Total construction starts are expected to rise 9 percent to $555 billion in 2014, with single-family housing leading the way for the second consecutive year, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s 2014 Dodge Construction Outlook. Commercial construction is expected to increase 17 percent to $72.7 billion, with multifamily housing up 11 percent to $53.1 billion, manufacturing up 8 percent to $14.9 billion and institutional up 2 percent to $89.1 billion. Meanwhile, McGraw-Hill forecasts public works construction to decrease 5 percent to $108.9 billion and electric utility construction to fall 33 percent to $15.5 billion.

The broader U.S. economy is expected to increase 2.7 percent in 2014. It rose only 1.6 percent in 2013, down from 2.8 percent in 2012.

When it comes to the energy sector, Dean Oskvig, president and CEO of Energy for Black and Veatch, says to expect more investment in natural gas infrastructure, particularly in regard to fracking. Global energy use is expected to rise 50 percent by 2035, and the way the United States generates energy is changing. Coal accounted for 52 percent of U.S. net energy generation in 2002, while natural gas accounted for 15 percent. Those numbers are expected to flip by 2035, with coal projected to account for only 9 percent of energy generation and natural gas to account for 57 percent.

On the technology front, industry leaders are expected to increase their use of BIM by 42 percent in the next three years, according to Harvey Bernstein, vice president of Industry Insights & Alliances for McGraw-Hill Construction. The top reasons for using BIM are maintaining repeat business, reducing project durations, increasing profits, and reducing costs, claims and litigation. Mobile access to information is expected to increase 38 percent and the use of cloud storage devices is expected to rise 60 percent. The use of integrated project delivery, sustainable practices, prefabrication and lean construction also is expected to expand.