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Construction Stats Beginning to Reach Pre-COVID Stats

According to data collected by Procore and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), levels of production in the construction sector are returning to where they were before the coronavirus widespread outbreak in March.

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The “Next Normal of Construction”?

According to business consultancy group McKinsey & Co, the construction industry will radically change as it undergoes nine shifts caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The report, The Next Normal of Construction, explains how “disruption is reshaping the world’s largest ecosystem.”

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Three Keys to Technology Adoption in Construction

A 2018 study from Fails Management Institute (FMI), a management consultancy group, reported that 55% of engineering and construction firms were “actively seeking new technology solutions.” But at the same time, a 2019 study from Dodge Data and Analytics found that 90% of the contractors surveyed “do not specifically budget for innovation.”

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Commercial Construction Index Takes Big Hit

The USG and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index, a gauge for the outlook and confidence in the commercial construction industry, dropped massively from 74 in Q1 to 56 in Q2. The reason for the dive is that two of the index’s three main indicators—confidence in new business and revenue expectations—both fell 26 points, to 50 and 44, respectively. The third indicator, backlog, dropped 3 points, to 73.

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U.S. Home Construction Rebounds 4.3% in May

U.S. home construction rebounded 4.3 per cent in May after steep declines caused by shutdowns due to the coronavirus.

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COVID-19 Side Effect: Severe Lumber Shortage

While construction was considered an essential service in much of the country during the heart of the lockdown, many factories were shuttered, as the disease spreads so quickly and dangerously through factory workers side-by-side during long shifts, often sweating and breathing hard. (See the massive shutdowns in meat processing plants for more examples.)

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Report Reveals Construction Disputes on the Rise

A study, “Global Construction Disputes Report 2020: Collaborating to Achieve Project Excellence,” was recently released by US-based Arcadis, and reports that construction disputes in North America are increasing, both in quantity and dollar amount, but declining globally. The report also suggests that we’re likely to see a sharp rise in post-COVID disputes, especially in regards to timeframes and deadlines.

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U.S. Court Reject AFL-CIO Bid for OSHA COVID Protections

The AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) the largest organization of unions in the United States, filed a lawsuit with OSHA to create an emergency workplace safety rule based on the coronavirus pandemic.

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Trump Administration is Easing Up on Construction Regulations

The Trump administration has decided to ease enforcement of environmental regulations covering some industries to help them cope with impacts from the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday.

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Construction Like “A Rocket About to Take Off”

In an interview with construction website Construction Dive, Chuck Goodrich, CEO and president of the Indianapolis-based Gaylor Electric, which works in 27 different US states, says that not all is doom and gloom in the future of construction, as some have been predicting.

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It May Take Years for Economy to Recover, ABC Economist Says

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chief Economist Anirban Basu said that it will likely take years for the nation’s economy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic’s blow.

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Construction Loses Nearly One Million Jobs in April

According to a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and drawing date from construction technology firm Procore, the US construction industry shed nearly a million jobs in the last month.

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AIA Points to Major Downturn in Commercial Construction

According to the American Institute of Architects, the demand for design services saw its biggest plunge in recorded history in the month of March. Billings at architecture firms dropped 20.1 points to 33.3, the largest single-month decline in the 25 years that the Institute has been keeping track. By comparison, in the 2001 recession there was a 9.4 decline, and in 2008 an 8.3 decline.

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Virus Stops Construction at Disney, but Universal Soldiers On

In Orlando, Florida, the center of theme park and resort entertainment for half the country, there has been observed activity in the construction of Universal Orlando Resort, but Disneyworld and its adjoining parks, hotels and resorts remained shuttered.

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Construction Industry Feels Hit In Residential and Commercial Projects

US homebuilder sentiment in April dipped to its lowest level in over seven years, the steepest decline in the 30-year history of the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

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New York City—COVID’s Epicenter—Moves Forward with Construction

After saying that all construction workers were essential in the time of crisis, the city of New York (which, at the time of writing, has seen more than 7,000 deaths from COVID-19) has eased off of that decision and has taken a much more cautious approach—one that is hurting the construction business.

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Construction—Formerly “Essential Workers”—Is Taking a Hit

It seems incredible to think that we’ve been writing for years about a shortage of skilled labor in construction, with companies desperate to find and secure new employees. But now, in just a few months, we’ve seen a remarkable number of construction companies furlough or lay off workers.

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Architecture Firms are Feeling the Pinch, Which Forecasts Trouble Ahead

Even though construction is still mostly operating at capacity, architectural firms—particularly those that work on public works projects—are getting squeezed by the poor economy, and that predicts few construction projects down the pipeline.

