In an effort to keep our construction cost information up to date on our site, it is time for an update on the construction cost per square foot for one of our most popular project types: Office Buildings
Below are a series of charts, excerpted from RSMeans construction cost data, our go-to source on construction cost information. All graph images are courtesy of RSMeans Construction Cost Data. Data source: Reed Construction Data – RSMeans/Charts: Reed Construction Data – CanaData.
For the most common office building size, two to four stories tall, the range is from just over $140 per square foot in Winston-Salem to over $240 per square foot in New York – Note that this is over $10 per square foot more than 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. For example, in some cases where wood frame construction is still allowed, depending on location and occupancy, this would help to keep costs lower. In areas that are restricted to non-flammable construction, price per square foot will go up.
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. While one might expect a larger savings for that economy of scale, several new requirements come with the mid-rise building that are often not dealt with on the low rise buildings. For example, elevator shafts and service corridors get more complicated as well as HVAC systems.
The geographic spread in cost per square foot is identical to the low-rise data and the increase from last year is approximately $6-$11 per square foot depending on region. This is still principally driven by local factors such as labor costs and local regulatory requirements.
Finally, the high rise buildings see the most economic cost per square foot. For buildings between eleven and twenty stories tall, there is approximately an 11% savings over the mid rise buildings and 15% over low rise. this is largely due to the fact that similar elevator, HVAC and service equipment requirements are required for mid and high rise, resulting in more economy of scale for going up.
The data for this year indicates a $15-$30 per square foot or approximately 13% increase in construction cost over last year, depending on region. 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.