Construction News from Colorado

From the Colorado Gazette - "What a difference a year makes. In 2005, home construction in Colorado Springs and El Paso County soared to a second straight record-setting year. In 2006, the pace of home building fell to its lowest level in more than a decade."

"The 2006 slowdown delivered a blow to the construction industry, which employs thousands of carpenters, framers, painters and other workers. Several builders, from local firms Vantage and Classic Cos. to national companies such as Pulte, said they laid off workers when production sagged. The slowdown also was felt among plumbers, electricians and other subcontractors."

"Heidi and Greg Smith, who own Affordable Plumbing and Heat Inc. in Colorado Springs, said they were hit by a one-two punch in 2006. First, prices for copper and other materials skyrocketed. When the company hoped to offset those higher costs by doing more work, home builders cut back on construction. The result: Affordable Plumbing laid off 26 of 47 employees."

"'Instead of the subs being able to recoup the losses, building is down by 25 percent,' Heidi Smith said. 'So now it's a fight to get the work, and you have to bid as low as you possibly can to undercut everybody else to get the work.'"