With statistics in for November, it looks pretty certain that construction markets will come in well below 2008’s level. The dollar value of construction starts through the first eleven months of this year was $381 billion, which was 28% below the same period a year ago, according to McGraw-Hill Construction (MHC), of which ENR is part. The annual declines were broad based, including 34% declines for both residential and non-residential buildings and a 12% drop for non-building construction. The non-residential building market was sapped by year-to-year declines of 39% for office buildings, 44% for stores, 63% for warehouses and 66%
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.