Construction Markets

Don’t Mess With Texas Construction...Until You Know the Rules

Between 2010 and 2016, Texas’ population grew at the second-greatest rate in the country, accompanied by increased demand for residential, retail and commercial space. With companies such as State Farm and Toyota relocating company headquarters to North Texas, contractors nationwide are dedicating more resources to Texas than ever before. 

Wise contractors will be wary of the unique Texas laws that affect them. With proper understanding and preparation, contractors can save the pain and expense of subsequent litigation. 
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2018 Regional Construction Outlook

Starting in 2012, the construction sector generally has turned in stronger growth than the overall economy. However, that growth has not been evenly distributed within the industry. Residential construction has had the strongest rebound, with notable differences. Multifamily construction has fully recovered, while single-family construction, although improving, struggles with starts still well below the nation’s long-term needs. The outlook is for multifamily construction to continue roughly around its current level and for single- family construction to slowly grow. The South and West will be the main beneficiaries of the improvement in single-family construction. 
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2018 Construction Economic Forecast: Confidence Is the Key

Last year, the U.S. economy only managed 1.5 percent growth. It then expanded just 1.2 percent during 2017’s initial quarter on an annualized basis, the latest in a string of weak first quarters. In other words, for more than a year, the U.S. economy has been consistently growing at less than 2 percent.

That changed, at least temporarily, during the second quarter of 2017. Based on revised estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. economy expanded 3 percent on an annualized basis from April through June. As has been the case for several years, much of the progress was driven by growth in consumer outlays. Government spending, by contrast, continues to contribute little, if anything, to the current pace of economic expansion. In fact, based on construction data, investment in a number of publicly financed infrastructure categories has been in decline, including spending on dams and levies, highways and streets, and water systems.  
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Building the Contemporary Coliseum

When owners and operators of a professional franchise lobby a community for a new or updated stadium or arena, they frequently argue that construction and operation of the facility will boost the local economy. On the surface, that makes sense. Arenas and stadiums are expensive to construct and they have a propensity to attract large numbers of visitors with disposable income, including from other communities. That fuels spending, hotel stays, job creation and tax revenues.
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Airport Construction and Design Is Taking Off Thanks to Virtual Reality

While VDC improves the efficiency of projects of any size, it significantly supports the construction of larger, more complex airport jobs. This is achieved through an integrated process that brings together the most critical components of a project: logistics, scheduling, safety and cost. Virtual reality then provides stakeholders with the opportunity to become immersed in the environment. Experiencing complex projects in this manner can create a more fluid decision-making process and fewer surprises down the road.
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A Renewed Focus on Resiliency in Wood Construction

In light of several recent natural disasters affecting North America, there is renewed focus on the resiliency of buildings. Because ongoing development will increase the total number of buildings exposed to these extreme weather events, the construction industry must play an active role in enhancing resiliency.
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Sealing in Building Performance: Innovations Spark New Opportunities for Energy Savings

With the development of aerosol-based sealing, the tide has begun to turn on duct leakage. During the past six years or so, hundreds of commercial buildings across the country (and the world) have solved previously unsolvable ventilation issues, energy waste concerns, poor indoor air quality and other factors directly related to duct leakage. 
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Trickle-down Infrastructure

Whenever infrastructure has come up as a political topic in recent years, it’s assumed to mean large, publicly funded projects: interstate highways, municipal water systems, dams and ports. But an anticipated flood of construction activity in this sector has a trickle-down effect. Construction owners that support infrastructure functions—such as transportation—sense opportunities and invest private funds in their own projects.
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FAA Awards More Airport Infrastructure Grants

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is awarding $162.4 million in airport infrastructure grants for 72 airports in 31 states through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). So far this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced more than 1,350 airport grants totaling $2.1 billion affecting 1,205 airports—targeting projects for runways, taxiways, and airport signage, lighting and markings.
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Why It’s Construction’s Time for E-commerce

While the business-to-business wave of e-commerce technology might not be generating as much buzz as the platforms people are most familiar with (Uber, Amazon, etc.), it can deliver serious benefits for equipment and materials procurement in the construction industry. 

