REPORT: Rider Levett Bucknall Takes A Deep Dive Into North American Construction Trends

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  • REPORT: Rider Levett Bucknall Takes A Deep Dive Into North American Construction Trends
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Taryn Harbert


Taryn Harbert


Construction Cost Report , Market Research
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Exclusive to the Q4 report, RLB includes a Construction Industry Confidence Index; an ENR survey of different types of firms (Design Professionals, General Contractors, and Subcontractors) and represents their overall view of the current and future construction market.

The latest ENR Confidence Index is 66, indicating industry confidence continues to be high.

In the U.S., construction put-in-place ended at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $1.24 trillion, or 1.4% above the revised September estimate of $1.22 trillion. National unemployment remains steady while construction unemployment evens out after a drop during the second quarter, closing out the year at 4.7%. The AIA’s Architecture Billing Index (ABI), the leading economic indicator for non-residential activity, experiences its first drop since this time last year.

National average construction costs increased approximately 4.22% between October 2016 and October 2017.

San Francisco and Los Angeles experience the greatest increases in construction costs (7.63% and 7.08% respectively), while Chicago, Portland, and Seattle experience more modest increases, ranging from 5.21% to 5.76%. Honolulu continues to see decreased construction costs since this time last year, but has seen it’s first increase during the fourth quarter of 2017.

Construction activities gain momentum in Canada.

The value of building permits rises 3.5% during October of 2017, contributed to higher construction intentions for building in Quebec and Ontario. Housing starts are up over forty percent from the beginning of 2017. As well, Canada’s unemployment continues to decrease steadily, down 0.8% from this time last year.

About the Rider Levett Bucknall Quarterly Construction Cost Report

In its North American Quarterly Construction Cost report, RLB tracks construction costs in 12 American cities and two Canadian cities, providing a market-by-market look at construction costs. The report also surveys specific construction sectors—including hospitality, retail, healthcare, office, residential, industrial, and education—identifying low and high construction costs in each urban center.

Together with international and national cost compendia, the cost research equips clients with complete and relevant information to assist in key business decisions.