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Speaking Engagement – ASPE

I’ll be presenting “Construction Economic Forecast 2021 – Behind the Headlines” at American Society of Professional Estimators annual summit on Friday Aug 27 in San Antonio (in-person)


there is virtual registration for this event

ARCHIVE – Construction Inflation Index Tables 2016 data

8-6-17  SEE ESCALATION / INFLATION INDICES For Current Updated Indices

10-24-16 original posted
1-27-17 updated index tables and plots
8-6-17 archived this for 1-27-17 2016 content  –  Linked Master Index Tables has updated data

Construction Cost Indices come in many types: Final cost by specific building type; Final cost composite of buildings but still all within one major building sector; Final cost but across several major building sectors (ex., residential and nonresidential buildings); Input prices to subcontractors; Producer prices and Select market basket indices.

Residential, Nonresidential Buildings and Non-building Infrastructure Indices developed by Construction Analytics, (in BOLD CAPS), are sector specific selling price composite indices. These three indices represent whole building final cost and are plotted in Building Cost Index  – Construction Inflation below and also plotted in the attached Midyear report link. They represent average or weighted average of what is considered the most representative cost indicators in each major building sector. For Non-building Infrastructure, however, in most instances it is better to use a specific index to the type of work.

BCI 1992-2018 5-15-17

Click Here for LINK to Cost Inflation Midyear Report 2016 – text on Current Inflation

All actual index values have been recorded from the source and then converted to current year 2016 = 100. That puts all the indices on the same baseline and measures everything to a recent point in time.

Not all indices cover all years. For instance the PPI nonresidential buildings indices only go back to years 2004-2007, the years in which they were created.

SEE Construction Inflation Index Tables For 2017 Tables



When construction is very actively growing, total construction costs typically increase more rapidly than the net cost of labor and materials. In active markets overhead and profit margins increase in response to increased demand. When construction activity is declining, construction cost increases slow or may even turn to negative, due to reductions in overhead and profit margins, even though labor and material costs may still be increasing.

Selling Price, by definition whole building actual final cost tracks the final cost of construction, which includes, in addition to costs of labor and materials and sales/use taxes, general contractor and sub-contractor overhead and profit. Selling price indices should be used to adjust project costs over time.

Here’s a LINK to a good article by Faithful & Gould that explains “If you want to avoid misusing a cost index, understand what it measures.” 

quoted from that article,


R S Means Index and ENR Building Cost Index (BCI) are examples of input indices. They do not measure the output price of the final cost of buildings. They measure the input prices paid by subcontractors for a fixed market basket of labor and materials used in constructing the building. These indices do not represent final cost so won’t be as accurate as selling price indices.

Turner Actual Cost Index nonresidential buildings only, final cost of building

Rider Levett Bucknall Actual Cost Index in RLB Publications nonresidential buildings only, final cost of building, selling price

IHS Power Plant Cost Indices specific infrastructure only, final cost indices

  • IHS UCCI tracks construction of onshore, offshore, pipeline and LNG projects
  • IHS DCCI tracks construction of refining and petrochemical construction projects
  • IHS PCCI tracks construction of coal, gas, wind and nuclear power generation plants

Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index only specific PPI building indices reflect final cost of building. PPI cost of materials is price at producer level. The PPIs that constitute Table 9 measure changes in net selling prices for materials and supplies typically sold to the construction sector. Specific Building PPI Indices are Final Demand or Selling Price indices.

PPI Materials and Supply Inputs to Construction Industries

PPI Nonresidential Building Construction Sector — Contractors

PPI Nonresidential Building Types

PPI BONS Other Nonresidential Structures includes water and sewer lines and structures; oil and gas pipelines; power and communication lines and structures; highway, street, and bridge construction; and airport runway, dam, dock, tunnel, and flood control construction.

National Highway Construction Cost Index (NHCCI) final cost index, specific to highway and road work only.

S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index history final cost as-sold index but includes sale of both new and existing homes, so is an indicator of price movement but should not be used solely to adjust cost of new residential construction

US Census Constant Quality (Laspeyres) Price Index SF Houses Under Construction final cost index, this index adjusts to hold the build component quality and size of a new home constant from year to year to give a more accurate comparison of real cost inflation

Beck Biannual Cost Report develops indices for only five major cities and average. The indices may be a composite of residential and nonresidential buildings. It can be used as an indicator of the direction of cost but should not be used to adjust the cost in either of these two sectors.

Mortenson Cost Index is the estimated cost of a representative nonresidential building priced in six major cities and average.

