San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Construction Costs Rise As Much as 100%

THE rise in the price of fundamentalconstruction materials has led to a 25%increase in overall construction costs persquare meter since last year, according toa survey of construction companies,developers and the Federated Associationof Engineers and Architects, conducted bythe daily La República.Block and cable, for example, haverisen in price 100% between October2004 and 2005, while PVC piping hasrisen 29% and paint has risen 18%. Thedamage caused by the recent hurricanesand the rise in world oil prices are twoprincipal causes for the increase in costs,the daily reported.Buying a bag of cement is moreexpensive in Costa Rica than in any othercountry in Central America, with a 50-kilogram bag costing $6.90 here and$4.70 in Honduras, home of the region’scheapest cement. According to LaRepública, the production of cement inCosta Rica is controlled almost exclusivelyby two companies, Cemex, of Mexico,and Holcim, of Switzerland; the CostaRican Economy Ministry is investigatingthe cause of the high prices.These rising costs are affecting theconstruction industry, where many companiesalready operate with a thin profitmargin and have to assume the coststhemselves, the daily reported.

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