Contractors finally ‘moving off the bottom’

C and CM Agent + PM Giants 300 Firms also taking steps to improve project efficiency.

The Siemens Gas Turbine manufacturing plant and office complex, Charlotte, N.C.
The Siemens Gas Turbine manufacturing plant and office complex, Charlotte, N.C. The 489,905-sf was designed by GNF Architects and Engineers with Gray Construction providing construction management, LEED certification coordination, and building commissioning. Courtesy Gray Construction
July 19, 2012

Two of the biggest players in nonresidential construction are predicting a turnaround in the industry, despite the malaise in the general economy. “We feel that the construction market is moving off the bottom and finally showing signs of improvement,” says Nicholas Makes, Senior Vice President at the Turner Corporation. “We have been preparing for an upturn.”

Moreover, in its Spring 2012 edition of “Construction Economics – Market Conditions in Construction,” Gilbane Building Co. forecasts a 5.4% increase from 2011 in spending for all construction, a 6.2% increase for nonresidential buildings, and a 9.8% growth for private-sector work. However, spending also has a ways to go before reaching pre-recession levels: The predicted figure for private construction (including single-family homes) in 2012—$555 billion—is roughly 40% below the $912 billion mark for 2006.

Giants 300 construction firms are reporting that predominantly private institutional sectors, notably healthcare, are still seeing activity. “The intensity for jobs is great, as construction activity declines in state and local government work,” notes Dale Connor, Managing Director, Project Management and Construction (Americas) with Lend Lease. “Capital availability remains tight but is improving, and markets like healthcare and life sciences remain active.”

SCROLL DOWN FOR GIANTS 300 CONTRACTOR & CM AGENT + PM FIRM RANKINGS


Contractors are also seeing opportunities in markets outside the United States. Turner recently opened offices in Toronto and Vancouver and is partnering with Edmonton-based Clark Builders. In Mexico, the firm is currently working on several data centers as well as on a 51-story Latin America headquarters tower for Spanish banking group BBVA. Turner also opened new offices in Vietnam, Malaysia, and Turkey.

Rising costs, fewer skilled laborers

One concern contractors are bracing for is the rising cost of certain materials. “Metals are up due to increased world demand, which is affecting the MEP trades,” says Lend Lease’s Connor. Shortages of aluminum could affect the cost of building envelope materials, and rising oil prices are impacting the costs of building products such as drywall and glass.

Gilbane reports that concrete and steel are both experiencing cost increases ranging between 1.5% and 2.5% over the year. The overall Producer Price Index for February 2012 showed costs for construction materials up 4.4% in the previous 12 months.

Moreover, the Gilbane report says, while construction unemployment has dropped from 25% in February 2010 to 17% in March 2012, the actual number of construction jobs gained has remained flat, due to laborers actually dropping out of the workforce. The Gilbane study forecasts that when work volume begins to increase, labor costs will go up due to a lack of skilled workers.

Increasing efficiencies

Contractors and CM firms are reporting positive benefits from the use of BIM and lean building practices. At Barton Malow, use of the integrated project delivery model continues to expand in an effort to improve project performance. “Our use of BIM and lean construction principles and our corporate culture of collaboration have made IPD a natural extension of our services,” says Senior Vice President Alex Ivanikiw, AIA, LEED AP.

Ivanikiw says that his firm has been testing technologies for practical job site applications at its new Envisioning Center, in Southfield, Mich. “The Envisioning Center is connected to a full-scale gang box in our atrium, simulating how the use of technologies would apply on the job site and how these technologies—hardware and software—need to be adapted for use in the field,” says Ivanikiw.

Turner says it is also focused on improving construction efficiencies. “With the adoption and development of BIM tools and processes, and with widespread implementation of lean construction practices and IPD methods, Turner is performing the same work it has always performed faster and more efficiently,” says Makes.

While construction volume is expected to pick up modestly in the coming year, “The cost of buildings still lags normal labor and material inflation cost indices,” notes the Gilbane report. “It should continue to do so for some time to come, but the gap is narrowing.” +