According to estimates by market research firm Forrester, business- to-business e-commerce will reach $1.2 trillion and account for 13.1 percent of all business-to-business sales in the United States by 2021. At the end of 2017, Forrester expects e-commerce to reach $889 billion and represent 11 percent of total business-to-business sales in the United States.
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The New Advantages of Tin-plated Roofing

In addition to lasting 40 or more years depending on the material, metal roofing is significantly lighter in weight than standard tiles, 100 percent recyclable, and will not spark or flame during fires or if hit by lightning. 
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How Technology-enabled Collaboration Will Streamline Engineering Economics

Fueled by the adoption of the cloud and new advancements in information management, machine learning and big data, fabricators and manufacturers will become more agile, gaining more control and predictability of their supply chain.
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Stop Neglecting Energy-consuming Elevators

A primary consumer of energy is one of the most neglected by building professionals: elevators. They can devour as much as 10 percent of a building’s energy. If ignored, elevators can quickly become an environmental and economic drain. 
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Baton Rouge Leads U.S. Cities in Construction and Extraction Jobs

When it comes to construction and extraction (C&E) job opportunities, Baton Rouge, La., is the place to be. However, when looking at the cost of living, C&E workers in second-place Detroit got a bigger bang for their buck.

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U.S. Transportation Market Set to End 2017 on High Note

Airports and ports should continue to experience strong activity through the end of 2017, with increased traffic driving related construction spending on upgrades and expansions. Toll roads will see a more modest boost in revenue due to toll increases and will continue to face resistance from anti-toll groups. 
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The P3 Market: America vs. the Rest of the World

Unlike the United States, countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada have developed a number of practices that add certainty to the pursuit of P3s, including dedicated procurement offices, standardized contracting, and the application of P3s across infrastructure asset classes.
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Trump Administration Lays Foundation for Infrastructure Plan

This is an exciting time for construction industry stakeholders, as America’s infrastructure may see its first major overhaul in decades. President Trump’s agenda requires bold bipartisan action from the federal government to reduce regulatory burdens and provide pathways for private sector engagement and investment. The construction industry has a tremendous opportunity to author transformative policies that break the inadequate status quo. 
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The Power of Prefabrication to Generate Efficiencies and Cost Savings

Prefabrication no longer means “looks like all the others.” Today, the power of prefabrication exhibits how design technology and manufacturing can work together to improve the industry while still producing unique and visually appealing structures.
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Smart Buildings Market Prepares to Take Off

The global smart buildings market is continuing to grow, with a new report from Zion Market Research projecting its value to increase from $7 billion in 2014 to $36 billion in 2020, growing at a compound annual rate of 30 percent.
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Baby Boomers Redefine Senior Living

Similar to retail developers, senior living housing developers focus on creating an appealing experience for their customers. Out are the sterile, utilitarian institutions of old, and in are senior living facilities that cater to baby boomers who are demanding more than the previous generation. 
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The Graying of America

Senior housing—be it assisted or independent living—is no longer a one-size-fits-all facility. Many communities are now sporting more contemporary designs and featuring modern furnishings that incorporate technology.
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A User’s Perspective on Health Care Trends

Darrell O. Simpson, senior vice president of development at The Sanders Trust, Birmingham, Ala., offers candid feedback o health care segments, workforce concerns, and the benefits of collaboration, BIM and prefabrication. 
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A New Continuum of Care

The health care industry’s shift from treating sickness to supporting preventive wellness is starting to take shape on the construction front—and the geographic scope of services is broadening as well. Recognizing this new continuum of care, medical providers are busy building or expanding outpatient clinics, freestanding primary care facilities, specialty cancer centers and rehabilitation hospitals. With those services spider-webbing into the community, main hospital campuses are undergoing renovations to meet standards for private rooms and adapt spaces to accommodate the remaining patients who need serious care.
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Data and Technology Will Fuel the Megacities of the Future

In connected 2050 cities, all kinds of infrastructure—energy, water, transportation, buildings and governance—will “talk” to each other to prioritize needs, optimize performance, minimize energy use, and make life more enjoyable and productive for the people who live in and travel between cities.
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P3s: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

With government officials’ increasing understanding of the P3 structure, the narrowing difference in financing cost thanks to federal programs, and a focus on life cycle costs and risk transfer, governments across the country are beginning to look to P3s as a way to deliver on promises of infrastructure investment. Many governments are in the process of evaluating public-private partnerships in meaningful ways, conducting rigorous analyses to determine whether a P3 is the prudent way to procure a project. 

