"When it comes to commercial construction, New England is steel country. Other parts of the country favor concrete, which is more expensive, but here almost all modern towers and tall residential buildings are built on skeletons of steel columns and beams.
But with construction costs skyrocketing, due largely to the rising price of steel, the developers of a new luxury condominium in Providence that will be Rhode Island's tallest building scrapped plans for a steel structure and drew up a new design for concrete. As a result, Blue Chip Properties LLC squeezed two extra floors into a building that didn't need to be any taller.
'The steel price rises day to day,' said Minhaj Kirmani, a principal of Weidlinger Associates Inc. of Cambridge, consulting engineers to Blue Chip Properties. 'Nobody can guarantee prices six months down the line.'"