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Loadbearing Masonry construction costs are often less volatile

Compared to cast-in-place concrete and wood frame construction, masonry is especially well suited when comparing schedules and construction timelines.

Better Stability of Construction Costs

The CMDC cost comparison study, conducted in 2019, found that masonry construction is competitive, in terms of cost with conventional wood frame construction. It should also be noted that many fluctuations in the price of building materials followed – among other things, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on supply chains. During this same period, however, the price of masonry building materials remained relatively stable. This is also not an anomaly since historically, the installed price of masonry construction is very stable. With the sharp increases in material prices (and also volatility) for other major building materials, it follows that loadbearing masonry has an even better return on investment than when the cost study was written in 2019. The following figures illustrate the volatility of the cost of steel and wood, and the relative stability of the cost of masonry materials. Figure 1 shows the price index in Canada since January 2000 for the broad categories of wood, steel, and non-metallic mineral products. In the United States, statistics are available for more specific categories; these are shown in Figure 2 and clearly show the stability of the price of concrete masonry.

Figure 1: Price index for Canada [Statistics Canada]
Figure 2: Price index for the U.S.A [U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]

Concrete masonry units (blocks) are produced locally to accommodate the needs of the local market. These blocks are produced from locally available materials and often from multiple sources. This protects customers from fluctuations observed for other materials, which are traded globally. The stable costs of masonry materials allow contractors to confidently estimate costs for their construction projects. Developers and other clients also benefit from cost stability, as they are less likely end up in a contract with a contractor who is losing money during a fixed-price project due to an unexpected increase in costs. Everyone wins when prices are stable.

Skeptical? Check our math

Full Study including design drawings, scheduling, budget, and even structural drawings is available as part of the full cost study

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