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Coming “Post-Coronavirus Construction Tsunami”

While there are many stories of doom and gloom, especially around the economy, there are glimmers of hope. One in particular came from Keith Prather, a market intelligence expert for the business management consulting firm Pioneer IQ. They developed something called the “Fear and Recovery Curve” model to indicate when the crisis would end and what the recovery would look like. And the future, Prather says, is rosy.

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Architecture Firms Lobby for Stimulus Relief

In a letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the American Institute of Architects asked for improved aid, including loans and tax breaks, to help architecture firms amid the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.

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Construction Is Continuing as an Essential Service—But Not Everyone Agrees

With a third of the United States on lockdown, including the three largest cities (New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago), something is continuing unabated—construction. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom labeled construction as an “essential service” alongside things like healthcare and food service. And while some construction projects are easily labeled as essential—things like road repair, and maintenance of water and transit infrastructure, it may be hard to understand what is so essential about the construction of housing or commercial projects.

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California’s Strictest-Yet Quarantine Order Does Not Apply to Some Construction

The massive stay-at-home order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom of California, which restricts 40 million people to their home except for emergency trips to the store, the gas station, or the doctor, does not appear to affect the construction industry. Although it was not mentioned specifically in the executive order issued March 19th, a notice on the government’s website lists construction as one of the sectors not affected.

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5 Ways the Coronavirus Will Affect Construction

Steve Lesser, the chair of Becker’s Construction law practice, says the key words right now are “Wait and see.”

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New Forecast Says 2.7 Million Construction Jobs to be Automated by 2057

MEPI, an organization that focuses on infrastructure and construction in the Midwest, reports that their forecasts say that 2.7 million jobs currently done by laborers will be done by autonomous robots by the year 2057. As an example, they point to brick laying robots, which can lay thousands of bricks in a day, compared to human bricklayers, who average about 500.

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School Construction Costs are Skyrocketing

In 2016, California construction company C.W. Driver began work on a new 94,000 foot school in Irvine, and the costs came in at $475 per square foot. Fast forward to 2019, and a similar school (both are K-8, and both in Irvine) is pricing out at $598 per square foot. That’s a 26% jump in just three years, and it’s not restricted to California.

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Construction Equipment Stocks on the Rise (and Fall)

Construction machinery stocks have trailed the S&P 500 by about 20% over the last year due to a variety of factors, including trade deals with China and the current state of unfavorable farming conditions. But despite these setbacks, data shoes that the global construction equipment industry is set to reach $90 billion this year, up from $70 billion in 2016. The same data shows that overall construction spending, which was at $1.3 trillion in 2019, will reach $1.45 trillion in 2023.

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70% of Contractors Don’t Have a Technology Roadmap

A new study by FMI Corp, sponsored by Procore Technologies, found that contractors are not only not taking advantage of existing technological advancements in their current work, but don’t have a plan in place to implement new technologies in the future. This is concerning, though not surprising, as construction has traditionally been slow to adopt new technology despite the promise of savings and efficiency.

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OSHA’s Most Expensive Fines of Q4 2019

While OSHA raised their fines a bit, there were no surprises in the areas where they did: fall and excavation hazards led the list of penalties. Falls are part of the so-called “Fatal Four”, along with struck-by injuries, caught in/between, and electrocution. But it was falls and excavation where the fines seemed to rack up in the fourth quarter.

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Mobile Apps Springing Up Across Jobsites

Mobile apps for construction technology are hh2’s bread and butter, but you may be surprised to learn just how prevalent mobile apps are in the construction workforce. According to the 2019 JBKnowledge ConTech report, 93% of respondents say that they use their smart phones for work, more than laptops (83%) and tablets (64%). The use of smart phones in the industry has grown 21% since 2014.

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Economists Weigh In on 2020 Construction

Economists have been announcing their predictions and forecasts for the new year, and some of the news isn’t as good as we’d like—but it’s not all bad.

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Construction Trends to Watch for in the New Year

We’ve talked about a lot of construction trends over the past year—some growing and some waning—but here are five things that we feel confident about saying will be dominant trends in construction in 2020.

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Residential Construction Booming

Sales of new homes rose in November to an annualized rate of 719,000, according to the Census Bureau and the Department for Housing and Urban Development.

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Six Steps For De-Carbonizing Construction

At an October construction technology conference in Singapore, Atkins CEO Keith Clarke told executives that if global temperatures rise two degrees Celsius in the next 20 years then instead of worrying about their pensions they should instead “buy a shotgun” because of “mass migrations, upheaval, and extinctions.”

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Change in Projects’ Scope the Leading Cause of Construction Disputes

International consulting group HKA, in its report “CRUX Insight: A Global Sector Market Analysis”, the group found changes to the scope of a project was the most common cause of construction disputes. This looked at many sectors, including commercial, defense, aerospace and military, industrial, infrastructure, oil and gas, and power and utilities.

