Steel prices still squeezing builders


Last month, John Carr met with fellow school construction bosses from Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo and Cleveland to discuss the worrisome issue of high steel costs.

Carr, chief construction officer with Dayton Public Schools, said the cost increases have caused delays of the school’s $627 million rebuild project. He’s had to redesign plans to find areas where builders could replace steel with less expensive materials.

And he’s not alone. Commercial builders throughout Dayton are altering projects because customers didn’t budget for sky-high materials costs. For example, Dana Shoup, president of Vandalia-based Bon Builders Inc., said switching from steel to wood frame on a recent church project in Piqua saved the church nearly 20 percent of the $800,000 price tag.

The price increases also have made builders more cautious in the bidding process.

Prices for steel products used in construction are up roughly 40 percent, industry sources say. The price dipped slightly in April, but area builders say it shot back up in May. Steel is vital in commercial building, used in frames, drywall, doors, ceilings and metal gates.

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