We’ve already taken a glimpse into how the commercial construction sector has been performing over the last few months. But with the election now behind us, a number of analysts are weighing in on where the industry is headed over the next four years.
Stanley Jackson, an editor at Construction Digital, recently wrote that “it is a landmark year for U.S. construction.” Jackson notes that while 71 percent of construction leaders surveyed earlier in the year were throwing their support behind Mitt Romney, some positive effects of Obama’s construction stimulus package are beginning to take hold.
Progress Amidst Uncertainty
There’s no question about the devastating impact the recession has had on the commercial construction sector. Countless businesses were forced to delay or even scrap projects altogether, making it increasingly difficult for construction firms to find, bid and win consistent work.
According to Jackson though, this year’s overall commercial construction forecast appears relatively positive, with commercial building having increased by 8 percent. In the residential construction realm, construction of multi-family units is up 17 percent in 2012.
‘Made in America’
In his article, Jackson points to the idea of buying American-made products and materials. In commercial construction, this could make a lasting impact, according to Michael J. Musto, president and founder of U.S. Pavement Services. Musto has launched a campaign designed to encourage innovation through the use of American-made products.
“I would love to see some type of tax benefit for all businesses who make the pledge to buy American,” Musto told Jackson. “It would be great if the government did more to promote buying American made.”
Riding the Green Wave
The other aspect of commercial construction that could play a significant role in the sector’s health over the next four years is the environmentally friendly practices being employed across the nation. Many analysts believe that the Obama administration’s push toward more renewable energy, along with other green initiatives, could ultimately serve the commercial construction sector well.
A recent report from McGraw-Hill Construction, for example, found that 35 percent of architects, engineers and contractors say they have green jobs, accounting for 661,000 jobs overall or approximately one-third of the construction workforce. That portion is poised to climb to 45 percent by 2014, the report found.
“Green jobs are already an important part of the construction labor workforce, and signs are that they will become industry standard,” Harvey Bernstein, vice president of Industry Insights and Alliances for McGraw-Hill Construction, said in the report.