Haskell Steel closely tracks movement and trends related to numerous pricing components to help its customers, many of whom are owners of massive facilities projects, stay as close to their budgets and schedules as any in the industry.

June 14, 2022

Volatile Steel Prices in Construction: How Haskell Avoids Issues

Using decades of purchasing experience, Haskell can minimize economic challenges strengthened by rising fuel and transportation costs and the war in Ukraine.

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Guy Stenzel, Estimating Manager in Haskell’s Manufacturing Core, tracks current events like a TV news producer, charts steel prices like a commodities trader and creates business intelligence like a Wall Street analyst.

Stenzel and his team interact with materials suppliers and freight companies to assess price and availability trends in eight categories while also tracking other seasonal variables fuel costs, supply of transporters and the effects of current events, such as the war in Ukraine.

The resulting monthly report, “Steel Price and Lead Time Update,” allows Haskell Steel to help its customers, many of whom are owners of massive facilities projects, stay as close to their budgets and schedules as any in the industry. In the event of unexpected volatility, the team issues special reports. Project teams confer with Stenzel before submitting proposals and making client commitments.

“We have been updating that index the second week of every month since October 2021 because the steel industry has been extremely volatile over the last year,” Stenzel said. “Sometimes, products like Joist and Deck can fluctuate 200% in a six-month period. There could be a flattening followed by an increase then another flat month.”

With decades of experience, Haskell Steel has become known in the industry for its ability to navigate market volatility.

Haskell began fabricating its own small steel components in 1978, when three employees set up an operation in a rented former icehouse in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. Today, Haskell Steel employs more than 50 welders and fabricators using state-of-the-art technology to develop more than 10,000 tons of steel per year for projects of varying scale, scope and specialization on behalf of internal and external customers worldwide.

About 80% of Haskell Steel’s production is purchased internally by project managers for use on Haskell projects.

“Fabricating our own steel has always allowed Haskell a competitive advantage, but it is even more significant now, when lead times are growing and the market is volatile,” said Ryan Hollister, Haskell’s Vice President of Manufacturing. “Haskell Steel is always competing to win, and in order to maintain our edge it’s critical we monitor as many of the variables that affect the value of  our products as possible and track the real-time costs of raw materials.

“The ability to estimate our costs and schedule quickly is essential. Many of our customers operate under tight deadlines, and Haskell Steel must respond quickly with accurate information they can rely on to make decisions. We’re proud of our ability to be nimble and flexible to meet our customers’ needs.”

Haskell Steel began publishing its index to ensure customers and Haskell were informed with accurate and transparent information during a time when it could be difficult to find either.  

“We began tracking this information because we needed to know where the market was in order to assess the health of our own operation.” Hollister said. “We were actively bidding on work and realized the high volatility in the market required us to be more analytical. Our index was created out of necessity for our own business, but we also realized the value it had for others that did not possess the same expertise.  

“We have a responsibility to communicate the state of the market to everyone at Haskell. We know how critical this information is, steel is such a major cost and schedule driver on projects and knowing this information early allows Haskell to create both value and certainty for the customers we all serve.” 

Contact Haskell Steel to put our vast expertise and real-time intelligence on your facilities projects.

Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,000 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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