The nation’s economic downturn has pulled the rug out from under new building and renovation programs at many school districts, colleges and universities. The education construction market has been particularly hard-hit by the collapse of the housing market. The U.S. homebuilding boom, particularly in parts of the Southeast and the Southwest, had been the engine for skyrocketing K-through-12 school enrollment and the resulting need for new schools. Photo: esvants.com Dartmouth’s 175,000-sq-ft life-sciences building is the only current major project at the university. Several other projects have been postponed. Photo: esvants.com California’s troubled economy has led to project delays. Photo: esvants.com
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.