Materials prices on even keel for 2003
For 2003, materials prices should remain stable, with only small price increases projected for some CSI divisions:
Site work Publicly funded projects are anticipated to decline during 2003. Costs for most site work materials have remained stable or slightly declined over the past year, a trend that will continue in 2003.
Concrete In 2002, cement was up about 1% from 2001, concrete was up 2%. No perceptible changes for reinforcing steel. These trends should hold for 2003.
Masonry Concrete masonry units and brick costs were up 2-3% from 2001, cement and lime increased 1-2%. Cost increases for 2003 should be about the same.
Metals The national average material price for fabricated steel products remained fairly constant over the last two years. With the demand for fabricated structural steel anticipated to increase in 2003, the price of fabricated steel projects should increase 4% in 2003, from $1,225 per ton to $1,275 per ton for a 100-ton project. The cost of cold-formed load-bearing metal studs and joists will be subject to an average increase of 30% in 2003 due to relaxed pricing pressure felt by domestic mills that produce steel coil stock. This relief came in the form of tariffs on foreign imported steel coil stock.
Wood and Plastics Lumber is down from a year ago. In 2002, RS Means' 30-city average cost for two-by-fours was $534 per thousand feet of board. In 2003, the price will be $482. Standard 1/2-in.-thick CDX plywood per thousand sq. ft. will remain at 2002 prices, which was $490 per sq. ft. Milled lumber in 2003 will increase 2 to 5%.
Thermal and Moisture Protection Petroleum-based products saw modest increases, anywhere from 3 to 5% in 2002. Insulation and wood-based siding products remained flat. Metal roofing, siding, and flashing increased from 3 to 5%. These trends will continue in 2003.
Doors and Windows Most material items for doors, windows, and hardware increased slightly in 2002, and should once again in 2003.
Finishes Metal stud prices increased 25-35% in 2002. New tariffs on foreign imported coil stock should raise prices of domestic coil stock that stud manufacturers have to purchase from the mills. Prices should continue to rise in 2003. Drywall, ceramic tile, paint, and wall coverings remained in line with 2001 prices; flooring showed modest increases. These trends should continue in 2003.
Specialties Stable prices are forecasted for 2003. Costs of access flooring have increased slightly and are under the 5% range.
Furnishings There were significant declines in the cost of moderate to low-end office furniture in 2002. Prices in 2003 are expected to remain at the 2002 level.
Conveying Systems Elevator and escalator prices will remain at 2002 levels, with minor increases in conveyors, material handling equipment, and bridge cranes.
Mechanical Copper products have trended downward since spring 2002 and have recently stabilized. No major price or supply problems are anticipated in 2003. Plastics used in pipes and fittings have been remarkably stable for the past several months. The threat of war in Iraq could have impact in the months to come. Mechanical equipment prices also are stable.
Electrical The electrical division experienced a 2-3% increase in material costs from 2002, with copper building wire down 10-15%. Lighting fixture prices are flat. No changes in nonmetallic conduit and fittings. Due to the unstable political environment in the Middle East, PVC conduit prices are quoted by application. In 2003, motor prices will be flat due to hefty increases in 2002. Aluminum fitting prices will be up 5-7%, safety switches and control device prices are up 2 to 5%.
Source: RS Means, division of Reed Construction Data, publishes pricing reports that assess material and labor rates for all aspects of construction. More information: www.rsmeans.com.