General contracting giant The Turner Corp. said that construction costs in the second quarter of 2003 are projected 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.

"Despite cautious optimism about the economy on the part of contractors, overall, the commercial construction markets remain flat (and this) has kept a cap on prices," Karl F. Almstead, the Turner vice president responsible for the Cost Index, said in a statement. "However, the increasing insurance, bonding and labor costs are starting to create pricing pressure," he noted.

Turner has made its quarterly forecast for more than 50 years. Used widely by the construction industry and federal and state governments, the Cost Index is determined by several factors considered on a nationwide basis, including labor rates and productivity, material prices, and the competitive condition of the marketplace.

The Turner Corp., through Turner Construction Co. and other construction subsidiaries, is based in Dallas and completed $6.2 billion of construction in 2002.