Now that it is February and almost everyone’s New Years’ resolutions are officially broken, it seems a good time to review what some are projecting as possible trends in the construction industry in 2014. The following is a simple list of predictions gathered from various sources.
1. Various sources are reporting that the U.S. economy is expected to grow slightly in 2014. That growth is judged to likely fall somewhere between 2.5% and 3%. Very few economists are extremely confident in their predictions though. The rancor in Washington and various state capitals, as well as the unpredictability of the markets in recent years, cause them pause.
2. The McGraw-Hill Construction Outlook for 2014 expects a 9% rise in construction starts to $555 billion in 2014. Single family housing is predicted to lead the charge. Specific areas of improvement will also include commercial construction (17%), followed by multi-family housing (11%), manufacturing (8%), and institutional building (2%).
3. The unmeasured but undeniably huge jump in natural gas production, along with the corresponding infrastructure, is expected to continue. Most expect global energy use to increase by 50% by 2035. Natural gas is anticipated to account for in excess of 50% of U.S. energy production by that time with the U.S. leading the way in natural gas production worldwide.
4. The use of BIM will continue to grow and is expected to increase by 42% in the next 3 years. Similarly, mobile access to construction information, including plans and specifications, is expected to increase by 38% with use of cloud storage devices on the rise and now at 60%.
These are but a few of the trends in the construction industry that seem sure to continue in 2014. All of them are integrated into the construction industry and help dictate how the industry will perform as a whole. From a broad perspective, it seems safe to say most economists predict the construction economy will improve slightly in 2014. Now, if the snow and ice will subside in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, perhaps developers and construction companies can begin to make these projections reality.