Each Monday, we'll let you know what's coming in the week ahead, including important residential and commercial report releases, as well as our feature articles.
Project labor agreements feature article — Jan. 17
Project labor agreements are a consistent debate in the construction industry, as employer-focused groups like the Associated General Contractors and the Associated Builders and Contractors maintain they restrict competition and don't take into consideration the large portion of workers who have no union affiliation. However, proponents of PLAs claim they are a way of controlling costs and quality on the job, and they reject the idea that they place an undue burden on nonunion contractors and employees.
In our feature article on Tuesday, Jan. 17, we'll explore both sides of the PLA argument and find out how union and nonunion industry players view the future of the contentious issue.
Pierrette Tierney-Magleby Q-and-A — Jan. 17
From reporting out of CNN's London bureau to leading Taylor Morrison's Northern California division and now to heading up business development for a luxury custom homebuilder in Utah, Tierney-Magleby has climbed the ropes in homebuilding, and quickly at that.
At Design and Construction Week in Orlando, FL, we sat down with the 37-year-old vice president of business development at Magleby Construction, in Park City, UT, to discuss her career path, the challenges facing builders today and what joining the industry on its downward slide taught her about managing business.
AIA Billings Index — Jan. 18
The American Institute of Architects will release its Architectural Billings Index on Wednesday, Jan. 18. Last month, the AIA reported the index slipped slightly to 50.6 in November, almost unchanged from October's score of 50.8. November marked the second-consecutive month of increased demand for design services.
In last month's report, AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said it was "still too early" to determine how Trump's infrastructure plans will impact the industry, and he expects the next few months to offer a more clear direction for its future.
The ABI is a significant report for the commercial construction industry, as it serves as an indicator of future construction spending with a lead time of about nine to 12 months. Will Wednesday's report show the industry responding positively to the incoming administration?
Housing Market Index — Jan. 18
The National Association of Home Builders will release its NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index on Wednesday, Jan. 18. The measure of homebuilder optimism in the potential for new construction activity hit its highest level since July 2005 in December, a jump that NAHB Chairman Ed Brady contributed to a "post-election" bounce.
Although President-elect Donald Trump positioned himself favorably to builders during the campaign, the lead-up to his inauguration has been characterized by continued uncertainty. January's figures will show more clearly whether builders carried their optimism into the new year.
Housing starts — Jan. 19
The need for new residential construction activity to soften rising prices and spur home purchases has been a common refrain among industry watchers of late. Yet starts in both single- and multifamily construction are recovering unevenly, a factor that makes behavior on a month-to-month basis difficult to predict.
Overall, housing starts fell 18.7% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.090 million from October while the single-family subset was down just 4.1% for the month and up 5.3% year-over-year. Multifamily, meanwhile, fell 43.9% for the month after a strong October showing and is down 31.7% on the year. On Thursday, Jan. 19, the Commerce Department will release its starts figures for December, showing whether residential construction closed out 2016 on strong footing.
Employee benefits feature article — Jan. 19
The skilled labor shortage keeps getting worse, and even though construction firms welcome future demand in building services, it is projected to only make the supply of workers even more sparse.
To sweeten the pot for new workers and to retain existing employees, companies are exploring new benefit packages and other employee incentives that will help them survive the talent drought. In our feature article on Thursday, Jan. 19, we'll talk with companies trying out these new tactics and find out where they've seen the most success.