Benchmark Infrastructure Costings

About the Benchmark Infrastructure Costings

When land is developed for urban purposes new or upgraded infrastructure is needed to support the new development and its future communities. Infrastructure contributions paid by developers help fund basic and essential infrastructure for new and growing communities, such as local roads, community centres, kindergartens, maternal and child health facilities, local parks and sporting facilities.

An infrastructure contributions plan (ICP) is a statutory document incorporated in a planning scheme for the purposes of imposing infrastructure contributions to fund the provision of infrastructure and secure land for public purposes. For more information on ICPs, refer to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning webpage.

When preparing an ICP, the scope and cost of the infrastructure to be included needs to be determined. Experience has shown the much of this infrastructure is conceptually common in design and very similar in cost. In the past, cost estimates have been individually prepared using proprietary consultant information, which is both costly and is often subject to challenges during the planning scheme amendment process. To simplify and speed up the preparation of ICPs, benchmark infrastructure designs and cost estimates have been prepared for a range of basic and essential local infrastructure items generally provided for in Precinct Structure Plans and funded through ICPs.

The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) commissioned Cardno to undertake the technical analysis and provide draft baseline infrastructure cost data to standardise the cost estimation of ICP projects. These were developed using baseline data from a range of projects designs and estimates prepared by various consultants from across Melbourne’s greenfields. As part of the work, the VPA and Cardno consulted with growth area councils, interface councils and the development industry to enhance the final benchmark designs and costs.

Benchmark Infrastructure Costs Report

The resultant benchmark designs cover a range of transport, community and recreation ICP items and provide a good level of confidence about the projects’ likely costs. To view Cardno’s final report, refer to:

Guide to using the Benchmark Infrastructure Costs

The VPA has also prepared the Benchmark Infrastructure and Costs Guide to provide context and to guide us in the use of benchmark designs and costs in preparing an ICP.  The Guide covers:

  • The role of scope and cost estimates in ICPs
  • The development of the benchmark design and costs
  • Role of the Benchmark Infrastructure and Costs Guide in preparing ICPs, including how to adjust the estimates to deal with scope variations if needed
  • How the Benchmark Infrastructure and Costs Guide will be reviewed and kept up to date
  • Reproduces the results of the Cardno work.

The use of the guide was approved by the VPA Board on 9 October 2019.

Access the Benchmark Infrastructure and Costs Guide through the following links:


The VPA’s Benchmark and Infrastructure Costs Guide will be managed as a living document. The VPA will update the document annually or as appropriate. Note that the actual benchmark cost estimates will only be indexed annually, and any major updates will occur only when clearly justified.

Where appropriate, it may be necessary to clarify issues immediately between updates. Any such clarifications will be issued as addenda via this website.

To ensure the most up-to-date version is used, including being aware of any addenda that may be issued from time to time, it is strongly recommended that the latest version of this document be obtained from this website before use.

Benchmark cost estimates for the 2020/21 financial year

As the standard costs were prepared as at July 2018 the Standard Local Infrastructure Cost Estimates should be adjusted for 2020/21 using the indexation factors specified in the following table:

The indexation factors only apply to the items identified in the Benchmark Infrastructure Costs Guide. If any specific or updated costs have been used in the preparation of an ICP, they need to be separately indexed based on the appropriate financial year.

Access the Benchmark Infrastructure and Costs Items 1 to 43 indexed to 1 July 2020 through the following link:


Tim Mileham
Director Infrastructure
(03) 9651 9612

Chris Braddock
Water and Engineering Manager
(03) 9651 9647