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Cost and Availability of Structural Steel

Albina Pipe Bending Co., Inc. understands the impact that material availability and consistent material costs have on steel fabricators. We are in a current economy where structural steel required for a project is not always readily available and if it is available it may not be available at the originally quoted cost.

In a memo to valued customers dated March 19th 2007, Albina Pipe Bending has learned from a local steel service center, Lampros Steel:

“If you haven’t heard by now, prices for most steel products are going up- quickly. Scrap has been increasing in value dramatically in the past thirty days- and China is not a factor. In fact, China is out of the scrap market at present. Russia is seeing huge steel demand within their borders and has stopped exporting on the world market. Korea and Japan are busy-and-they are large scrap buyers.”

Marcus Lampros went on to indicate, “Where is supply heading? We have already seen signs of another shortage. Nucor has already cut back allocation to some fabricators and distributors. Small beams shouldn’t be a problem- large beams, especially 14” and 16”, will be hard to get.”

The advice from Lampros is, “do not panic! Wide Flange will stay high for the rest of the year-plan on it. Shortages will occur for certain, so make sure to lock up your steel when you get a job- and make sure the sized are available when you need them.”

To help avoid problems associated with material shortages and fluctuating steel costs Albina Pipe Bending feels that early interaction with subcontractors is essential. Steel fabricators should contact a qualified bending company early in a project- don’t hesitate to get an order placed. Bending companies, like Albina Pipe Bending, can purchase material and put it on hold at today’s costs which will hold pricing consistent and will insure that material is available when bending is required. This early involvement will also secure a spot on a benders production schedule which will also help reduce the bending lead-time.

Plan ahead and communicate with all key subcontractors! It will be the best way to avoid problems associated with material shortages and fluctuating material costs.