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Reasons Why Construction Companies Fail

At the upcoming CONEXPO in Las Vegas in 2020, Larry Kokklenberg, PhD, will be presenting on the top ten reasons that construction businesses fail. Two thirds of these businesses fail within the first five year, and he says that most of the owners blame external sources, like insurance, taxes, or politics. But he’s identified ten things that businesses do to hamstring themselves. You can read the whole article at Daily Commercial News, but here are five of them.

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Labor Shortage May Be Hiding Potential Recession

Two things seem to be on the lips of construction managers everywhere: there is certainly a labor shortage, and there’s talk of a recession. But construction has typically been a bell weather for economic ups and downs—construction sees the slowdowns before anyone else, and it sees the pickup before other industries—and there’s no sign of a recession right now.

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AI Making In-Roads into Construction

In an industry that is traditionally resistant to technological changes, it may be surprising to learn that the construction industry is forecasted to spend $4 billion in artificial intelligence by 2026. While Power Tools has covered many stories of robots on the job site, this artificial intelligence is expected to come in the form of planning and forecasting software.

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Construction Industry Sees Drop in Deal Activity, Output Growth

North America’s construction and real-estate industry saw a drop in overall deal activity during the second quarter of 2019, according to GlobalData.

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Caterpillar and Deere Stocks Taking a Tumble as Recession Worries Begin

With the slowing of both commercial and residential construction, and rumors of an impending recession grow, two mainstay companies in the construction industry are seeing their values dipping—particularly because of the lack of demand for backhoes, cranes, and dump trucks.

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Top Ten Construction-Related Podcasts

While we try to keep you informed on construction news, there’s so much that we at PowerTools can’t cover. Here is a list of ten great construction-related podcasts that can help you keep abreast of everything newsworthy in the industry.

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Colorado Considering Changes to Labor Laws

Colorado lawmakers are looking to expand labor laws that will affect all areas of the workforce, but especially construction, as they seek to raise minimum wage and worker protections.

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Housing Market Slumps as Trade War with China Grows

The current trade war with China—which just increased tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods—is having an impact on nearly every product that comes from China, leading many companies to have to adjust pricing, reevaluate new policies, and even seek new sources for their supply chains.

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Three Industry Disruptors Coming in the Next Decade

In a recent meeting of the American Concrete Institute, Brian Moore of the FMI Institute stated that the future is changing and that there are three factors that will either make or break a construction company in the next ten years.

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Four Areas Where Construction Costs Routinely Exceed Budget

While budgets are developed with cushions for unexpected pitfalls, there are areas where budgets routinely are overrun. Knowing about these areas ahead of time will help to make better budgetary decisions in the future.

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How Blockchain Will Change Construction

Blockchain, the technology that powers things like bitcoin, is set to revolutionize the way that construction companies, engineering firms, architects, and customers interact. Blockchain is defined as a growing list of records, or blocks, that are connected using cryptography. Each block contains a link to the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. It’s a little like communicating on the cloud, but with intense security, and on some serious steroids.

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Grassi and Co.’s 2019 Construction Industry Survey Results

To take the pulse of the construction industry, Grassi and Co. hired an independent survey group to take a three-month survey of the industry in New York, and the results are in.

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Construction Spending Sees Huge Drop

Residential and non-residential construction saw their biggest decline in seven months, while government spending saw their biggest drop in seventeen years.

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Widespread Beliefs About US Infrastructure Spending May Be Unfounded

It is a fact that much of the United States infrastructure is deteriorating rapidly, but the commonly held belief that our spending on such infrastructure has dramatically decreased does not appear to be upheld by the evidence, according to a new report from the Brookings Institute.

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Heavy Market Investment in Construction Automation May Signal Change in Industry

Investors are pouring money into construction technology start-ups at a rapidly increasing rate, and it’s making many in the industry stop and take notice.

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Employee Spotlight: Bryan Stapley - Sales Associate

Introducing the newest member of our sales team, Bryan Stapley. Bryan is a Utah native, but he has lived in many places across the U.S. and abroad. He joined hh2 in 2019, and he is so excited about the opportunity...

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2018 Year in Review at hh2

2018 brought big changes across the globe, and it was no different here at hh2 Cloud Services. This year was filled with conferences, new product releases and feature updates across multiple platforms and solutions...

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Las Vegas to Secure #1 Spot for Entertainment With Exciting New Construction

New construction broke ground over the past week in Las Vegas. Residents will soon be able to see exciting new development directly on the famous Las Vegas Strip. A new globe-shaped event center has started...

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Home Shortage Continues as Prices Continue to Rise

Finding a home to purchase with a budget of under $250,000 seems close to impossible in today’s housing market. Labor, land and material costs continue to rise, which is resulting in slowing down the production...

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