KATHMANDU, Dec 18: Rajendra Kandel, a teacher of Viswo Niketan Higher Secondary School, Tripureswore had initially estimated to complete construction of his dream home with Rs 2.5 million last year. To his surprise, the cost is all set to cross Rs 3.5 million at the time when his five-room home near Banasthali is complete.
Skyrocketing prices of major construction materials in the market have put huge hole in the wallets of those who are building homes during this season. "I had planned the sources of money according to my initial estimation that I can complete the home with Rs 2.5 million. But, ballooning prices of construction materials have forced me to look for alternative source of borrowing to complete the home," Kandel told Republica.
Either stagnant or declining prices of apartment units or land plots had given relief to those who wants to make home in the capital. On the other hand, those who are planning or making home are highly inflicted as the prices of materials holding significant chunk in total construction cost, are going through the roof. Like Kandel, thousands of people are facing tough times to limit the cost given the soaring construction expenses.
Traders said the prices of major construction materials have shot up by up to 30 percent over the year.
"Construction materials are becoming less affordable to those who are making home or planning to make home with their limited resources. Over the year, prices of construction materials have seen upheaval beyond our expectation," said Kishore Dhakal, proprietor of Dhakal Bandhu Hardware Suppliers in Thankot.
According to Dhakal, prices of cement used for RCC and general use shot up to Rs 780 per ( 50kg) sack and Rs 680 sack from Rs 575 and Rs 490 respectively. Similarly, rod price also increased to Rs 8,100 per quintal from Rs 6,800 last year.
Raju Bhujel, another construction material supplier, said prices of sand and stone also rose to Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 per truck load from Rs 12,000 and Rs 9,000 last year. Similarly, concrete (aggregates) become dearer by around Rs 3,500 per truck load to reach Rs 19,000 over the year.
"Frequent disruptions by local people in extracting sands and stone have created scarcity of those materials in the market leading to price rise. Prolonging load-shedding hours have limited the production of aggregates making it more expensive and it´s supplies erratic," said Bhujel who has been running his depot near Thankot Check Post.
Worse still, the prices of wooden windows and door frames have not only shot up significantly but their supplies have been limited creating scarcity of those materials. The supplies of wood have reduced remarkably in the market after the governments tightened the auctioning and jacked up the price for forest woods from last year.
"We are not in a position to supply the wooden frames for windows and doors as demanded by our customers given the limited supplies of woods from source Tarai districts due to government´s tough policy in auctioning of Sal woods. So we are encouraging house owners to use aluminium frames that are easily available and are cheaper ," said Shyam Bhattachan, a leading dealer of woods in the capital. Price of wooden frame (made of Sal) increased to Rs 4,500 per cube feet from Rs 2,700 last year.
As the most of the brick kilns are running out of stocks, producers have jacked up the bricks to Rs 8,500 per 1,000 units, which is around Rs 2,000 more compared to the price last year.
"We can´t supply the bricks at the price set last year as labor cost and price of coal used for heating the bricks increased significantly over the year," said Sanjaya Maharjan, proprietor of Adinarayan Brick Kiln near Nagdhunga.
Given the increasing shortage of construction workers amid growing number of youth leaving for overseas jobs, labor cost for building construction also continued to rise.
"Daily wages of construction workers have shot up by between Rs 100 to Rs 200 depending on the skills of workers," said Sampurna Balami, a building contractor, who is currently undertaking construction of three private homes in Naikap and Gurjudhara areas. He said mason and labor are getting a daily wage of Rs 800 and Rs 500 respectively. "Deepening shortage of workers and rising inflation have increased the wages which eventually affects the house owners," said Balami, who has been involved in building construction for the last 15 years.