The forecast shrinks the anticipated decline in 2009 construction starts to 15% from an earlier estimate of 20% or more. This is fueled by weak residential and commercial markets and the “emerging loss of momentum for institutional building,” according to the report. Projections say the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will hike public works project starts by 10%, “enough to cushion what was shaping up to be a particularly tough year for construction,” says the report by MHC, publisher of ENR. “The public works jump-start will be the saving grace for the year,” says Robert A. Murray, MHC
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.