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design thinkers


Last Spring, SLAM Construction Services’ estimating team began monitoring material costs and lead times monthly. Through communication with local subcontractors and suppliers, we tracked and graphed raw materials, building materials and MEP equipment price changes that informed the designers of material cost implications and kept clients updated on how the volatile market could potentially affect their projects now and in the future.

As a result of this year long effort, we have been able to use the collected data to respond directly to the needs of clients who are struggling with price increases on projects budgeted pre-covid. The SLAM pre-construction team can take an analytical approach to evaluating change order claims based on the actual annual escalation of each material collected.

Raw Materials:

COVID protocols and supply/demand were the root cause of many raw material shortages and thus price increases. Most notably were metals and oil with annual percent increases of aluminum at 84%, copper 110% and Iron at 140%.

Construction Materials:

As stated above, metals and oil price increases coupled with mill closures and an unprecedented housing boom resulted in many construction material shortages and price increases. Most notably annual increases for metal studs at 58%, structural steel 70% and lumber at a whopping increase of 295% in a year! In the last month there has been significant increases in lead times for glass, going from 10 to 16 weeks.

MEP Equipment:

In addition to construction material price increases and availability shortages, pipe, lighting and gear equipment derived from metals and oil also saw price increases and long lead time waits. Lighting and gear have recently seen lead time increases in the last month from 4 to 8 weeks and 6 to 10 respectively. Most notable annual increases were cast iron pipe at 20%. HVAC equipment on the other hand saw little price increase this year, with some even decreasing.

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