The value of new construction starts through the first two months of 2009 totaled just $52.7 billion, or 45% less than the opening two months of last year, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. However, the year-to-year declines are skewed by comparisons to five megaprojects started in the first two months of last year, which totaled over $12 billion. “If these five unusually large projects are excluded from the January-February 2008 statistics, the nonresidential building market for the first two months of 2009 would be down 35% [instead of 51%], while total construction would be down 37%,” says MHC’s chief economist Robert
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.