I was chatting to a very experienced quantity surveyor last week. He was telling me that some of his clients are now asking for two sets of build costs. The first is the actual expected build costs. The second is build cost data that they could get away with in a viability appraisal for planning. Given the profits at stake, the competition for sites etc. this is to be expected. It would be naïve to assume that this type of thing wasn’t going on with all the other inputs into viability appraisals in the planning system. It’s always worth re-iterating that the main purpose of such tactics is to reduce affordable housing contributions. I know that I’ve said it before but the lack of any attempt to change the current system to reduce such bias suggests that the political will is absent.