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The Hospitality Market Heats Up

With the summer months in full swing, so is the 2017 travel season. Warm weather, long days and the kids off school mean families all over the country are in the midst of their summer adventures. Considering the current geopolitical state, economic forecasters are cautiously observing what the 2017 travel season will mean for the hospitality industry.
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Mid-year economic Forecast: Momentum Meets Intrigue

If economic performance reflected consumer and business ebullience, the United States would be in the midst of a historic boom. As an example, a recent Small Business Economic Trends survey from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) indicates that business confidence is at the 97th percentile, meaning business confidence is only this high 3 percent of the time. According to NFIB, “small business owners remain optimistic about the future of the economy and the direction of consumer confidence. We are encouraged by signs that optimism is translated into economic activity, such as capital investment and job creation.”
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How Millennials Have Shaped the Construction Industry—for Better and for Worse

Last year marked a milestone for the country’s youngest generation of workers, commonly known as millennials: They overtook baby boomers as the largest workforce segment in America. Employers should be ecstatic that elevated rates of retirement are positioned to be offset by an influx of younger, energetic, tech-savvy workers ready to stimulate productivity. 
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NAIOP Announces 2016’s Top 10 States for Commercial Development

Office, industrial, warehouse and retail real estate development supported 6.25 million American jobs and contributed $861 billion to U.S. GDP in 2016, according to an annual study by NAIOP. The top 10 states for commercial development, beginning with the highest construction value, were New York, Texas, California, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Only New York, Texas and Florida remained in the same position as 2015. 

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Survey Finds Growing Appetite for P3 Projects

In the next three years, 85 percent of public sector respondents to Husch Blackwell’s third annual Public-Private Partnership (P3) Conference Survey stated they are planning for multiple P3 projects. On the private side, 93 percent of respondents from AEC and financial firms affirmed the same.
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Back in Session

After years of stagnation, construction of K-12 schools is finally ramping back up in many districts across the country. In fact, institutional construction is expected to increase 10 percent this year to $118.5 billion, according to Dodge Data and Analytics’ 2017 Dodge Construction Outlook. This number largely is driven by the education sector, which comprises more than 40 percent of the institutional market. 
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Bringing Health Care to Retail Centers

With hospital stays becoming more expensive, the federal government reducing the services it will reimburse, hospitals nationwide consolidating and fewer people traveling long distances for care, the physical spaces needed to deliver health care are changing rapidly.

For the construction industry, this means builders and developers have the opportunity to repurpose former hospital structures and develop ambulatory care centers, outpatient centers and medical malls. This trend can be seen across the country, and it shows no signs of abating.
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(Re)Constructing the Retail Sector

It has been a long time since the words “growth” and “retail” have been used in the same sentence in construction circles. In fact, for more than five years, commercial construction has either risen (or fallen) due to the indirect challenges of weak consumer spending, as well as changes in where, when, how and on what consumers spend their hard-earned dollars. 

Now, the numbers are showing that retail construction is enjoying a renaissance as consumers loosen the purse strings and regain confidence in the economy. And while department store closings remain the Achilles’ heel for malls, according to JLL, a financial and professional services firm that specializes in commercial real estate services and investment management, there appears to be ample demand for the new use of that space.
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Trump Administration Targets 50 U.S. Infrastructure Projects Worth Over $137B

The Trump administration has compiled a preliminary list of 50 high-priority “emergency and national security” infrastructure projects valued at more than $137 billion and has solicited the nation’s governors for input. 

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Iron Assets Are Known; It's Time for Digital Resources

The third week of 2017 was busy for shareholders in the heavy construction equipment industry, with financial institutions and asset management groups cutting down their stakes in the shares of leading manufacturing companies. Despite the rollercoaster ride, Wall Street expects some attractive profit figures by the end of the last quarter of the 2016-2017 financial year. The optimism is tied to the profit tracking of financial releases for the prominent vendors in the industry. 
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Study Reveals Less Volatility in Remodeling Market

In comparing new construction and commercial remodels during the course of the Great Recession, BuildFax found additions, remodels and alterations dipped 9.7 percent at their lowest point (versus pre-crisis levels), while new construction permits plunged 43 percent between 2008 and 2011.
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New Guide Touts Quiet Hotel Construction

