Dodge Momentum Index Fell in March but Is Up for the Year

The Dodge Momentum index fell 2.1% in March, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The index measures non-residential building projects entering the planning stage and is a lead indicator of construction spending activity by a full year. Despite the monthly decline, the index has been trending upward over the past 12 months and is 12% above 2014's level. There were 10 projects exceeding $100 million that entered the planning stage in March, including seven commercial and three institutional jobs. The largest was a $400-million development in Bismarck, N.D.

New York City Public Housing Gets $3 Billion for Improvements

In early April, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D) announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has granted New York City $3 billion in funds to repair and protect 33 Superstorm Sandy-damaged New York City Housing Authority sites. Half the funds will be used to implement resiliency measures, such as elevated boilers, floor barriers and backup generators, and half will be used for repairs to buildings damaged in the 2012 storm. The grant, which will be made in a lump-sum payment, is the largest in FEMA's history.

'Living Building' Achievements Accepted for LEED Certification

As part of its effort to streamline LEED, its popular green-building rating system, the U.S. Green Building Council will recognize a project's achievement of energy and water requirements within the rigorous Living Building Challenge program run by the International Living Future Institute. In 2012, USGBC announced it would recognize energy credits from the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method International, or BREAM.

Second Bad Winter Hits Q1 Rental Demand, Says Survey

Rental-equipment demand growth in North America may slow in 2015, hurt by a second consecutive tough winter that took a toll on first-quarter results, say rental-equipment firm executives in an April 7 survey by Baird Equity Research and publication Rental Equipment Register. Revenue grew 7.4% on average for the quarter from the same period last year but slowed from the 9% year-to-year growth in other quarters. About 50% of reported Q1 revenue came from hard-hit Midwest and Northeast states.

Respondents expect 6.1% rental growth in 2015, below the 7.4% figure they predicted last quarter, due to the year's slow start, says the survey. Also, 12% of respondents also noted a slowdown in the oil and gas end market, higher than the last quarter. Manufacturers of new equipment also saw annual revenues decline 2.6%, to $159 billion, last year, according to the 2015 Yellow Table, published by International Construction. Baird recently lowered its spare-price estimate for Caterpillar, the world's largest manufacturer, to $80 from $81, noting the winter slowdown.