Disaster-Caused Increases in Construction Costs

by Thomas N. Yancey, Jr., (A.M.ASCE), Civ. Engr.; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk Dist., Norfolk, Va.,
D. Earl Jones, Jr., (F.ASCE), Chf. Civ. Engr.; FHA-HUD, Washington, D.C.,
l. Douglas James, (M.ASCE), Dir.; Utah Water Resources Lab., Utah State Univ., College of Engrg., Logan, Utah,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1976, Vol. 46, Issue 9, Pg. 94-96

Document Type: Feature article


When major disasters do more damage than the local building industry can repair, the resultant shortage of repair resources causes prices to escalate. Examination of the factors that affect the supply of and demand for repair services in the context of such recent disasters as Hurricane Camille and Tropical Storm Agnes suggests the amount of direct damage divided by the annual volume of contract construction in the local BEA Economic Area as a reasonable index for approximating the escalation. Information on 15 disasters suggests that serious escalation begins at an index value of about 10. Information on damages caused by Agnes to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, indicates that an event of index value 9.1 increased repair costs by a factor of 2.7 and total damages by a factor of 4.0 an effect that more than doubled average annual flood damages. A very tentative linear relationship between index values and flood damages is supplied for estimating purposes.

Subject Headings: Disasters and hazards | Construction management | Construction costs

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