Construction Cost Per Square Foot for Multi Story Office Buildings

by Dean Dalvit on March 17, 2011

In an effort to keep our information current with a constantly changing economy, I am posting an update to the series on Estimated Construction Costs per square foot for Multi-Story Office Buildings. Below are three charts from RSMeans construction cost data that illustrates the cost per square foot for new construction sorted by region from the most expensive to the least expensive.

The construction cost for these projects inched up only very slightly in the last year, only representing right around a 1% increase, and in some cases nearly zero increase. For the most common office building size, two to four stories tall, the range is from just over $130 per square foot in Winston-Salem to over $230 per square foot in New York. Like last year, the spread here is largely due to the local cost of labor and regulations that allow various construction types that are allowed in low rise construction.

5 to 10 story office buildings also increased slightly in most markets, but actually dropped 0.3% in Denver, among a small handful of other markets. By taking advantage of savings provided by vertical construction, you will see approximately a 4% savings in cost per square foot by increasing the stories to between five and ten stories.

Finally, the high rise buildings see the most economic cost per square footWe actually see a slight dip in construction costs in most markets from the previous year. While this dip is slight,  0.1% in New York,  1.2% in Denver and 0.1% in Dallas, it still shows that construction costs are still very controlled from growth by the recent economy.

For buildings between eleven and twenty stories tall, there is approximately an 11% savings over the mid rise buildings and 15% over low rise. The geographic spread is still the same, telling us that the cost per square foot is very sensitive to geographic location. Note that over twenty stories starts getting into more unique building characteristics that will drive costs in various ways. For more information on estimating the cost of your office building during the early planning stages, contact any of us here at EVstudio and we can help scope the right size project for your pro forma.

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