Manufacturing construction was hit hard during the pandemic, Steve Jones, senior director of industry insights and research for Dodge Data & Analytics, told ENR’s FutureTech conference.

In 2019, the sector had more than $32 billion in construction starts. But in 2020, manufacturing starts fell to one-third of that and are expected to stay flat in 2021, with only a modest increase of 8% in 2022, Jones said. “It’s been choppy,” he said. “When consumers stop buying,” the supply chain just falls off.

But he said construction of data centers, warehouses and distribution centers are off the charts. While work in the latter two groups used to have almost no impact on the commercial building sector, warehouse construction now comprises about 30% of its total.

“Everything is becoming more and more digital and the need for digital drives the need for e-commerce, and it drives the need for data centers,” Anthony Johnson, executive vice president of Clayco, told ENR. He says Clayco has been working on projects for electric vehicle manufacturers and battery manufacturers. “We’ve been able to play a pretty significant role in the electric vehicle movement, which has been fun,” Johnson says. 


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The average increase anticipated for capital spending over the next 12 months.

—National Association of Manufacturers First Quarter 2021 Outlook Survey

Brasfield & Gorrie

Techtronic Industries 

Brasfield & Gorrie will provide design-build services for an $85-million power tools assembly and distribution operations center for Techtronic Industries North America in Anderson, S.C. The project includes construction of 1 million sq ft of space. The facility will be used to assemble, recondition and distribute electric power tools, according to Industrial Reports. Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter. Techtronic recently built a new warehouse and distribution facility in Gaffney, S.C.


Of manufacturers are somewhat or very positive about their company’s outlook.

—National Association of Manufacturers First Quarter 2021 Outlook Survey

Spiber America

Polymers Manufacturing 

Construction of a Spiber America polymers manufacturing plant in Clinton, Iowa, is expected to begin this year at an Archer Daniels Midland Co. biorefinery. The company is currently finalizing selection of an engineering, procurement and construction firm for the project. Its scope includes construction of building and equipment foundations; modification of existing building space; and purchase and installation of stainless steel tanks, process and fermentation vessels and extraction, purification, drying, storage and packaging equipment and systems. The plant will process corn-based dextrose to produce biopolymers for use in manufacturing clothing and other consumer products.