Other Indices not included here:

Consumer Price Index (CPI) issued by U.S. Gov. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Monthly data on changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services, including food, transportation, medical care, apparel, recreation, housing. This index in not related at all to construction and should never be used to adjust construction pricing.

Leland Saylor Cost Index  Clear definition of this index could not be found, however detailed input appears to represent buildings and does reference subcontractor pricing. But it could not be determined if this is a selling price index.

Sierra West Construction Cost Index is identified as a selling price index but may be specific to California. This index may be a composite of several sectors. No online source of the index could be found, but it is published in Engineering News Record magazine in the quarterly cost report update.

Vermeulens Construction Cost Index can be found here. It is described as a bid price index, which is a selling price index, for Institutional/Commercial/Industrial projects. That would be a nonresidential buildings sector index. No data table is available, but a plot of the VCCI is available on the website. Some interpolation would be required to capture precise annual values from the plot. The site provides good information.

The Bureau of Reclamation Construction Cost Trends comprehensive indexes for about 30 different types of infrastructure work including dams, pipelines, transmission lines, tunnels, roads and bridges. 1984 to present.

Click Here for Link to Construction Cost Inflation – Midyear Report 2016

1-27-17 – Index updated to Dec. 2016 data



8-6-17  SEE Construction Inflation Index Tables For Updated 2017 Indices


Running Times

At age 30, I couldn’t run a 7 minute mile.

I was a pretty good runner in high school and college, but really didn’t come into my own until later in life. It wasn’t until I practiced proper nutrition and learned how to train that things really came together. All of my best post high school times were in my 40s. In fact, age adjusted, all the best times of my life were in my 40s. This should give you some perspective. You are not on the downhill when you hit 40. You have years of potential in front of you. I’d like to set a challenge for some of my younger friends. You can do what ever you want. Set goals. Break your own records.

age 17 – 440 (1/4 mile) 53.7
age 16 – 880 (1/2 mile) 2:03.3
age 17 – 1 mile 4:30.2
age 17 – 2 mile 9:58 outdoor wooden 11 lap/mile track
age 16 – 2.8 mile 14:32 Cross Country 5:11 mile pace
age 15 – 5 mile 28:00 Berwick, PA 5:36 mile pace
age 35 – 5k (3.1 mile) 18:40 6:00 mile pace
age 35 – 4 mile 24:40 6:10 mile pace
age 35 – 5 mile 31:40 6:20 mile pace
age 35 – 10 mile 70:00 7:00 mile pace
45 – 1500m 4:22.7 Boston, Northeastern Track USATFNE = 4:41.9 mile pace
41 – 1 mile 4:41.7 2nd 40-49 Boston, Northeastern Track USATF NE
45 – 1 mile 4:43.2 4th 45-49 Indoor Nationals Reggie Lewis Track Boston
43 – 3000m 9:24.2 Boston, Northeastern Track USATFNE 5:02 mile
45 – 3000m 9:25.3 3rd 45-49 Indoor National Championship  5:03 mile
42 – 5k (3.1 mile) 15:58 11th 40-49 Providence Downtown 5K  5:07 mile
41 – 4 mile 21:20 2nd 40-49 Arnold Mills July4 Cumberland RI  5:20 mile
45 – 5 mile 26:42 10th 40-49  Attleboro, MA. New England Championship 5:20
41 – 8k (4.97mi) 27:40 3rd team 40-49 National XC Champ Franklin Park 5:34
45 – 10k (6.21 mile) 33:30 9th 40-49 Portsmouth, NH NE Championship 5:24
43 – 8.1 mile 45:08 1st master 40-49 Harvey’s Lake PA 5:34
45 – 9 mile 51:13 3rd master  Berwick Race for the Diamonds Berwick, PA 5:41
42 – 15K (9.32mi) 52:10 1st master 40-49 Run Around Block Island, RI 5:36
40 – 10mi 55:13 11th, 1st 40-49 Narragansett RI Blessing of the Fleet 5:31
42 – 13.1mi 72:53  11th 40-49 New Bedford MA Half Marathon NE Champ. 5:34
45 – 20mi mark in marathon 2:00:08 at Burlington Vermont marathon 6:00 mile
45 – 26.2mi marathon 2:41:17 2nd master Burlington Vermont marathon 6:07
43 – 26.2mi marathon 2:42:40 2nd master Cape Cod New England Champ 6:11

Welcome to my Construction Economics blog

Welcome to my new blog.  Here I will expand on current issues of construction economics.  On Twitter @edzarenski, I will tweet updates to my most recent Construction Economic report and out of necessity I will keep it short.  When issues demand further explanation, you will find it here.  Thanks for visiting. edz

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