Celebrating 50 years of the Riders Digest

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Peter Tulla

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Peter Tulla

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The Riders Digest, known by many as the construction industry ‘Bible’, celebrates a milestone 50 years in 2022.

Rider Levett Bucknall (then Rider Hunt) first issued the precursor to the Riders Digest in 1972, when one of the firm’s early projects, the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House was in the final stages of construction. 

1972 also marked a special milestone for Rider Levett Bucknall in South East Asia and Oceania, with the establishment of offices in Singapore and Auckland. New Zealand practices later included Wellington, Christchurch, Palmerston North and Otago.

Along with indicative construction costs by building type and region, the Riders Digest contains useful reference material on development considerations, estimating benchmarks, construction escalation, sustainability and life cycle issues.

Since it was first compiled, the pocket-sized compendium of key building costs and associated building related data has become an annual key source of information for many in the industry. Through the years, all mainland capital cities published digests adding to the library of publications produced within Australia. Globally, the Riders Digest is now published in Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, United Kingdom and North America.

Looking at how construction costs have changed over the past 50 years, RLB has extracted data from its 1982 and 2022 published digests and compiled the below comparative table.

Riders Digest History

In the 1950s, 60s and 70s,  Rider Hunt and Partners (the former name of Rider Levett Bucknall) in each state prepared city specific cost commentary reports to report and comment on the building industry’s key metrics.

Typed, copied and bound for distribution by post to key government and corporate clients, the reports contained data associated with labour cost movements, material cost indexes, building cost indexes, building volumes, rise and fall indexes and building escalation forecasts together with associated commentary.

These indexes, which were first found within the Cost Commentary in 1971 and 1972, formed the foundation of the Riders Digest and the Australia Construction Market Intelligence Report. In 1981, a professionally typeset, printed and stitch bound publication was launched in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Since the first printed publication of 44 pages in 1981, the digest has grown to 96 pages. Over time, the Riders Digest has evolved to include both international and national building costs, global annual escalation forecasts and local development data. The digest and the information contained within it is still as relevant today as it was in 1971 and is compiled, published and distributed in both the original pocket-sized printed compendium or available as a PDF on our website.

We hope this research continues to keep you up to date with current market trends and assists you in making informed and successful project decisions.

Riders Digest Adelaide

Riders Digest Canberra

Riders Digest Darwin

Riders Digest Melbourne

Riders Digest Perth

Riders Digest Queensland

Riders Digest Sydney