Capitol Update 11/21/2022
The construction industry can expect to see more rising prices over the next two years after this year’s estimated increases of 9% to 12%, industry sources say. Sebastian Obando runs down the outlook for cement and concrete, steel and lumber, insulation, drywall, and mechanical components. Full Story: Construction Dive
A survey from the Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk found that 91% of respondents said they were having trouble finding workers, noting particular difficulty in hiring for skilled trades. The shortages are reported across large and small contractors and are hindering completion of jobs on target, according to AGC. Full Story: Daily Commercial News (Ontario)
California voters cast ballots on a range of infrastructure, housing and school measures in this year’s mid-term elections.
A modest 0.2% month-to-month seasonally adjusted advance in the overall Producer Price Index in October obscured a year-to-year surge of 11.3% for construction materials, while components were up 12.8%, writes Erik Sherman. Those numbers marked a slight improvement from September, but “materials and components are significantly higher than they were pre-pandemic and don’t seem on a path to level off in the near future,” Sherman writes. Full Story: GlobeSt (free registration)
US construction starts that rose 17% this year to $1.086 billion are likely to remain essentially flat at $1.083 billion in the coming year, according to Richard Branch, chief economist at Dodge Construction Network. Dodge notes particular weakness in the residential sector, with the number of single-family units predicted to fall 6% in 2023 after a 12% decline this year, while multifamily is expected to decline 9% in 2023 after a 16% gain this year.
In October, unemployment rates were higher in 24 states, lower in 1 state, and stable in 25 states and the District of Columbia. Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 7 states and was essentially unchanged in 43 states and the District.
The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.2 percent in October. Prices for final demand goods advanced 0.6 percent, and the index for final demand services decreased 0.1 percent. The index for final demand rose 8.0 percent for the 12 months ended in October.
The year ahead poses an array of management challenges for the Department of Transportation, including implementation of projects under the bipartisan infrastructure law, according to a report by the department’s inspector general. In all, the report describes 10 challenges, including highway fatalities, that are on the rise. Full Story: Transport Topics
The White House intends for the second year of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to match or exceed disbursements from the first year of the law. National Economic Council Director Brian Deese thinks doing so will not exacerbate inflation and expects efforts to fund the digital economy and transportation and industrial sectors will alleviate supply chain concerns. Full Story: Reuters
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will be a year old on Tuesday, and the American Society of Civil Engineers and Accelerator for America are marking the occasion with a map of projects funded by the law. The interactive map reveals locations of projects under 17 categories as well as other details, including the funds designated for each state. Full Story: Contractor Magazine Equipment World
The first year of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has done much to clarify highway formula funding and to foster competitive grants, but many trade associations are wary of the expanded Buy America provisions for projects that tap funds from the bipartisan legislation. However, Associated General Contractors of America spokesperson Brian Turmail says that while the association is concerned with the Buy America expansion, “a year later we are even more convinced the right thing to do was support [IIJA].” Full Story: Engineering News-Record (tiered subscription model)
Federal provisions that were already in place for domestically produced iron, steel and manufactured products have been extended to five more categories of construction materials. Buy America provisions under the bipartisan infrastructure law now include nonferrous metals, plastics and polymer-based products, glass, lumber and drywall, although some waivers may be granted, according to the Transportation Department. Full Story: Equipment World
The Biden administration plans to disburse $250 million for projects aimed at improving energy efficiency in homes and businesses, including retrofits. The program lets recipients use grants for revolving loan funds, which the Energy Department calls an evergreen resource because money received from repaid loans is recycled into loans for other projects. Full Story: The Hill
Achieving an environmentally friendly circular economy will depend on construction and its materials. Katharine Sanderson looks at different projects to make concrete less carbon-intensive, as well as initiatives to bring about greater standardization and tracing for reusable materials and structural elements. Full Story: Nature
Construction Dive spoke with the Boston-based firm’s new business development lead for Northern California about life sciences, being nimble and a soft landing in the Bay Area.
AECOM beats on earnings, misses on revenue
The firm’s CEO said slower-than-expected IIJA funding has pushed back the timeline of infrastructure construction projects.
With funds running short, a Metro rail extension in Los Angeles County would be limited to one branch initially rather than two as planned. The plans now call for a 4.6-mile, up to $7.9 billion initial operating segment that would run to Greenwood Avenue in Montebello. Full Story: Urbanize Media/Los Angeles
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission advanced plans to demolish four dams on the Klamath River along the California-Oregon border. The $500 million project will be the largest of its kind in the US, serving to free up hundreds of miles of fish habitat after more than a century. Full Story: Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)
Anaheim, Calif., will seek proposals to carry out an inspection of Angel Stadium of Anaheim and determine its condition. The stadium is the fourth-oldest in Major League Baseball, dating back to 1966, and its condition has been a subject of dispute between the team’s owner and the city. Full Story: Spectrum News
Construction that’s underway on the long-delayed courthouse in Sonoma County, Calif., is expected to be finished in 2024. Plans for the building date back to 2018 at an initially estimated cost of $175 million for a six-story building spanning 169,342 square feet. Full Story: The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.)
Developers say $155 million in financing is in place for a planned entertainment complex in San Pedro, Calif. The complex, which will include restaurants, will replace the existing Ports O’ Call Village waterfront attraction, with work expected to begin soon and be completed in 2024. Full Story: Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)
After 10 years of work that began with planning, the Bear River Setback Levee has reached completion in Yuba County, Calif. The barrier is a key part of 100-year flood protection for Wheatland.
Full Story: KCRA-TV (Sacramento, Calif.)
Work is underway in San Jose, Calif., on a bridge over a downtown street to connect Adobe’s three-building campus with a new tower. The cloud services company expects to occupy the tower early in the new year.
A summer 2024 opening is expected for the new home of the Los Angeles Clippers in Inglewood, Calif. Sam Farmer explores construction progress and the design of the Intuit Dome. Full Story: Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)