commissioning party. Costs were divided into six categories, namely: labour, materials, energy, office overheads, taxes and personnel, and into two levels: local and national. Three case studies of stone and reinforced concrete structures were selected and analysed to test the application of this method. The case studies showed that this method and the representation by a Sankey diagram can provide useful insights regarding both the spatialized distribution of the cost of a project and the economic flows going to direct labour versus overhead and taxes. For future projects, local authorities or developers can select the most economically suitable strategy maximizing the income of the local community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-366
Number of pages19
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 19 2018


  • built environment
  • construction costs
  • development
  • economic flows
  • labour
  • local development
  • local economy
  • localization
  • material flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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