Construction cost doubles
KARACHI: Besides high food prices and rising utility bills, the cost of construction has doubled over the last five years.
The fixed-income families are finding it difficult to go for expansion or renovation of their houses following substantial rise in prices of sanitary, cement, paints, cement blocks, bajri, wood, steel bar and high labour and mason charges.
A random market survey revealed that since 2006 the prices of construction material and services showed exorbitant rise.
An unskilled labour now charges at least Rs450-500 per day against Rs300 in 2006. Mason demands minimum rate of Rs800 against Rs400 in 2006. Depending on the area, contractor and quality, many mason charge Rs1,000-1,200 for a day.
A three-inch cement block now costs Rs12 as compared to Rs5 in 2006 while the four-inch block available at Rs13 against Rs7, five-inch block at Rs16 against Rs8 and the 15-inch block at Rs25 against Rs10.
A Suzuki loaded with 100 ft quantity bajri now costs Rs1,100-1,200 as compared to Rs400-500 in 2006 while a truck carrying 3,000 ft quantity of bajri is now available at Rs3,500 as against Rs2,000 five years back.
A 50-kg cement bag now sells at over Rs400 as compared to Rs260 in 2006. Different qualities of steel bars are now selling at Rs68,000-75,000 per ton as compared to Rs40,000-44,000 in 2006.
The average cost of construction being charged by the contractor is Rs850 per square yard while many are demanding Rs1,000. In case of a high quality wood work, the construction cost swells to Rs1,400-1,400 per square yard. In 2006, the average construction cost was hovering at Rs500-550 per square foot.
A steel bar dealer said that the cost of construction to build a 120-yard single storey house (in ready to live position) comes to at least Rs1.1 million based on the contractor price of Rs850-1,000 per square foot. In 2006, the same single storey house used to cost Rs650,000.
A plumber-cum-sanitary worker said that labour charges for a 6×6 bathroom (with all sanitary fittings including tiles and pipes) cost at least Rs20,000-22,000 depending on the quality of material as compared to Rs15,000 in 2006. He added that one can estimate the total expenditure of a bathroom if the cost of tiles, pipes, WC, wash basin, commode, etc., is included.
A good quality 3.6-litre paint bucket (decorative and plastic emulsion) now costs Rs1,200-1,400 as compared to Rs600-800 in 2006. Dawn
Many workers and mason interviewed by blamed the surging food inflation, higher transportation charges, petroleum prices etc., for sharp increase in service charges.
“High cost of living has hit us also and it is really hard to manage food and utility bills,” they said. We are now buying flour at Rs33 per kg as compared to Rs15 in 2006, while per litre ghee price is Rs193 per kg as compared to Rs85. The gram pulse rate is double at Rs80-85 per kg from Rs40 while rice of cheap quality is available at Rs50-60 per kg as compared to Rs40-45 per kg,” they explained.
The presence of labour and mason from upcountry has increased in the last few years in Karachi after rising construction activities following the launching of many big projects by the private builders coupled with expansion and renovation activities in posh localities.
Arrival of remittances in huge amounts had played havoc with the property prices which touched unrealistic levels during 2002-2007. The falling rupee against the dollar has made many imported construction material costlier.