McGraw-Hill Construction, part of The McGraw-Hill Companies, says its 2008 Construction Outlook forecasts a drop in overall U.S. construction spending, fueled by tighter lending conditions and weaker job growth. Against this backdrop, the level of construction starts is expected to decline 2 percent, to $614 billion, following an 8 percent decline predicted for 2007.
Still, there are some positives for the market in 2008, says Robert A. Murray, vice president, economic affairs, McGraw-Hill Construction. Transportation projects should continue to see moderate growth amid a renewed emphasis on infrastructure maintenance and upgrades, particularly in the aftermath of the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis. Financing from public sources will stay generally supportive, and the growth of public-private partnerships also offers the potential for greater funding. Finally, growth in “green” construction practices means that the demand for sustainable building design and materials will continue to rise.
Highlights of the 2008 outlook include:
— Single-family housing will weaken further, given the large inventory of unsold homes and diminished loan availability to homebuyers. A 3 percent drop in dollar volume is expected, corresponding to another 6 percent decline in the number of units. units, following steeper declines in 2007. Condominium development is being dampened by greater scrutiny from lenders as well as reduced homebuyer demand.
— Commercial buildings will slip 6 percent in dollar volume and 11percent in square feet. Tighter lending standards and the slower absorption of space will contribute to a measured downturn for stores, warehouses, offices, and hotels.
— Institutional buildings will rise 4 percent in dollar volume, while square footage edges up 1 percent. School construction is expected to strengthen again after its 2007 pause, and transportation terminals are also expected to grow. The other institutional structure types, including healthcare facilities, will see a modest loss of momentum.
— Manufacturing buildings will retreat 11 percent in dollar volume, after a 40 percent surge in 2007 that featured the start of several unusually costly projects plus a large number of ethanol plants. Square footage for manufacturing buildings in 2008 is expected to advance 5 percent.
— Public works construction will move up 3 percent, following the 5 percent gain in 2007. Highways and bridges are likely to receive greater funding when fiscal 2008 appropriations are approved.
— Electric utilities will see another modest decline in percentage terms, but essentially this project type is holding at the enhanced level achieved in 2006.
Extrutech Plastics wins Product of the Year
Extrutech Plastics won the Mid-Atlantic Product of the Year award for its interior and exterior wall and ceiling products.
The awards are instituted to recognize those who are leading change and to spot trends impacting the car wash industry. The Product of the Year award is determined by a panel of past presidents of the Mid-Atlantic Carwash Association.
In an article outlining why car wash owners across the country are so happy with Extrutech’s wall and ceiling panels, the car wash owners make it evident that a number of key benefits set EPI above the rest.
“A smooth modern appearance combined with practical benefits of cleansing ease, mildew resistance, easy maintenance and affordability make Extrutech a trend setting product,” says Wash Trends Magazine.
Silver Line Windows teams help ‘Light the Night’
Employees from Silver Line Window’s North Brunswick headquarters walked two miles at Colonial Park in Somerset, N.J., on Oct. 6 to support “Light The Night,” the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s annual evening fund-raising walk. The national event raises awareness for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma and celebrate and commemorates people whose lives have been touched by these blood-related cancers. Funds raised from the walk support the society’s efforts to find better therapies and cures, and provide educational services for patients and their families. The North Brunswick facility raised more than $5,000 for the event.