Commercial Building Contractors

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 40,500 commercial building contractors in the US coordinate resources and manage the building process for industrial, commercial, and institutional projects. About 71% of contractors are sole proprietors or entities without workers on payroll. Most commercial building contractors rely heavily on subcontractors.

Dependence on Subcontractors

Commercial building contractors are dependent on subcontractors for specialized activities, such as electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work.

Competitive Pricing Environment

Most commercial construction jobs are competitive bidding situations, and price is a major deciding factor in which commercial contractor obtains the job.

Industry size & Structure

A typical commercial building contractor employs about 21 workers and generates $11.6 million annually.

    • The commercial building contracting industry consists of 40,500 companies that employ 884,000 workers and generate $471 billion annually.
    • About 70% of contractors are sole proprietors or entities without workers on payroll.
    • Most commercial building contractors rely heavily on subcontractors.
    • Large companies include Turner Corporation, Tutor Perini, Jacobs Engineering, and Gilbane Building Company.
                              Industry Forecast
                              Commercial Building Contractors Industry Growth
                              Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                              Recent Developments

                              Jul 10, 2024 - Architectural Billings Deline
                              • Demand for building design services slipped in May from the prior month, as architectural billings remain soft, according to a June report by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The AIA’s Architecture Billing Index (ABI) fell to 42.4 in May from April’s reading of 48.3. Any reading of 50 or more indicates growth in architectural billings. The score for new project inquiries fell to 52.1 in May compared to 54.8 in April, and the index for the value of new design contracts decreased from 49.2 to 45.6. The AIA’s Chief Economist, Kermit Baker said, "The decline in the May ABI score continues a year and a half of weakness in design billings at US architecture firms. However, firms only reported modest declines over the first half of this period. Over the past nine months, volatility has increased, and scores have softened more significantly, with the May score the weakest reported since the end of the pandemic recession."
                              • Investments in data centers are expected to remain strong, but construction firms serving the industry still face lingering headwinds, according to a recent report by CBRE. While data center pre-leasing rates in most regions exceed 80% - suggesting demand is in step with increasing supply – construction contractors are seeing challenges in power distribution access and supply chain constraints for key components, including transformers and circuit breakers. Industry observers suggest contractors can better manage supply chain issues and project delays by exploring supply chain alternatives and collaborating more closely with suppliers and other project stakeholders.
                              • Since Q4 2022, weekly US in-person office occupancy has remained a stubbornly low 50%, according to a June 2024 report by The Conference Board. In the wake of the pandemic, employers have found that offering hybrid work schedules is an effective way to attract and retain workers constrained by long commutes and higher costs of living. Nearly 70% of US firms offer their employees hybrid or remote flexibility, up from about 51% in Q1 2023. According to data firm CoStar, when companies sign new leases they are reducing their office footprints by about 19%. Low office occupancy could impact future demand for new office construction.
                              • The Dodge Momentum Index (DMI) increased 10.4% in June 2024 to 198.6 (2000=100), up from the revised May reading of 179.9. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which has been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. On a monthly basis, the commercial planning component improved by 14.5%, but institutional was flat at 0.2%. Dodge’s associate director of forecasting, Sarah Martin, said, “Data centers continued to dominate planning projects in June – fueling another strong month for commercial planning. More momentum in planning, while not as strong as data centers, was seen across most segments and indicates confidence in 2025 market conditions. The DMI is up 43% from June 2019 levels, signaling strong construction spending in 2025.”
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