Report finds New York and San Francisco as most expensive U.S. cities for construction as the industry goes greener 

Special to Ontario Construction News

New York and San Francisco are the most expensive cities in the U.S. for construction, according to Arcadis’ 2020 International Construction Cost Index (ICC). The report also indicates an increased need for sustainable technologies and materials to help reduce buildings’ long-term carbon footprint.

Despite the pre-pandemic boom in Toronto and some other Canadian markets, no Canadian city ranks in the report’s top 10 most expensive cities internationally.  London, Hong Kong and Geneva are more expensive than New York, however.

Beyond costs, the report focuses on emerging trends associated with climate change, highlighting work being done to reduce the environmental impacts of construction.

“Fifteen years ago, we were exploring whether sustainable construction was even possible,” said David Hudd, North American cost consultancy director for Arcadis. “Now, we are not only implementing it, but implementing it regularly.”

Construction processes alone are responsible for nearly 12 per cent of global energy-related CO2 emissions. Even though greenhouse gas emissions are dropping as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for the industry to focus on rethinking resilience amid climate change while plotting a course towards a carbon neutral future remains unchanged.

“Sustainability is now more of a core value than an option,” said Hudd. “Be it using timber in lieu of concrete or solar panels for domestic hot water, constructing more sustainable, resilient buildings is a consistent expectation.”

While sustainable construction is sometimes perceived as more expensive, Hudd says it is an important part of where the industry is going and something everyone will be adopting sooner than later.

“Technology, social responsibility and public expectation are pushing more sustainability in construction. For example, almost every new construction project has some requirement for renewable energy,” said Hudd. “Even if it appears costlier up front, the cost of inaction in the long run will be far greater.”

10 most expensive cities for construction in the U.S.

  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Boston
  • Philadelphia
  • Seattle
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Las Vegas
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Salt Lake City

10 most expensive cities for construction in the world

  • London
  • Hong Kong
  • Geneva
  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Zurich
  • Copenhagen
  • Tokyo
  • Dublin
  • Macau

ICC covers 100 of the world’s major cities across six continents and is based on a survey of construction costs, a review of market conditions and the professional judgment of Arcadis’ global team of experts.

Download the full report.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.