The Southwest construction and development industry is surging again, according to ENR Southwest’s Top Contractors survey, and executives from some of the survey’s participating firms say the region will remain active in the near future as robotics and other innovations continue to change the industry.
According to this year’s survey, the top 10 firms combined to produce 2018 Southwest revenue of $5.6 billion. That’s an increase of about $1.3 billion from last year’s results. Revenue from all of this year’s survey participants soared to $11.2 billion in 2018. That’s up from $7.6 billion in 2017, $6.79 billion in 2016 and $6.46 billion in 2015. The number of participants in this year’s survey, however, increased by one, and a newly participating firm appeared among the top 10 largest firms.
Justin Kelton, Southwest region president of McCarthy Building Cos., says Arizona and Nevada remain strong and active, spurring owners and developers to seek innovation.
“Because of the strength in the market, we’re seeing more cutting-edge projects from sophisticated, forward-thinking clients who are investing in health care, water, infrastructure, higher education and renewable energy,” Kelton says. “These clients are challenging GCs to deliver better projects faster. As a result, they’re allowing us to bring new partnering strategies and innovative solutions through various alternative delivery methods.”
David Blaser, executive vice president for Layton Construction Co. in Arizona, agrees, saying design-build and design-assist projects will gain even more of a foothold within the market in the future.
“It is important now ... to design, price and build the most cost-effective project possible,” Blaser says.
He adds that focusing on technology gives contractors greater expertise at managing jobsites, resulting in reduced costs and better product delivery.
Kelton says limiting labor costs while maintaining or increasing quality is a viable way for firms to deliver more for their clients, citing prefabrication and robotics as methods for achieving such results.
“Robotic and autonomous construction solutions are hitting the market now,” Kelton says. “We’re creating prefabricated construction systems off site more efficiently and with better quality, which requires less manpower on site. It’s been exciting to see this.”
Kelton says renewable energy storage looks poised for a boom in the Southwest.
“Although we are seeing growth in several market sectors, one niche area where there is growth is in renewable energy storage,” Kelton says. “Although the industry has been anticipating it for a while, the technology is here now, and more private and public sector clients are demanding it.”
These trends and more are reflected in ENR Southwest’s 2019 Top Contractors rankings on the following pages.