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    9-19. Don’t get caught by price increases. - Electronic Edition

    9-19. Don’t get caught by price increases. - Electronic Edition
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     Joe L. says in a discussion about HardiePlanks going up in price on the following month: “Some suppliers will take a deposit and freeze prices for 60-90 days.” Or you can buy and have them store the product. Ask people if any price increases are anticipated, they often know. Also follow our Forum for the word on things like this. Recognize that lumber prices are very seasonal and plan for it.

Cement plants can’t keep up

Utah demand has doubled price of concrete in a year
by Paul Foy
Associated Press Deseret Morning News 2 Feb 06

Utah has an abundance of limestone for mining but too little cement to keep up with construction demand. The shortage has more than doubled the price of concrete in the past year according to a state price index.

The problem doesn’t affect the $212 million restoration of the Utah Capitol, however, where state architect David Hart anticipated a shortage and got his contractors to lock into lower prices with Utah’s only two cement producers more than a year ago. The Capitol contractors also locked into lower prices for structural steel, which jumped to $2.29 a pound in December from $1.43 a year earlier.

Hart said the Capitol’s contractors are trying to pour as much concrete as possible this winter so they won’t need as much by next summer, easing the shortage when commercial and residential builders get busier.

The Capitol’s reconstruction is expected to consume 20,000 cubic yards of concrete — cement mixed with sand and gravel. It isn’t Utah’s largest construction project: No. 1 goes to Intermountain Health Care, which is building a flagship hospital campus in Murray. In volume of construction material, the Capitol reconstruction also could be eclipsed by each of two coal-fired power plants planned for central Utah.

A recent Utah Geological Survey report found the state had 84 high-calcium limestone quarries or deposits, giving Utah centuries’ worth of cement. But only about a dozen of the large and small works are considered active or ready for mining, said senior state geologist Bryce Tripp, who wrote the 80-plus page report, “High-Calcium Limestone Resources of Utah,” published in November, to encourage more mining.

The state’s only cement producers — Zurich-based Holcim Ltd. operates one plant in Morgan County and Ash Grove Cement Co. of Overland, Kan., runs another in Juab County — can’t keep up with demand in Utah, and a third company is looking to open an operation, said Tripp, who declined to identify the company.

“Building a new plant is expensive and time-consuming. It takes a few years to bring a plant on line,” he said.

More Mexican cement will be allowed into the U.S. under an agreement in principle announced Jan. 19, 2006 by the Bush administration, but that won’t bring relief to Utah anytime soon, said Dave Marshall, general superintendent for the Utah Capitol construction team of Jacobsen Construction Co. of Salt Lake City and Hunt Construction Group of Phoenix.

One recent day saw trucks dump 50 loads of concrete at the Capitol. The concrete is being used to form new footings, support beams and shear walls that together with a set of shock absorbers will allow the Capitol to sway and list without collapsing in a magnitude-7 earthquake — a jolt geologists say could happen at any time.

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