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Construction Industry Outlook

2020 was an unforgettable year in many ways and one that may have permanently changed the world. 2020 and the early part of 2021 saw a downturn in construction starts. But as we’re reaching the mid-year point, things are starting to look up.

The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry were able to respond faster than other industries due to strong order books and demand from the residential segment.

2020 likely also helped AEC companies to reset and prepare sooner and more effectively for work, workforce, and workplace changes. The year ahead is only expected to accelerate these changes.

Connected construction presents a host of efficiency- and productivity-enhancing technologies that can enable new business models and strategies.

There may be another disruptive event around the corner that could catch the world off guard. But AEC firms that embrace digital, form strategic alliances, and prepare for the future of work are most likely to be better prepared for whatever comes next.

 

Dodge Data & Analytics’ Steven Jones shares the mid-year outlook program. Steven is a globally recognized expert in how emerging economic, practice, and technology trends are shaping the future of the design and construction industry. He speaks at conferences globally, authors the SmartMarket Report series on key industry trends, and hosts the ENR FutureTech events.

Steve outlines the national and regional starts forecast for 2021 and 2022, respectively, across our residential, nonresidential building, and nonbuilding sectors. The highlights will include those factors impacting the economic upturn now that the economy is starting to improve.

Watch this video and gain an understanding of the current market situation and a macroeconomic overview.

 

 

Steve does a deeper dive into what Dodge Data & Analytics think is going to be happening with the infrastructure bill. He shares some of what they’re learning in their quarterly surveys about the business health construction companies’ both commercial and civil projects.  Steven also looked at some high-frequency planning data to help the industry continue on its path to recovery.

 

Dodge Construction Outlook - US Total Construction Starts

 

Residential Construction

The pandemic has pushed many city dwellers to the suburbs as they look to avoid health concerns surrounding urban mass transit and public crowding. Near-record, low mortgage rates are expected to promote continued residential construction growth. Steve expects single-family home construction starts will rise as much as 7% in 2021; however, multi-family homes “will pay the price for single family’s gain,” with the dollar value of multi-family starts anticipated to fall by 1% this year.

 

Commercial Building

After dropping 23% in 2020, Steve forecasts a 5% dollar value increase in commercial starts in 2021. Steve also reports that “[w]arehouse construction will be the clear winner as e-commerce giants continue to build out their logistics infrastructure.”

Anirban Basu, the chief economist for Associated Builders and Contractors, reports that COVID-19 accelerated these preexisting commercial construction trends. Basu explains, “Among the most obvious trends in e-commerce, a trend that was gaining market share even before the global health crisis began. An ongoing proliferation of fulfillment and data centers will serve this ongoing boom. However, this could translate to tougher times ahead for retailers and shopping centers . . . .” Development site consultant Tom Stringer expects suburban commercial construction to grow as companies look to move offices away from densely populated areas and build new manufacturing and distribution centers to help alleviate pandemic supply chain issues.

 

Public Works

Steve expects public construction to remain relatively flat but stable during 2021. According to Basu, “Countervailing forces are at work in public construction. On one hand, weakened state and local government finances suggest weaker public works spending going forward. On the other hand, . . . federal spending on infrastructure could increase as part of a post-inauguration stimulus package. Republicans and Democrats do not agree on much, but leaders from both parties agree that America spends too little on infrastructure.” While the federal government recently extended the FAST Act (for Fixing America’s Surface Transportation), any growth in the public sector likely will depend on the further stimulus or infrastructure bills.

 

Utility Construction

With the growing push for renewables and other climate change initiatives, experts anticipate energy construction, especially large-scale solar and wind projects, will rise significantly. Steve forecasts a 35% gain for utilities and renewable energies construction in 2021.

 

Summary

The construction industry is showing signs of growth in 2021 and beyond, but such growth may be checked by uncertainty and COVID-19’s lingering effects on construction operations. Contractors will continue to face pandemic-related time and cost impacts from added safety measures (PPE, physical distancing, screening), workforce shortages, and supply chain disruptions, all of which can cause delays, accelerations, and production losses.

 

Construction Outlook - Screenshot Long Term Changes Due to COVID

 

Contractors can manage these risks and enhance profitability by taking affirmative steps to protect their rights and claims under their contracts. Proactive measures include asking for extensions of time, ensuring compliance with all contractual notice requirements, and carefully tracking all extra work and costs.

For a continuing construction industry forecast, visit Dodge Data & Analytics.

