Mortenson: Milwaukee construction costs grew faster than nationally in 2018

Contractor expects costs to level out this year

Construction on the Fiserv Forum began in June 2016.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:55 am

Construction costs grew in the Milwaukee area at a higher rate than nationally, according to the quarterly construction cost index report from Mortenson Construction.

Construction of the Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee finished in 2018.

According to Mortenson’s fourth-quarter report, Milwaukee’s overall construction costs grew steadily during 2018 and ended the year 8.3 percent higher than the prior year. Nationally, costs increased by 7 percent for the year. The Milwaukee area’s construction labor costs, meanwhile, grew 5 percent year-over-year in 2018.

Mortenson noted that ongoing labor shortages, increased materials costs due to tariffs and continued economic growth will continue impacting construction costs heading into 2019.

The company said it expects costs increases to level out for the coming year, since most of the observed impacts from tariffs have occurred. If ongoing trade disputes subside, cost growth could fall back to a range of 4 to 6 percent in 2019.

The Minneapolis-based contractor, which has an office in Brookfield, has served as construction manager for several major area projects such as the Fiserv Forum, Marquette University’s Athletic and Human Performance Research Center and Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Dwight and Dianne Diercks Computational Science Hall, among others.

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.