...troubles in commercial mortgage-backed securities—as adding to the volatility of the commercial construction markets.

Specifically, 2009 commercial and industrial projects are expected to have declined by 51% in Florida, 47% in Georgia, 23% in South Carolina and 19% in North Carolina.

For 2010, the declines are expected to soften but still prevail.

The region’s broader commercial and industrial market is predicted to drop by 8% in 2010 and total nearly $8.3 billion.

Subsectors making up the commercial and industrial market are all forecast to show declining activity, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. Stores and shopping center projects, for example, are forecast to decrease 1% to total $2.4 billion. The value of new office building projects should drop 16% and tally approximately $2.6 billion. Hotel and motel contracts will decline 7% to total just $665 million.

Manufacturing will continue to be another victim of the national economic downturn, declining 12% in 2010 to total nearly $1.2 billion. McGraw-Hill Construction also predicts that other commercial buildings will decrease 3% and tally roughly $1.5 billion.

Offsetting these declines is the institutional market, which makes up the other portion of McGraw-Hill’s nonresidential category. Here, the company is projecting a 5% increase in new projects throughout the four-state region, for a total of about $16.3 billion.

Specifically, education construction is expected to improve by 5% and tally approximately $6.4 billion. Health-care projects, after experiencing an estimated 4% decline during 2009, are forecast to fall again, but this time by just 1% to total approximately $2.5 billion.

The category of “other institutional buildings”—the largest subsector within the institutional category—is forecast to jump by 8% to total roughly $7.3 billion.

Nonbuilding: Big Stimulus Impact While the residential market’s projected gains may be a gamble, the 20% increase anticipated for the nonbuilding sector seems like a sure bet.

“We’re looking for the stimulus funds to continue to have a positive impact on street and bridge work, environmental public works and public buildings,” Coskren says. “Water and sewer construction are both expected to have a strong year in 2010, as healthy funding for the State Revolving Funds finally make their way to the project site. On the transportation side, it’s expected that the peak of the stimulus spending will occur in mid-2010.”

With many stimulus-funded infrastructure contracts still poised to move forward in 2010, all manner of public works projects should be in abundance in the coming year, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. The company forecasts a 34% uptick in public works across the four-state region, for nearly $17.6 billion in new contracts.

The subcategory of streets and bridges is expected to jump 39% to a nearly $8.5-billion tally. Environmental public works is forecast to experience a 16% improvement, for a $4.8-billion total. And “other public works” should escalate by 50% to hit $4.3 billion.

The lone downer in the nonbuilding category is electric utility work, which is forecast to decline by 41% and total $1.7 billion for the Southeast.