They say that some firms have resorted to appealing to the public to be vigilant and keep an eye on sites and report suspicious behaviour.
Thieves are targeting building sites to steal diesel fuel, building materials and mechanical equipment, squeezing contractors.
Director of CECA North East Douglas Kell has written to media in the region to appeal for public support.
"A number of our member firms have suffered already. The police are taking action, but with fuel prices still high, inflation in material costs rife and now the effects of the credit crunch we fear the thefts will continue and perhaps even increase."
1,000 litres of diesel has risen in price from £300 a year ago to £800 today. Prices of contracting and building materials, like piping and copper wire, have risen in price by as much as 33%.
Criminals are also lining their pockets through higher prices paid for booty they pass off as scrap metal, police making random calls on scrapyards confirm
Kell says that the thefts will have a knock-on impact on costs. "It's not only the higher costs of replacing stolen materials, but also in providing more security. Some costs in the end have to be built into prices for work done, whether onroads, bridges or entire estates of homes or commercial buildings.
"So the thieves are stealing not only from businesses but from taxpayers, and even from people having small jobs done at home. Also, greater demand abroad for products and materials is leading to delays of up to six weeks in replacing stolen items - inconvenience and more unnecessary costs," he says.