Non-residential buildings started the year 21% below January 2009’s level, while non-building construction began the year 8% behind last year’s start, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s data for new construction starts. The housing market is showing signs of turning around, beginning this year 18% above a year ago. The drop in the non-residential building market would have been even more severe if not for the inclusion of the $3-billion mass- transit hub in Lower Manhattan, which was included in the January data. Highway construction in 2009 was supported by stimulus spending that resulted in a 5% increase in the market. Without
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.