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Poll: WA State Contractors say 2013 is the Year

The rebound for the construction industry is still a couple years away according to a poll of Washington State contractors by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America. Plus the poll revealed that Washington contractors are more likely to work on BIM and LEED projects and less likely to work on IPD and PPP projects than the national average.

(For complete survey information including state and national data click here.)

When asked “When do you expect the construction market to grow again?” 45 percent of contractors polled in Washington State said 2013; 34 percent said 2012; 14 percent said 2011 and seven percent said 2014.

Washington State contractors have a more pessimistic view than those in other states. On a national level the largest slice of contractors surveyed (48 percent) believe that 2012 will be the year the industry grows again.

On a more positive note the construction industry in this state has clearly stabilized. More firms (26 percent) plan to add staff than lay off staff (16 percent) in 2011. In 2010 a whopping 67 percent of firms laid off staff and only 19 percent added staff.

A majority of respondents felt that the dollar volume of most construction sectors would be the same or better than last year. However 55 percent expect the retail/lodging/warehouse sector to be lower and 67 percent expect private office construction to be lower.

In another positive sign for the industry no respondents plan to adjust bids in 2011 so that a project is built at a net loss. In 2010 seven percent said they were bidding projects at a loss. Last year 84 said they were adjusting their bids so that profits would be smaller; for 2011 only 33 percent said they were adjusting bids for smaller profits.

Another interesting aspect of the survey has to do with contractors’ current involvement with and expectations for Building Information Modeling (BIM) LEED projects Integrated Project Deliver (IPD) and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).

Washington State contractors responded that on average about 15 percent of their work used BIM. Only about a third of respondents expected this percentage to grow in 2011; 64 percent expected no growth in their use of BIM.

Regarding LEED Washington State contractors said 19 percent of their 2010 involved LEED registered projects. Again the majority (57%) don’t expect an increase in 2011. However 43 percent expect more work involving LEED projects; these responders expect an average 15 percent growth in their volume of LEED-registered work.

Most state contractors expect IPD to grow. While on average contractors were contracted to work on only 0.25 IPD projects in 2010 two-thirds expect this type of work to grow in 2011 by an average of 30 percent.

Similar numbers for PPPs: On average area contractors worked on 1.3 PPP projects and 67 percent expect this to increase this year (by just a little bit 8 percent).

How do Washington contractors compare to the rest of the country? In 2010 our contractors used BIM and worked on LEED projects more often than contractors in the rest of the country but did less work involving IPD and PPS.

BIM: 15 percent of Washington respondents used it in 2010; only 8 percent nationally did.

LEED: For Washington contractors 19 percent of their work involved LEED; only 15 percent on a national basis.

IPD: Pretty even as state contractors on average worked on 0.25 IPD projects 0.26 nationally.

PPPs: Our state’s aversion to PPP projects really shows in this statistic. Washington State contractors said that on average they worked on 1.3 PPP projects but nationally the average was much higher (5.2). And while solid majorities of contractors on both a state and national basis expect PPPs to grow this year Washington contractors expect a little growth (8 percent) while nationally contractors expect significantly more (30 percent).

The survey was released January 24 2011 by the Associated General Contractors of America and Navigant.

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