AIA predicts construction growth in 2017

The American Institute of Architects' (AIA) semi-annual consensus report of construction industry leaders predicts a 5.6 percent increase in the nonresidential sector in 2017.

This is down from 2016's overall pace of 8 percent, however the AIA reports the commercial segment of nonresidential — office construction in particular (+10.6 percent) — will drive this year's growth but that the industrial segment will remain substantially unchanged.

The AIA report predicts that institutional's growth will exceed that of commercial's in 2018, with the amusement-recreation (+7.7 percent) and educational sectors (6.3 percent) driving that growth.

The AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel projects construction business conditions for the next year to 18 months.

The AIA report highlighted the fact that the national unemployment rate, as well as that of the construction industry, ended 2016 at below 5 percent, making labor demands the biggest challenge moving forward. Industry groups have warned about the looming labor shortage and are calling on the new Trump administration to include a career training initiative with any official infrastructure program.

The AIA predicts overall healthy income growth, still-low interest rates and high confidence in consumer and business categories — all of which will contribute to construction growth this year. President Donald Trump's infrastructure program have the potential to affect construction this year, but a repeal of the Affordable Care Act could adversely affect the healthcare segment, according to the AIA. However, an anticipated rollback of regulations could streamline the construction process in general. Trump has already ordered federal agencies to streamline the regulatory and environmental review process for high-priority infrastructure projects.

Other initiatives dealing with tax reform, immigration, trade and energy policy could also affect the construction environment for the years to come. Source: Construction Dive