Feature Article - June 2008
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Town and Country

Building Plans

Turner Construction Company, one of the leading general builders in the United States, announced in March that construction costs had increase 1.48 percent over the fourth quarter of 2007, and 4.96 percent over the first quarter of 2007. Karl Almstead, the Turner vice president responsible for the Turner Building Cost Index, said that despite slowdowns in the residential construction market and uncertainty in credit markets, the non-residential construction market remains active.

"The perception that there may be an economic slowdown has led to an easing of pricing pressure and an increase in competition among trade contractors in some markets," he said. "However, in major metropolitan markets such as New York City, the available volume of work continues to drive pricing upward."

This is reflected in the increases in anticipated spending on facilities—new, additions and renovations—compared to last year's survey. Among urban respondents, there is a 31.9 percent increase in the amount planned for new facilities, additions and renovations over the next several years, from $4.7 million last year to nearly $6.2 million this year. Rural respondents' average amount planned increased by 10.7 percent over last year's budget, while suburban respondents' amount planned increased by 7.3 percent.

Facilities of all types are about equally likely to be planning to build new, add onto their existing facilities or renovate their existing facilities. Nearly three-quarters of urban (71.6 percent), suburban (72.6 percent) and rural (72.7 percent) respondents have plans of some kind. (See Figure 33.)