Touting itself as the “Top Construction News Daily Newsletter” the website Construction Dive recently published the 2016 Dive Awards for the Construction Industry recognizing the top 10 companies, people, and construction trends defining the industry. According to authors Emily Peiffer and Hallie Busta, the recurring theme for construction in 2016 was an openness to change. Among some of the winners:
Building materials is a topic not too many people get excited about. People are even less excited when it comes to advancements in building materials. After all bricks have been around since 7500 BC, while the ancient Romans first developed concrete used to build structures like the Coliseum and the Pantheon. The discovery of the Bessemer process in the 1850s lead to inexpensively mass produced steel and the invention of the safety elevator by Elisha Otis in 1852 helped make skyscrapers possible. Last April an article published in Construction Data listed some interesting examples of the next generation of building materials being researched and developed.
Infrastructure entails a vast number of systems and facilities that impacts our lives, but is given little consideration and often taken for granted. Infrastructure, among other things, gets us to work, pipes water to our homes and conveys freight across the country. Most would agree that infrastructure has a huge impact on how our economy operates, therefore is isn’t surprising that infrastructure, or lack of infrastructure, can have a dramatic effect on the surrounding real estate. A report released this summer by commercial real estate firm Transwestern entitled “Cranes & Lanes, the link between infrastructure and commercial real estate” confirms the importance of infrastructure to commercial real estate.
The slower growth in construction starts for 2016 has some industry watchers worried about a slowdown in the construction cycle. However, Dodge Data & Analytics Chief Economist Robert Murray attempted to allay those fears with the recent release of the 2017 Dodge Construction Outlook during the firm's Outlook 2017 Executive Conference earlier this month. The big takeaway:
Traditional construction design processes resemble a linear work flow: a series of tasks among various trades each passing their portion of a project down the line with minimal coordination amongst each other. The result of this is an arrangement of systems designed in isolation with no relationship or integration with each other. This lack of initial communication generates more conflicts later in the design and building process.
It’s an age old problem for the construction industry: as the economy (and construction activity) continues to improve, the skilled labor force fails to keep pace. This is particularly true for today’s home builders. Using information compiled by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics: in Colorado, where workers in the construction trades can make up to $50K per year, there’s an estimated shortfall of about 5,000 laborers needed to do the work in 2016. In Texas, despite an estimated 170K skilled and semi-skilled subcontractors, is shortage is estimated at 140K laborers.
Many metropolitan areas have development authorities or something equivalent tasked with the goal of transforming traditionally neglected parts of town into something that will attract middle class residents and in turn spur private investment. While the track record for many of these authorities varies, LDI wanted to call out two super interesting urban development projects that have experienced great success in positively transforming their downtown areas: the Atlanta Beltline in Atlanta GA and Falls Park on the Reedy in Greenville SC. What makes these projects interesting is the incorporation of green space as a major redevelopment component.
At the beginning of 2016 Dodge Data & Analytics' 2016 Construction Outlook report predicted 6% growth in construction, with the value of construction starts reaching an estimated $712 billion. Builder sentiment since the beginning of 2016 has remained optimistic. Constructiondive.com talked with experts from various sectors of the construction industry to find out their predictions for 2016. Here are the top 10 construction industry trends to watch in 2016, according to the experts:
Earlier this year Forbes published an article ranking the nation’s largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) - major cities and their surrounding suburbs- in terms of the most money spent on new construction in 2015. To compile this list, Forbes relies on construction information firm Dodge Data who, for the purpose of this study, tallies the dollar value of construction starts (breaking ground and actually beginning work) for single- and multi-family homes, office, retail, warehouses, healthcare facilities, educational buildings, manufacturing plants and research facilities, among others. Not included are monies spent on public works projects such as bridges, streets and parks, nor on utility construction. Dodge Data calculates a project’s total value as the cost to build a project at the time that construction begins, not including land value or the cost of acquisition.