International property and construction consultancy firm Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) has released its latest Tower Crane Index and Quarterly Cost Report. Together, the two documents provide an eye-opening perspective on the North American construction industry in 14 key markets.
With data current to July 1, 2021, the latest RLB quarterly cost report shows that the national average increase in construction costs was approximately 1.51%. Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington D.C. all experienced increases greater than the national average, while Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Las Vegas, New York, Phoenix, Portland, and San Francisco saw fewer gains than the national average.
With materials, prices continuing to increase and construction starts down across most sectors, the pressure is on contractors to bid competitively. “Since July 2020, contractor’s bid prices have grown 4.4%, while over the same period of time, the Producer Price Index has increased to 25.6%,” said Julian Anderson, FRICS, President of RLB North America. “This has significant implications for the construction business, as well as other AEC industries.”
Tower Crane Index notes
• Cities seeing an increase in tower cranes include Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto
• Cities holding steady in their tower crane counts include Las Vegas and New York City
• Cities with a decrease in tower cranes include Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Portland, Phoenix, Seattle, and Washington D.C.
Quarterly Cost Report notes
• The U.S. quarterly national average increase in construction cost is approximately 1.51%, compared to 0.16% year-over-year
• The construction unemployment rate drops to 7.5%, while the national unemployment rate dips to 5.9%
• The Architectural Billings Index (ABI) rises to 57.1