Bil-Jax warns scaffolders against waiting to buy

By Maria Hadlow30 May 2008

The rising price of steel will very soon impact the price of scaffolding warns Bil-Jax, a US company which manufactures both scaffolding and aerial work platforms.

Bil-Jax CEO, Jeff Ott, suggests that scaffold customers protect themselves from rising costs by securing their purchases now rather than waiting. "It is clear," he says that scaffold prices will continue to rise given the nearly 100% increase in steel in five short months with no end in sight. Scaffolding bought today will only cost more in the foreseeable future."

According to Ed Karasz of Allied Tube and Conduit, a major US supplier of scaffold tubing, "Mechanical tubing has increased in cost over 85% this year as a result of demand for steel coil exceeding capacity on the world market by at least 20%. Just getting coil at any price has become, in many cases, impossible."

US manufacturers use around 130 million tons of steel a year, of which only 110 million tons are produced in the USA. The imports which used to make up the shortfall from countries such as Russia, India and China are now being used in these countries home markets so the USA finds itself with a shortfall.

In addition, the weak dollar has made international markets attractive to US steel manufacturers who, "are able to make more money overseas," says Mr Karasz. At the same time companies in the US are being targeted for buy out and it is estimated that half of America's steel mills are owned by companies from outside the USA.

According to American Metal Market Research (April 2008), the cost of hot-rolled steel coil has risen from $580 per ton to $1050 per ton over the last year. If, as is expected, the price tops $1100 by late Summer 2008 you could to worse than to follow Jeff Ott's advice.

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