Construction put in place for the coming year is expected to see a 5.8 percent growth, although it was down 3.7 percent in 2007, according to FMI’s 2008 U.S. Construction Overview. In 2008, construction put in place will total $1.21 trillion, about 9 percent gross of domestic product.

Additional trends discussed in the 2008 Overview include:

  • Green building. Green, nonresidential construction put in place was $13.4 billion in 2006. By 2008, FMI predicts $21.2 billion of all new nonresidential construction will employ the use of green-building principles - a 58 percent increase. This sizable growth in green construction has created a shift in perception among owners and the architectural and engineering communities over the last few years - the industry is increasingly recognizing green-building capabilities as a necessary part of a firm’s best practices.


  • Employee ownership. Dramatic ownership turnover within the construction industry will bring significant change and challenge over the next decade, FMI reported. Family ownership is declining while broad-based employee ownership is increasing.


  • Productivity improvement. Productivity improvement is approaching safety in importance for self-performers. Firms have begun to identify productivity as a critical strategic issue to provide sustained return on investment as well as an opportunity to gain competitive advantage, the report noted. Using planning tools and job cost systems to manage projects are just some of the ways contractors can focus on productivity.


  • Hispanic workforce. Of the 11.8 million workers in the construction industry work force in 2006, 2.9 million were Hispanic - 25 percent of the total. This trend has not slowed, despite the housing market slowdown and increasingly stringent immigration rules. Many construction employers recognize that language barriers seriously affect jobsite communication and productivity, as well as adherence to and understanding of safety regulations. More Hispanics are injured and killed on construction sites today than any other ethnic or racial group.

    For more information about FMI’s 2008 U.S. Construction Overview, contact Candace Robertson at FMI Corp., 919/785-9359 or