FMI/CURT 2012 Owner Study highlights construction industry challenges

Capital program owners grapple with concerns about project funding, staffing, regulations.

February 08, 2013 |
Capital program owners grapple with concerns about project funding, staffing, re


Through the 2012 Owner Study, consultant FMI and the Construction Users Roundtable set out to understand how large capital program owners are coping with the current environment, as well as what challenges they believe the future environment holds and how prepared they feel to face these challenges. In general, survey and interview questions fell into these broad areas:

  • Identification of future issues impacting capital programs and the degree of preparedness toward addressing those issues.?

  • Level of staffing changes during the past four years and anticipated staffing trends going forward.

  • Degree of project disruptions affecting capital programs resulting from delays, cancellations and funding challenges.
  • Continued evolution of project delivery systems and procurement methods.

Based on survey responses, it is clear that many capital program owners have already begun the process of identifying future challenges and mitigating the impact of those issues on their capital programs. Other owners, however, anticipate many of these challenges to have a significant effect on their capital programs and are not confident in their responses to date. The ability of these owners to maintain the objectives of their capital programs in the face of these challenges will depend on the actions they take to identify and address these issues. How capital program owners respond to both the current and future environment will significantly influence their ability to plan, design, procure and manage capital projects effectively. As their ability to engage in these activities changes, so too will the expectations of owners for their planning, design and construction partners.

Survey responses reflect the fact that economic recovery has yet to begin for many, especially in the engineering and construction industry. At its peak in 2006, the construction industry represented more than $1 trillion of economic activity, roughly 9% of nominal GDP. The industry has contracted every year since then. The burst of the housing bubble, the credit crisis and the ensuing recession reduced the industry to roughly 70% of its 2006 size in 2012, and to only 5% of nominal GDP. The dark cloud, however, is clearing. according to FMI forecasts, construction put-in-place voluimes in 2012 are expected to end the year 5% higher than in 2011.

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