CONTRACTORS

Rank Company 2011 Total Revenue ($)
1 Turner Corporation, The 8,014,660,000
2 Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., The 3,826,610,062
3 PCL Construction Enterprises 3,611,192,729
4 Balfour Beatty US 3,428,962,433
5 Clark Group 3,380,129,779
6 Skanska USA 3,286,508,000
7 Gilbane Building Co. 3,028,728,000
8 Mortenson 2,456,960,000
9 Tutor Perini Corp. 2,360,916,000
10 Structure Tone 2,347,400,000
11 Hensel Phelps Construction 2,229,390,000
12 McCarthy Holdings 2,096,000,000
13 DPR Construction 2,000,332,304
14 Lend Lease 1,841,990,112
15 Holder Construction 1,766,000,000
16 Hunt Construction Group 1,750,000,000
17 JE Dunn Construction 1,716,858,016
18 Jacobs 1,644,500,000
19 Walsh Group, The 1,612,052,187
20 Brasfield & Gorrie 1,492,346,677
21 Suffolk Construction 1,425,000,000
22 Barton Malow 1,256,757,360
23 Swinerton 1,079,236,051
24 Pepper Construction Group 1,050,711,000
25 Flintco 1,003,400,000
26 HITT Contracting 976,397,916
27 Yates Companies, The 910,200,000
28 Weitz Company, The 881,339,956
29 Walbridge 867,900,000
30 Clayco 820,000,000
31 Webcor Builders 797,040,000
32 Austin Industries 776,534,824
33 Ryan Companies US 697,549,225
34 CORE Construction 671,535,195
35 Shawmut Design and Construction 662,800,000
36 Power Construction 654,000,000
37 Sundt Construction 644,029,962
38 Boldt Co., The 632,115,183
39 Robins & Morton 623,293,000
40 BL Harbert International 617,300,000
41 James G. Davis Construction Corp. 603,020,000
42 Layton Construction 601,200,000
43 Haskell 577,518,226
44 McShane Companies, The 562,442,191
45 Messer Construction 550,808,643
46 Gray Construction 514,039,421
47 Hoar Construction 503,668,000
48 Kraus-Anderson Construction 497,180,000
49 Choate Construction 482,410,138
50 Hardin Construction 477,879,091
51 McGough 477,000,000
52 EMJ Corp. 475,575,404
53 O’Neil Industries / W.E. O’Neil 458,290,000
54 Bernards 438,045,000
55 Manhattan Construction Group 423,285,000
56 Kitchell 407,469,000
57 C.W. Driver 401,952,720
58 W. M. Jordan Co. 377,529,253
59 Linbeck Group 324,000,000
60 Rodgers Builders 313,392,000
61 S. M. Wilson & Co. 300,581,922
62 Paric Corp. 285,000,000
63 HBE Corp. 279,200,000
64 E.W. Howell 266,485,000
65 Hunt Companies 263,902,629
66 Clancy & Theys Construction 253,468,947
67 Hill & Wilkinson General Contractors 253,101,000
68 Coakley & Williams Construction 236,521,534
69 Weis Builders 219,006,000
70 Alberici Corp. 218,453,766
71 Doster Construction 210,187,139
72 Batson-Cook 208,907,584
73 Harkins Builders 201,000,000
74 KBE Building Corp. 187,822,953
75 Heery International 134,514,000
76 New South Construction 187,706,000
77 Consigli Construction 174,112,428
78 Bette Companies 144,000,000
79 CG Schmidt 142,265,000
80 Absher Construction 130,129,012
81 Atkins North America 115,430,980
82 James McHugh Construction 102,622,708
83 Bomel Construction 99,930,000
84 IMC Construction 93,500,000
85 Wight & Co. 77,807,100
86 URS Corp. 76,986,048
87 Roche Constructors 75,272,999
88 Summit Contractors Group 64,000,000
89 Stalco Construction 58,800,000
90 Allen & Shariff Corp. 38,323,273
91 Jones Lang LaSalle 20,000,000
92 Epstein 16,860,278
93 Eaton Energy Solutions 13,773,148
94 Zak Companies 9,190,352

 

CM AGENT + PM FIRMS

Rank Company 2011 Total Revenue ($)
1 Hoffman Corp. 1,880,463,527
2 Gilbane Building Co. 1,350,248,000
3 Manhattan Construction Group 723,987,000
4 Consigli Construction 459,028,178
5 Hill International 350,000,000
6 Jones Lang LaSalle 301,000,000
7 URS Corp. 279,147,870
8 JE Dunn Construction 207,481,662
9 Jacobs 182,820,000
10 Balfour Beatty US 125,078,599
11 Barton Malow 94,594,640
12 Structure Tone 80,000,000
13 Bernards 79,655,000
14 Robins & Morton 75,380,000
15 Lend Lease 72,824,093
16 Doster Construction 20,682,865
17 Flintco 18,100,000
18 Weitz Company, The 18,060,000
19 Allen & Shariff Corp. 17,663,909
20 Hoar Construction 14,472,000
21 McCarthy Holdings 12,000,000
22 Mortenson Construction 10,640,000
23 Swinerton 10,528,949
24 Power Construction 9,000,000
25 Yates Companies, The 7,900,000
26 Stalco Construction 4,820,000
27 Ryan Companies US 4,587,011
28 Brasfield & Gorrie 4,248,485
29 Kraus-Anderson Construction 4,120,000
30 Sundt Construction 3,634,695
31 S. M. Wilson & Co. 3,507,170
32 Pepper Construction Group 3,028,000
33 E.W. Howell Co. 2,450,000
34 Austin Industries 2,383,128
35 EMJ Corp. 2,114,155
36 Bette Companies, The 2,000,000
37 Eaton Energy Solutions 1,931,409
38 Hensel Phelps Construction 1,500,000
39 Haskell 1,249,381
40 Heery International 1,011,000
41 Epstein 898,431
42 Alberici Corp. 806,353
43 Gray Construction 535,116
44 IMC Construction 500,000
45 Rodgers Builders 321,000
46 Wight & Co. 318,400
         
 

Comments on: "Contractors finally ‘moving off the bottom’"