Construction Cost

Optimum Phasing Strategies for Campus Construction

Consider Impact on Students, Faculty, Fiscal Objectives, and Long-Term Vision

Published 6-14-2017

Renovating an existing science facility or constructing a new building at today’s busy colleges requires the right approach in order to minimize the impact on students and faculty, while also adhering to the institution’s financial goals and strategic plan. It is important to design the project in a manner that allows students to complete their courses, and for faculty to maintain their research and teaching schedules. This is achieved with one of three phasing strategies: using 100 percent temporary facilities, no temporary space, or a hybrid of both.

Getting the Most Valuable Design on a Biocontainment Project

Smart Value Engineering Strategies can Yield Opportunities for Savings and Design Efficiency on BSL-3 Projects

Published 2-22-2017

Value engineering (VE) can save money on a BSL-3 project without compromising facility operations, lifecycle costs, regulatory compliance, or biocontainment requirements; if managed correctly, VE is an opportunity to improve a project, not just a cost-cutting tactic.

Strong Economy and Robust Construction in 2016 Drive Increased Cost Escalation

Market Outlook 2016 Q4

Published 2-22-2017

Construction prices increased an average of 6 percent in 2016, as energy and commodity prices remained at levels not seen since the 1990s, due in large part to the strength of the U.S. dollar. Five consecutive years of above-average cost escalation has driven the construction cost trendline to 3.3 percent. Price increases are attributed to robust construction activity allowing contractors to increase their margins as demand grows. The construction sector is also reaching full employment levels, which is expected to drive wage increases in the near to mid-term.

Reduced Construction Spending and Increased Costs Reflect Slowing Third Quarter

Market Outlook 2016 Q3

Published 11-9-2016

Non-residential construction spending has dropped 6 percent since the beginning of 2016. This reduction was offset by a nearly equal increase in infrastructure spending and steady residential construction. Increases in construction prices for 2016 are now trending towards 6 percent annually, depending on location, while job growth saw a slight up-tick with an average of 192,000 jobs added per month in the third quarter of 2016 versus the 171,000 jobs per month averaged in the first half of the year.

Stable Second Quarter Drives Continued Growth in Construction and Other Sectors

Market Outlook 2016 Q2

Published 8-17-2016

After a soft May, second quarter data indicates that job gains were stronger in June 2016, while economic activity has been expanding at a moderate rate. Overall job growth in the first two quarters of 2016 declined from an average of 245,000 per month to 172,000 per month. The slowing trend could be part of a cycle witnessed in previous expansions. Commodity prices appear to have stabilized at a reduced level, which increases room for inflation in construction and other sectors.

Penn Renovation Yields Class A Laboratory Space for Half the Cost of New Construction

Weighing the Cost/Benefit of Retrofit vs. Gut Renovation

Published 8-17-2016

Retrofit or renovate? It’s a common question facing many owners of laboratory facilities built in the 1970s, and the answer isn’t always obvious. A simple retrofit of building systems can improve reliability and cut energy consumption significantly, but a gut renovation can be transformative by enhancing performance and providing associated benefits in recruitment and retention, quality of life, and scientific productivity––benefits that can more than offset the higher initial cost.