Index finds labor driving construction costs more than materials, products

Source: Turner Construction Co., New York; CP staff

The Second Quarter 2015 Turner Building Cost Index, which measures non-residential building construction market activity and is widely subscribed among public and private project stakeholders, has increased to a value of 938, reflecting a 1.19 percent jump from the first quarter and 4.7 percent gain over the same period in 2014.

Sustained growth in high volume work this year is spurring a skilled-labor shortage, creating strong upward pressure on construction costs. Turner surveys for the second quarter found raw materials continuing to experience minor cost decreases; manufactured product costs remaining somewhat stable and, delivery or lead times extended due to increased market demands and reduced availability of production/fabrication facilities. Fuel costs have increased for two consecutive quarters but remain lower than the same period last year.

“While the volume of work and labor availability varies across individual geographic construction markets, the steady, high level of construction activity in specific urban areas has resulted in domestic construction cost increases,” says Turner Vice President Attilio Rivetti, who oversees the index.