The cost of all types of construction work is still increasing year on year despite the downturn, research carried out for Building by cost consultant Davis Langdon has shown

Building costs were up by 7.3% in the last quarter of 2008 from the same time the previous year. Mechanical costs went up by 5.2% and electrical costs by 5%.

Peter Fordham, a cost research associate at Davis Langdon, said the figures were still increasing because of inflationary pressures in 2008. He said: “Wages went up in the middle of the year by about 6% and material prices went up by 6.9%.”

Fordham expects the numbers for the first quarter of 2009 to rise again, although he believes the increase will be less. He said he expected building cost increases to drop below 6%, mechanical to drop to 4.8% and electrical to 3.9%. He added that costs could continue to rise until 2009 and early 2010 as M&E labour rates have been agreed at 5%.

The news came as retail price inflation hit zero this week – the lowest figure since 1960.