Construction costs, which had been relatively low throughout the nation for much of the past year, are beginning to climb at an increasing rate.
With El Paso County commercial and residential construction starts stalled at near-2000 levels, logic suggests that the cost of building materials would remain low as well.
But pressures from a global economy and a weakening dollar have taken their toll.
“This signals the end to the “limited-time” sale for construction,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, citing the latest producer price index data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Prices moved up significantly between August and September 2009. Copper, for example, was up 10 percent, aluminum prices were up 2 percent, and steel costs up 3 percent.
All three products are considered “essential components” for the vast majority of construction projects, Simonson said, adding that since the prices were collected a month ago, copper, aluminum and diesel fuel have moved to multi-month highs.
“The days of construction estimates coming in 20 percent under estimate may soon be coming to an end,” he said. “These figures serve as an important reminder that governments and developers looking for a good deal on construction should act quickly before having to pay significantly more for their projects.”