 

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TECH Perspectives | Leveraging Digital Twin Technology

Digital twins are quickly proving to be a key strategic accelerator for digital transformation, unlocking the value created by the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and analytics.

But what exactly is the buzz about? What is a digital twin? What elements define it? When can and should we apply this technology? What makes it so powerful? And how will its adoption influence our design process and ultimately our buildings and cities?

According to a Gartner report, with an estimated 21 billion connected sensors and endpoints by 2020, digital twins will exist for billions of things in the near future. Potentially billions of dollars of savings in maintenance repair and operation (MRO) and optimized IoT asset performance.

These questions, and more, are discussed during our TECH Perspectives webinar series on “Leveraging Digital Twin Technology”. This online conference series features one and a half long with keynote presentations from the following, followed by a moderated discussion, and direct questions from the audience. We hear from:

Salla (Palos) Eckhardt, Director of Transformation Services | Microsoft WWC Construction Lead
Salla (Palos) Eckhardt | Microsoft
Bill-KwonBill2018-01_3
William Kwon | CallisonRTKL
Sarah Dreger
Sarah Dreger | Stantec
Steve Jones - 110px
Steve Jones | Dodge Data & Analytics

About TECH Perspectives

Microsol Resources’ TECH Perspectives conferences bring together thought-leaders at the forefront of building and construction innovation to discuss new and existing technologies that are reshaping the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry.

Part 1 | Introductions to Digital Twin Technology

Learn how developing a digital twin strategy can help you harness the convergence of the digital and physical worlds. Watch our video recording of this first part of our webinar series from April 2021.

 

Part 2 | Challenges of implementing, managing, and measuring Digital Twin solutions

Digital twins are a novel and unique way to combine software and hardware. The projects require a heavy investment of both hard and soft costs. If you get it right, the payoff is worth the effort. Like with any new technology, change is constant and you may have a skills gap on your team.

This is the continuation of our discussion with Microsoft, CallisonRTKL, and Stantec in our webinar this past May 2021. The panel discussion focuses on the challenges of implementing, managing and measuring Digital Twin solutions.

This webinar is the second part of this discussion and moderated by:

  • Steve Jones | Senior Director, Industry Insights Research | Dodge Data & Analytics

 

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Autodesk University 2020: Explore AEC Industry Trends with Microsol Resources

Microsol Resources is exhibiting at Autodesk University 2020 on November 17-20. Join us at our virtual booth to see the latest architecture, engineering, and construction industry trends and how new digital tools are changing our approach to the built world. There is no cost to attend Autodesk University 2020, but registration is required.

There will be live sessions where attendees can join in and listen live to the presentations, ask questions, and interact with presenters. Also, Microsol Resources will be presenting two (2) break-out sessions discussing AEC trends, including:

 

Rhino.Inside.Revit

November 18, 2020 | 9:00am PT / 12:00pm ET 

Ask the Experts: Optimizing Rhino.Inside Revit

To be an effective designer today, you need tools to quickly develop your designs and accurately communicate them to all project stakeholders. Join Joseph Freund of Microsol Resources and Rhino experts Scott Davidson and Ehsan Iran-Nejad from McNeel Associates to hear more about the Rhino workflow from early design and model exploration refinement and documentation using Revit. During this presentation, you will get a sneak peek into the new ability of the Rhino 7 inside Revit technology, using Grasshopper to extract the geometry of a Revit element, and tips for writing your custom scripts. Our Rhino experts will share new features under development and tips and tricks for a seamless Rhino workflow. It’s an opportunity to bring and ask your questions and learn what’s new! Register Now.

Presenters:
Joseph Freund, AEC Application Specialist | Microsol Resources
Scott Davidson, Business Development | McNeel Associates
Ehsan Iran-Nejad, Architect & Product Developer | McNeel Associates

 

Achieve Seamless Project Collaboration & Storage Using Panzura (Payette)

November 19, 2020 | 9:00am PT | 12:00pm ET

Achieve Seamless Project Collaboration & Storage Using Panzura

Need to optimize data storage management and distribution in the cloud? Join our presentation with Dan Gallivan of Payette and Greg Wesner of Panzura as we discuss innovative cloud storage solutions that combine the flexibility, security and cost benefits of centralized storage. Dan will be sharing how to enable a remote architecture studio work force and support distributed team specially during these times of working from elsewhere. It’s a chance to build your skills, expand your professional network, and get inspired by the new possibilities. Register Now.

Presenters:
Dan Gallivan, Director if Information Technology | Payette
Gregory Wesner, Senior Solutions Architect | Panzura

 

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