The Turner Corp., a national general builder, projected construction costs in the second quarter of 2003 to remain the same as the first quarter of 2003.

According to the Turner Building Cost Index, the second quarter 2003 index will hold at 620, showing a .32 percent increase from the second quarter 2002 index of 618. This is the third quarter in a row that costs have been projected to remain level, according to the Cost Index.

Karl F. Almstead, the Turner vice president responsible for the Cost Index, said that despite a cautious optimism about the economy on the part of contractors, overall, the commercial construction markets remain flat due to the even level of construction activity.

"The continued reduced commercial construction market activity has kept a cap on prices. However, the increasing insurance, bonding and labor costs are starting to create pricing pressure," Almstead said.

Making forecasts for more than 50 years, Turner is used widely by the construction industry and Federal and State governments. The building costs and price trends tracked by the Turner Building Cost Index may or may not reflect regional conditions in any given quarter. The Cost Index is determined by several factors considered on a nationwide basis-labor rates and productivity, material prices, and the competitive condition of the marketplace.