Master of Science (MS)


Construction Management

Document Type



Most research focused on housing costs has noted a paucity of empirical cost data for residential construction, and researchers have suggested that collecting these data for individual metropolitan areas is ideal. The goal of this study is to obtain these data and compare them to national average sources to determine how well national data represent local costs. Data collection included obtaining prices from big box stores and through a survey of local Baton Rouge residential contractors for material, square foot and assembly costs for the major components of a house (i.e. foundation, wall, roof). From the material cost data evaluated, the results suggest that the average difference between RS Means and locally collected material cost data is minimal; however, RS Means costs were higher than locally collected costs for 67% of the evaluated items. RS Means assembly costs were found to be statistically different from local cost data for 64% of the assemblies tested. Average square foot costs for new residential construction in East Baton Rouge Parish were found to be in the range of $106-$108/SF, excluding the cost of land. NAHB percentage of construction cost data were not statistically different from Baton Rouge percentage of construction costs for the majority of construction stages. Average costs for wind mitigation in the Baton Rouge area were found to be $1.06/SF to increase the roof nailing pattern, $2.34/sf to apply secondary water resistance, and $3.97/SF to install engineered floor-to-wall connectors. These results provide insight into housing cost data for new construction; conceptual budgets for architects during the design stage; quick estimates by those not actively engaged in the construction industry, including homeowners; and provide data for hazard-related loss calculations and future housing economics research.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Friedland, Carol