Construction growth is looking up, according to the Winter 2013 release of the periodic report Construction Economics, authored by Gilbane Building Company.  Construction spending for 2013 will finish the year 5% higher than 2012. All of the growth will be attributed to residential construction. However, the Dodge Momentum Index, a leading indicator, is up more than 20% since January 2013, indicating growth in 2014.
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped below 50 in April, briefly indicating declining workload. Through September, we’ve seen five more months of growth, a good leading indicator for future new construction work. In October we’ve just had another drop, but not below 50, indicating slower gains rather than declines.
ENR published selling price data for 2013 that shows contractors adding to their margins.
Some economic factors are still negative:
Impact of recent events:
The impacts of growth:
Supported by overall positive growth trends for the year 2013, expect margins and overall escalation to climb more rapidly than we have seen in five years.
Nonresidential buildings construction slowed in the first five months but is expected to increase substantially in the last few months of 2013. We will see a decline in nonbuilding infrastructure extend completely through 2014. Residential work will remain extremely active. Once growth in nonresidential construction picks up, and both residential and nonresidential are active, we will begin to see more significant labor shortages and productivity losses. Margins regained a positive footing in 2012 and extended those gains in 2013. Expect margins to grow stronger in 2014. Even moderate growth in activity will allow contractors to pass along more material costs and increase margins. When activity picks up in all sectors, escalation will begin to advance rapidly.
Gilbane Inc. is a full service construction and real estate development company, composed of Gilbane Building Company and Gilbane Development Company. The company (www.gilbaneco.com ) is one of the nation’s largest construction and program managers providing a full slate of facilities related services for clients in education, healthcare, life sciences, mission critical, corporate, sports and recreation, criminal justice, public and aviation markets. Gilbane has more than 50 offices worldwide, with its corporate office located in Providence, Rhode Island. The information in this report is not specific to any one region.
Author Ed Zarenski, a 40-year construction veteran and a member of the Gilbane team for more than 33 years, is an Estimating Executive who has managed multimillion dollar project budgeting, owner capital plan cost control, value engineering and life cycle cost analysis. He compiles economic information and provides data analysis and opinion for this quarterly report.
Growth is all atributable to residential construction, but margins and overall market escalation should climb more rapidly next year.
Construction growth is looking up, according to the December 2013 release of the periodic report Construction Economics, authored by Gilbane Building Company.  Construction spending for 2013 will finish the year up 5%.