Although ENR’s cost indexes measure the costs of nonresidential buildings, the downturn in the housing market still has a major impact on index movement. During this quarter, lumber prices in the indexes were down another 1.8%, after dropping 23% over the previous four years. Falling lumber prices had been offset by surging steel prices. However, the current recession has sent steel prices tumbling. As a result, the Building Cost Index (BCI) fell 1.8% this quarter, pulling the year-to-year escalation down from 7.3% last fall to 4.3% this month. The Construction Cost Index (CCI) is less affected by these swings in
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.