RSMeans’ dollar-per-square-foot construction costs for medical facilities and a high-rise residence

03/26/2013 by Alex Carrick

Accompanying this report are tables based on RSMeans’ measures of dollar-per-square-foot construction costs.

This month, the 25 major-city results are for three types of health care facilities – a two-to-three-story hospital, a four-to-eight-story hospital and a nursing home – plus a high-rise apartment building, eight to 24 stories tall.

Comparisons with other types of structure

According to RSMeans, the cheapest types of structure to build, after extremely low-cost parking garages, are factories and warehouses.

A convenience store also belongs in this low-expense grouping.

Department stores and movie theatres are a little pricier. 

In the mid-range for construction costs are nursing homes, office buildings, hotels and high-rise apartment buildings.

In the latter three categories, heights above ten stories tend to lower the dollar-per-square-footage cost.

Also in the mid-range for construction costs are elementary and secondary schools, along with institutions of higher learning.

By far the most expensive types of structure to build are hospitals, jails/prisons, courthouses and police stations.

Some of the foregoing institutional building categories exceed $350 per square foot in the largest urban centers.

In New York, for example, the cost of a low-rise hospital exceeds $400 per square foot. 

U.S. dollars per square foot construction costs –
By type of structure – fall 2012
    MAJOR CITIES
(alphabetically)
hospital (2 to 3 stories) hospital (4 to 8 stories)
2012 2011   % CHANGE 2012 2011   % CHANGE
1   ATLANTA $295.14 $285.34   3.4% $257.76 $248.34   3.8%
2   BALTIMORE 312.65 302.33   3.4% 273.06 263.12   3.8%
3   BOSTON 396.27 379.09   4.5% 346.09 329.93   4.9%
4   CHICAGO 390.98 376.26   3.9% 341.47 327.46   4.3%
5   CLEVELAND 330.83 318.69   3.8% 288.94 277.36   4.2%
6   DALLAS 285.55 274.96   3.9% 249.39 239.30   4.2%
7   DENVER 314.97 303.59   3.7% 275.08 264.22   4.1%
8   DETROIT 346.03 331.90   4.3% 302.22 288.86   4.6%
9   HOUSTON 290.18 279.05   4.0% 253.43 242.86   4.4%
10   KANSAS CITY 347.03 334.11   3.9% 303.08 290.78   4.2%
11   LOS ANGELES 357.93 345.75   3.5% 312.61 300.91   3.9%
12   MIAMI 300.09 289.75   3.6% 262.09 252.17   3.9%
13   MINNEAPOLIS 371.15 360.85   2.9% 324.15 314.05   3.2%
14   NEW ORLEANS 296.79 282.20   5.2% 259.21 245.60   5.5%
15   NEW YORK CITY 442.87 425.02   4.2% 386.79 369.90   4.6%
16   PHILADELPHIA 383.38 369.03   3.9% 334.83 321.17   4.3%
17   PHOENIX 297.45 283.77   4.8% 259.79 246.97   5.2%
18   PITTSBURGH 340.08 325.30   4.5% 297.02 283.11   4.9%
19   PORTLAND 331.49 322.78   2.7% 289.52 280.92   3.1%
20   ST. LOUIS 342.07 331.27   3.3% 298.75 288.31   3.6%
21   SAN DIEGO 343.72 332.22   3.5% 300.20 289.13   3.8%
22   SAN FRANCISCO 410.48 395.14   3.9% 358.50 343.89   4.2%
23   SEATTLE 349.01 337.25   3.5% 304.81 293.51   3.9%
24   WASHINGTON, DC 327.53 316.49   3.5% 286.05 275.44   3.9%
25   WINSTON-SALEM 261.10 245.70   6.3% 228.03 213.84   6.6%
MAJOR CITIES
(alphabetically)
nursing home apartment building (8 to 24 stories)
2012 2011   % CHANGE 2012 2011   % CHANGE
1   ATLANTA $180.48 $178.41   1.2% $205.39 $197.91   3.8%
2   BALTIMORE 191.19 189.03   1.1% 217.58 209.69   3.8%
3   BOSTON 242.32 237.02   2.2% 275.77 262.93   4.9%
4   CHICAGO 239.08 235.25   1.6% 272.09 260.97   4.3%
5   CLEVELAND 202.30 199.26   1.5% 230.23 221.04   4.2%
6   DALLAS 174.61 171.92   1.6% 198.72 190.71   4.2%
7   DENVER 192.60 189.82   1.5% 219.19 210.56   4.1%
8   DETROIT 211.60 207.52   2.0% 240.81 230.20   4.6%
9   HOUSTON 177.44 174.47   1.7% 201.94 193.54   4.3%
10   KANSAS CITY 212.21 208.90   1.6% 241.50 231.73   4.2%
11   LOS ANGELES 218.87 216.17   1.2% 249.09 239.80   3.9%
12   MIAMI 183.51 181.16   1.3% 208.84 200.96   3.9%
13   MINNEAPOLIS 226.96 225.61   0.6% 258.29 250.28   3.2%
14   NEW ORLEANS 181.49 176.44   2.9% 206.54 195.73   5.5%
15   NEW YORK CITY 270.81 265.74   1.9% 308.20 294.79   4.5%
16   PHILADELPHIA 234.44 230.73   1.6% 266.80 255.95   4.2%
17   PHOENIX 181.89 177.42   2.5% 207.00 196.82   5.2%
18   PITTSBURGH 207.96 203.39   2.2% 236.67 225.62   4.9%
19   PORTLAND 202.71 201.81   0.4% 230.69 223.87   3.0%
20   ST. LOUIS 209.17 207.13   1.0% 238.05 229.76   3.6%
21   SAN DIEGO 210.18 207.72   1.2% 239.20 230.42   3.8%
22   SAN FRANCISCO 251.01 247.06   1.6% 285.66 274.06   4.2%
23   SEATTLE 213.42 210.86   1.2% 242.88 233.91   3.8%
24   WASHINGTON, DC 200.28 197.88   1.2% 227.93 219.51   3.8%
25   WINSTON-SALEM 159.66 153.62   3.9% 181.70 170.41   6.6%
Data source: Tables were abstracted from RSMeans cost data publications for the A/E/C industry. For more information about RSMeans Square Foot Cost Guide and RSMeans CCI (Construction Cost Index), which indexes square foot costs for cities in the U.S. and Canada, visit the online bookstore at www.rsmeans.com and click on cost data publications (or call 1-800-448-8182).
Charts: Reed Construction Data – RS Means and CanaData.

Hospital (2 to 3 stories) construction cost:
fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Hospital (2 to 3 stories) construction cost: fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Hospital (4 to 8 stories) construction cost:
fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Hospital (4 to 8 stories) construction cost: fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Nursing home construction cost:
fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Nursing home construction cost: fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Apartment building (8 to 24 stories) construction cost:
fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Department store (three stories) construction cost: fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
These charts and tables were abstracted from RSMeans cost data publications for the A/E/C industry. For more information about RSMeans Square Foot Cost Guide and RSMeans CCI (Construction Cost Index), which indexes square foot costs for cities in the U.S. and Canada, visit the online bookstore at www.rsmeans.com and click on cost data publications (or call 1-800-448-8182).
Data source: Reed Construction Data – RS Means (www.rsmeans.com).
Charts: Reed Construction Data – CanaData