Rider Levett Bucknall releases First Quarter 2014 USA Construction Cost Report

PHOENIX, AZ – Rider Levett Bucknall – international property and construction consultant, and industry leader in cost research – announced an optimistic U.S. construction industry outlook, with large increases in project starts anticipated for 2014 and beyond.  The firm published its findings in its newly released First Quarter 2014 USA Construction Cost Report.

According to RLB’s research, the housing market will continue to fuel increases in new construction throughout the calendar year 2014. It states that the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) anticipates an increase in total housing starts from approximately 924,000 in 2013 to approximately 1.15 million in 2014.  Additional sectors expected to see gains in new construction include educational and institutional buildings; commercial buildings; healthcare; and manufacturing facilities.

Possible Lack of Available Skilled Labor by 2022 A Concern
The improved forecast for these market sectors is bolstering general contractors’ optimism, with many firms planning to begin hiring again. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,  “Employment in the construction sector is projected to grow 2.6 percent annually. This equates to 1.6 million new jobs over the 2012-22 decade, the most among goods- producing sectors and the third most among all major industry sectors. Despite expected fast growth, construction sector employment in 2022 is projected to be below the peak level (7.7 million; 2006).”

However, although the construction industry expects to gain these additional jobs over the next eight years, the lack of available skilled labor in the workforce could be a concern. “There might actually be periods of labor shortages within the time frame,” warns Julian Anderson, President of Rider Levett Bucknall’s North American practice and Chairman of its CCS group of companies. “Many workers left the construction industry during the recession; this was true for skilled young people, in particular.  As the industry pushes forward, a lack of skilled labor could put a brake on new construction and cause upward pressure on construction costs.”

Optimism Supported by Steady Growth in 2013
For the near future, the data supports a positive forecast.  Rider Levett Bucknall’s 2013 National Cost Construction Index showed signs of steady growth.  The firm’s findings suggest that construction put in place during December 2013 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $930.5 billion, an increase of 0.1% above the revised November 2013 estimate of $929.9 billion. The cost of construction for the year was $898.4 billion, up 4.8% from 2012.

Rider Levett Bucknall tracks construction costs in 12 major U.S. cities, all of which experienced a positive change between January 1, 2013 and December 1, 2013: Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, New York and Washington, D.C. experienced the greatest annual escalations of between 4.7% and 7.7%; Denver, Phoenix, and Seattle experienced modest annual increases between 2.2% and 3.5%; and Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco experienced annual increases below 2.0%.

About the Rider Levett Bucknall Quarterly Construction Cost Report
Rider Levett Bucknall reports on the comparative cost of construction in 12 U.S. cities on a quarterly basis, indexing them to show how costs are changing in each city in particular, and against the costs of the other 11 locations. Together with additional international and national cost compendia, the cost research equips clients with complete and relevant information to assist in key business decisions.Click here to download the latest version of the Construction Cost Report, or to view past issues.

About Rider Levett Bucknall
Rider Levett Bucknall is an award-winning international firm known for providing project management, construction cost consulting, and related property and construction advisory services – at all stages of the design and construction process.  With more than 3,000 employees worldwide, Rider Levett Bucknall brings unparalleled value and service to its prestigious group of clients, through its robust experience and high-level expertise.  The firm enjoys a professional heritage that spans over 225 years, and it continues to be a global leader in the construction industry throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania.

For more information, visit www.americas.rlb.com and for the latest company news and construction cost trends, follow the firm on Twitter @rlbamericas.