Average costs and results

The Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land are conscious of the fact that it is only thanks to the contributions of millions of Christians throughout the world – who for centuries through their offerings have sought to contribute to the preservation of the Holy Places in which Jesus lived, and in which the descendants of the earliest Christians continue to live – that they are able to carry out their work to support the Christians of the Holy City of Jerusalem and the numerous interventions promoted as part of the project “Jerusalem, Stones of Memory” in the Holy City. Their consciousness of the importance that even a single euro can have within this context, and of the necessity to prudently utilize the funds at their disposition, have led the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land to train their own specialized personnel who are able to carry out the most important and delicate maintenance and renovation works. In this perspective, a strict control of costs and a continuous search for good-quality materials have been two constant elements in the works carried out, both past and present.

Dwellings in the Old City of Jerusalem frequently suffer from problems related to leaks, inadequate ventilation and insufficient natural light, the presence of corroded plumbing leading to water wastage, electrical installations that do not meet the norms, as well as obsolete windows, doors and shutters which lead to large thermal losses. A further serious problem in the apartments in the Holy City of Jerusalem is the lack of space and privacy due to the manner in which the structures are configured.

The average cost of interventions in the dwellings within the Holy City of Jerusalem recorded during the last year of works (2010), keeping in mind that each work has its own story and presents different logistical and construction conditions, can be estimated as follows:

  • 370 euros/m2: for interventions in apartments situated in historical buildings (stone, with vaulted roofs).
  • 270 euros/m2: for interventions in apartments situated in more recent buildings (reinforced concrete and cement blocks).
  • 2.500  euros: for interventions to repair bathroom only (unit cost).

Average cost of labor for interventions in the Holy City of Jerusalem:

  • 50 euros: wage per working day (8 hours + 1 hour overtime).

Average cost of materials for interventions in the Holy City of Jerusalem:

  • 180 euros: internal wood door.
  • 120 euros: double-glazed window (1 m2).
  • 70 euros: toilet (WC).
  • 60 euros: 10 m2 of tile.
  • 40 euros: sink faucet.
  • 23 euros: sink.
  • 20 euros: tractor for removal of debris.
  • 15 euros: tractor for transport of construction materials to the site.
  • 6 euros: bag of cement.
  • 1 euros: 2.5 bags of sand.


With respect to previous years when labor was contracted from local companies, the management carried out by the Custody of the Holy Land through its own Technical Office, in coordination with the Bursar’s Office, has permitted:

  • an average savings of between 20% and 40% in carrying out the works.
  • the elimination of long and tiresome final disputes arising from unforeseen circumstances and extremely frequent alterations during the course of works in the Holy City of Jerusalem, where the final evaluations of works is always a difficult process.
  • an improvement in the quality of both overall works and materials (frequently in the past contractors would not return to repair defects that became apparent only following the completion of the works – the Custody of the Holy Land still today maintains numerous sites that it has been unable to close due to disputes with contractors).
  • better attention to be paid to the requirements of the Christian families in the Holy City of Jerusalem during the execution of the works, since the principal aim of the activity is no longer an increase in profit but rather the quality of the service offered.
  • creating a reservoir of experience and accumulated knowledge, both in terms of carrying out the works and learning more about the buildings that will remain at the disposition of the Franciscans of the Holy Land, and for future utilization of the individuals who have been involved on site.