Gains in housing and infrastructure barely overcame a 55% decline in nonresidential construction contracts for a 2% overall increase in new South Carolina projects for October, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. In all, the company estimated that approximately $540.7 million in new construction contracts moved ahead during the month.

Photo courtesy Dept. of Energy's Savannah River Site
Aerial photo of Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication project at Savannah River Site, near Aiken, S.C.

The nonresidential category’s dramatic decline represented just $63.25 million in new contracts. On the positive side, residential contracts tallied $386.5 million, a 23% improvement compared to the same period of a year ago. The nonbuilding category—which includes infrastructure and energy contracts—registered $91 million in new projects during the month, for a 16% gain compared to last October.

On a year-to-date basis, McGraw-Hill estimates the value of new South Carolina construction contracts at more than $14.6 billion, or more than double 2011’s pace. That large increase is due almost entirely to the start of an $8.5-billion nuclear powerplant project in Jenkinsville.

As the result of the Jenkinsville project, South Carolina’s nonbuilding category totals nearly $9.4 billion through October. The only other category that’s positive for the year is residential. Through October, McGraw-Hill estimates that nearly $3.4 billion in new housing projects have moved forward, for a 16% gain compared to a year ago.

Nonresidential contracts total just over $1.9 billion, or about 9% lower than 2011’s pace through October.

Click here to read about the Southeast construction industry's prospects for 2013.