Although ENR’s indexes measure the costs of non-residential buildings, the recovery in the housing market is having a major impact on index movement. After a long decline, ENR’s 20-city average price for 2x4 lumber is up 12.2% this year, following a 4.1% and 5.7% increase during the previous two years, respectively. ENR’s prices for structural steel and cement in the cost indexes posted more modest gains. Labor costs have pushed back the materials price increase, keeping ENR’s cost indexes relatively flat.
As a result, the Building Cost Index is up 3.9% for the year, after increasing 2.2% last year. The Construction Cost Index is up 2.7%, following a 2.7% and 2.8% annual increase, respectively, in the previous two years.
Because it can moderate the damaging effects of earthquakes, base-isolation is a technique used primarily in seismically active regions. ENR takes a look at some of the largest applications of base-isolation technologies in the world.