With a potential recession looming, regional contractors can take solace in the MidAtlantic construction market’s solid rebound in 2021 from 2020’s pandemic-induced revenue spiral.

The 2022 ENR MidAtlantic Top Contractor survey—based on 2021 revenue billed in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia—shows that the firms taking part in this year’s ranking reported a healthy revenue increase over 2020.

The top 76 firms responding to this year’s survey reported a combined $31.33 billion in MidAtlantic regional revenue in 2021. That represents a 6.6% gain from the $29.39 billion the 76 firms reported in last year’s MidAtlantic regional ranking.

This year’s top 10 firms recorded $15.93 billion in combined revenue, up 9.56% from $14.54 billion last year. The top three slots on the ranking remain unchanged for the fourth straight year.

Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. again is No. 1, despite a 4.18% revenue decrease to $3.21 billion, from $3.35 billion. However, the company’s revenue rose 9.08% in last year’s ranking.

Clark Construction Group is next, with $2.87 billion, up 10.38% from approximately $2.6 billion last year. HITT Contracting Inc.’s $2.21 billion in revenue placed it third on this year’s list. HITT’s revenue climbed more than 38% from last year’s $1.6 billion, which was a 7.75% decrease from the previous year.

ENR MidAtlantic asked executives from two contractors about current market conditions in the region and their thoughts about the outlook for the industry. Responses emailed in late July came from IMC Construction, ranked No. 24 with $353 million in regional revenue, and Consigli Building Group Inc., ranked No. 58 with $107.45 million. Responses have been edited for space and clarity.


What lessons from the last two years have most shaped the way you do business now?

Michael Lloyd, chief operating officer, IMC Construction: Resiliency and flexibility have been two main takeaways over the past two years. We are projecting to have one of the highest revenue years in company history due to our flexible and entrepreneurial culture that has helped us to pivot and capitalize on areas of growth. We’ve also learned that while you must plan and prepare for the future, you have to be willing to adapt quickly to change circumstances, which is what we did with work-from-home policies, jobsite protocols, team integration and really every element of our business.

Phil Brault, project executive and director of D.C. operations, Consigli Construction Co.: The pandemic has encouraged new habits and practices that are universally improving the industry—overcommunication, flexibility, better planning and a layer of empathy. At Consigli, we’re seeing our teams shine under these circumstances; they’re finding creative ways [to improve upon] the things we’ve done for years.


Which sectors have offered the biggest opportunities in the region?

Lloyd: Manufacturing and distribution, life sciences, and senior living.

Brault: We’re starting to see a lot of larger, CM-at-risk projects in higher education in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. Many of them call for high levels of sustainability as colleges and universities target decarbonization as a way to meet climate action goals. Our Arch Energy division, which implements integrated solutions to create sustainable, healthy and intelligent buildings powered by low-carbon infrastructure, has seen more opportunities to work directly with higher-ed leaders to guide them on overall campus energy upgrades and make key decisions about optimizing energy use.

We’re seeing more opportunities come out of the federal market, with an emphasis on sustainability and energy stemming from the infrastructure bill, and we’ll likely see more of these projects in the years ahead. The life science sector is heating up in the DMV region (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia).


Which sectors have cooled down in the region?

Brault: The hospitality industry as a whole has been slower to recover given that the hotel market was hit hard by the pandemic. We’re now starting to see a few preconstruction projects emerge with hotels in the region. We’re also keeping a close eye on the corporate market. The surrounding suburbs outside of Washington are seeing a lot of development, and we’re continuing to keep a pulse on the market as more organizations make decisions about long-term return-to-office plans.


What key innovations helped you boost productivity or other metrics in the region?

Lloyd: Our integration of Assemble Systems and PowerBI has made our preconstruction department much more productive. We are also using Assemble, Microsoft PowerBI and BIM to monitor and track real-time project progress during construction. This technology has significantly reduced schedule variances.

Brault: Expanding our use of prefabrication has enabled us to improve cost and schedule certainty, reduce onsite labor density, ensure manpower consistency and build in a more controlled environment, which counteracts the industry’s labor and material shortages and contributes to better safety scores and higher-quality buildings.


How do you think the market will perform in your region during the next year or two?

Lloyd: The demand for building and construction is driven by overall economic growth and tends to be a lagging indicator. We have concerns about economic headwinds, but I am optimistic that our region has some unique industry drivers in market sectors like life sciences, health care and industrial that will result in continued growth despite overall challenges in the economy.

Brault: The outlook for the DMV and MidAtlantic region is strong, with recent growth in the life science and health care sectors, plus the federal work that’s underway or about to start. Museums and cultural centers will always pose great opportunity locally as new museums open and existing centers look to renovate and upgrade their buildings to meet sustainability goals. It’s an exciting time in the DMV. We’re seeing a lot of new talent, especially younger talent, coming to the region and companies making the move to the area. That shows great promise for the construction industry, and I’m confident the region will continue on a strong upward trend.