The dollar value of construction starts during the first half of this year was $195 billion, or 36% less than the same period a year ago, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. The residential market continues to be a drag, showing a 46% decline from last year’s already depressed market. However, the nonresidential building market also is in a steep decline, falling 41% below 2008’s first-half total. “Non-residential building, hampered by the weak economy and tight bank lending, would see further erosion,” says Robert Murray, chief economist for MHC. “On the plus side, the boost to public works from the federal stimulus
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.