Totally insane prices for steel shocked electrical distributors, independent reps, electrical manufacturers, end users and anyone else who had to buy steel in 2004. While price increases have moderated in 2005, prices are still pretty darn high.
At least one project manager should be patting himself on the back for locking in on steel prices two years ago for a recently completed major project. According to a report in the Feb. 28 issue of Engineering News Record (ENR), Vince Davenport was the project construction director who handled site logistics for “The Gates” art exhibit constructed in the Big Apple’s Central Park last month. Davenport was in charge of purchasing the steel for the 7,500 steel structures that supported the billowing saffron-colored nylon curtains in the exhibit, which covered over 20 miles of trails in Central Park.
Davenport locked in steel prices two years ago for his order for steel from International Steel Group. While he was hit with a surcharge for the 5,290 tons of steel, the ENR article said the real cost over-run in the project was the $5 million in unexpected additional costs for trucking and labor.
“The Gates” was finally constructed after 25 years of planning by husband-and-wife artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
They have another big project in mind. In their “Over the River” creation, the couple plans to cover up to 7 miles of the Arkansas River in Colorado with brightly covered fabric. Steel costs won’t be as bad on this project — the fabric will be anchored by steel wire cables attached to the upper part of the river banks. According to their Web site, Christo and Jeanne-Claude have not secured the proper permits for this project.