A new Quiet Room® Guide is available to help architects, developers and construction professionals understand the Quiet Room® label, as well as related certification requirements, the latest methods for acoustic insulation of hotel rooms and the savings that can be realized by investing in soundproofing during the construction phase. 
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Optimism Rises for Near-Term Infrastructure Spending

Stepping away from campaign promises and political conjecture, 2017 should be a decent year for the transportation
construction market, with the best years for spending growth still ahead. 
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Moderate Gains in Construction Spending Expected Through 2017

As the industry enters a more mature phase of its expansion, the 2017 Dodge Construction Outlook forecasts total U.S. construction starts will advance 5 percent to $713 billion, following gains of 11 percent in 2015 and an estimated 1 percent in2016.
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Rethinking Health Care Construction

Outpatient and walk-in urgent care facilities are far less costly for organizations to construct than larger medical buildings and hospitals; therefore, these facilities are popping up in retail spaces and are most likely on short-term leases that do not require a large commitment from the organization. The increase in the number of outpatient facilities also reverts back to patient satisfaction: Patients are more comfortable seeing their doctors at an outpatient facility. 
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Bipartisan Federal Legislation Is a Potential Boon for P3s

For construction companies active in the public-private partnership (P3) or design-build arena, the bipartisan Public Buildings Renewal Act (S. 3177/H.R. 5361) represents a fountain of new work opportunities building or rehabilitating many outdated and dilapidated government-owned facilities—such as public schools, post offices, prisons, courthouses and libraries—that need to be replaced. 
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Teaching the Art of Preservation

“We need to enable people to protect and preserve their histories through meaningful hands-on work. More people are coming into this field because it’s very satisfying to work on cultural preservation projects.” 
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Blending the Old With the New

For those that take on the onerous and challenging work of renovating and restoring historic buildings, it is more than just a job. It’s a labor of love. At the heart of this movement is an upsurge in the desire to move near downtown areas to be close to work and home, particularly among today’s younger generation. The result is that historical buildings—brick and granite, and all the charm to match—are in high demand. This bodes well for construction companies that garner much of their revenue from preserving buildings that are a testament to the nation’s past.
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2017 Regional Construction Outlook

The first half of 2016 was disappointingly slow, but signs of improvement for the second half have appeared. Employment continues to grow at a slow, but steady, pace. The overall outlook is for continued, albeit slow, expansion in the economy and the construction industry.
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2017 Construction Outlook

For now, it’s tempting to maintain a somewhat pessimistic outlook. A combination of debt accumulation and low interest rates appears to have taken asset prices above levels supported by economic fundamentals. This renders the macro-economy and that of the nation’s nonresidential construction sector somewhat vulnerable to asset price adjustments.  
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A Professional Contractor’s Guide to Rotary Tools

The latest generation of rotary tools has the speed, power and features to go from the workshop to the jobsite. Rotary tools accept dozens of different accessories for working virtually any building material, including wood, drywall, metal, plastic, tile, glass and stone, to name a few. These compact tools are ideal for use in extremely tight spaces and cramped quarters. 
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Delivering Efficient Thermal Control of Concrete Curing

Benefits delivered by hydronic heating range from ensuring durability and crack-free surfaces to avoiding shrinkage and spallingin severe weather conditions. Contractors have a very efficient way to resolve their job-specific curing requirements when partnered with engineers that can provide hydronic heating expertise. 
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Surety’s Impact on Emerging Trends in Public Construction

Given the choice of security requirements, the surety market continues to provide the product with the best combined benefit for contractors and their obligee in today’s evolving construction and surety markets. 
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Surety Industry Advocates for Inclusion of Bonds on Federal and State P3s

Even though procurement methods have evolved—including the use of P3s—construction remains a risky business, making the protections that surety bonds provide for taxpayers’ investments and the payment guarantees for subcontractors and suppliers just as relevant and important in P3s. 
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Finding the Source

The country has yet to highlight its aging water infrastructure as a national issue. Beyond basic water and wastewater construction needs due to regional population growth, many specific water sectors must be addressed. These include drought-stricken areas in the West, especially California, and the ever-shrinking and flood-prone Louisiana coastline.
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Bringing Balance Back to the NLRB
Although its purpose is to interpret the National Labor Relations Act in a fair...

2018 Regional Construction Outlook
Starting in 2012, the construction sector generally has turned in stronger growth...

The DNA of Giving Back
This month marks 89 years in business for Vogel Bros. Building Co., a fifth...

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