How Much of Construction Cost is Labor Vs Materials?

How Much of Construction Cost is Labor Vs Materials?

Construction companies usually face the challenge of allocating their budget effectively to avoid running out of funds in the process. One aspect that affects the budget allocation is labor and material costs. This begs the question: how much of the construction cost is labor vs. materials? In this blog post, we will explore and enlighten construction companies on the cost allocation of labor versus materials.

Importance of Labor Cost

Labor cost is essential in the construction industry as it determines the efficiency and effectiveness of the project. The cost includes the salaries of both skilled and unskilled laborers who are actively involved in the process. In larger construction companies, the salaries of project managers and supervisors are also included in the labor cost.

Importance of Materials Cost

The materials cost is the amount incurred during the buying and transportation of construction materials. Materials costs include structural materials such as concrete and steel, finish materials such as paint, and other additional materials such as fasteners, sealants, and adhesives. A high-quality material ensures better durability and good quality construction. Therefore, the materials cost should not be compromised.

The Ratio Between Labor Cost and Materials Cost

The ratio of labor and materials cost varies depending on the project. Typically, labor costs should be around 20% to 40% of the total construction project cost, while material costs are around 60% to 80%. The ratio can change with projects that require more specialized labor or where the cost of materials is exceptionally high.

Strategies to Reduce Costs

There are ways builders can reduce labor and material costs. One way to reduce labor costs is by hiring temporary workers instead of full-time employees. This arrangement helps minimize payroll taxes, worker’s compensation insurance, or other employee-associated costs. Similarly, materials costs can be reduced by bulk purchasing of construction materials or substituting high-end materials for a more economical option, as long as quality is not sacrificed.

To Sum It Up

In summary, the ratio of labor and material cost is essential for construction companies. While the actual ratio of labor and material costs varies depending on the project, the optimal allocation should be 20% – 40% for labor and 60% – 80% for materials. Identifying cost-saving strategies such as negotiated pricing with suppliers or hiring temporary labor can keep the budget on track. Therefore, construction companies should ensure a proper balance to achieve better profitability and efficient delivery of a construction project.


The construction industry is competitive, and every dollar counts. Construction companies, therefore, should endeavor to make informed decisions when allocating their budget. By knowing the appropriate ratio of labor vs. materials cost, they can maintain the project’s financial integrity. Furthermore, identifying cost-saving strategies can help them achieve profitability while still producing a high-quality construction project. Thus, construction companies should maintain a balance between labor and material costs to achieve their financial goals.

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