A look at industry-related trends and findings.

Global Construction Trends

McGraw-Hill Construction has issued its “Key Trends in the European and U.S. Construction Marketplace SmartMarket Report,” produced in partnership with the Innovative Construction Research Centre at the University of Reading, United Kingdom. Its findings are particularly relevant, given the size of the impact construction has on the economies of the world, averaging 10 percent across the globe.

The research indicates that advances in technology, shifts in the construction workforce and increasing global competition are key concerns. The report also emphasizes the driving influence of governance and legislation, environmental pressures, global finance, new procurement methods and the increasing cost of materials.

“The financial and building trends in one country are largely impacted by social and political events in other areas of the world,” states McGraw-Hill’s Harvey Bernstein. “It is important that we understand these trends and how they will impact the work that we do today and in the future.”

Other major findings of the report:

  • Emerging and transitioning economies are fast becoming attractive building markets as well as formidable foreign competitors.

  • Materials prices are continuing to escalate, placing a growing pressure on project costs and encouraging the shift to alternative materials.

  • Construction industry leaders share concerns about the global workforce shortage, and they expect the situation to worsen in the next five years.

  • The market for green building is significant and growing rapidly, thanks to supportive legislation, market differentiation and the growing pressure of global competition.
    These trends serve as challenges for the industry, but represent exciting opportunities. Roger Flanagan, professor of Construction Management at University of Reading, points to the prospects for the future: “It is exciting to consider the data and trends in this report, and imagine how they will shape the way we do business down the road. Ultimately, the business sense, entrepreneurship, innovation and imagination of leaders in our industry will decide how these trends shape our future.”

    Water and Sanitation Project

    What does it really cost to extend and sustain safe water and hygienic sanitation to poor communities in developing countries? The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre’s (IRC) project, WASHCost, to quantify the cost of delivering safe water, sanitation and hygiene services, with a $14.48 million grant over five years to answer this question and to transform information, learning and performance in the sector.

    IRC, and partners in four countries, will work to identify the real, disaggregated costs of water, sanitation and hygiene services in rural and peri-urban areas, and the range of physical, social, economic and political factors that influence those costs. The project will be implemented through a process that embeds responsibility for developing and using unit cost data at local and national levels, which should increase the relevance and impact of the data.

    By the end of five years, national and international decision makers will be able to access and use good quality data and benchmark information, representing a range of contexts, to support their planning and budgeting of services.

    Water Market Research Findings

    According to a technical market research report, “Growing Markets for Water and Wastewater Technologies” from BCC Research (www.bccresearch.com), the top five global growth markets for water and wastewater technologies and products are China, India, Mexico, Egypt and Australia.

    The expenditures for municipal water and wastewater applications were $8,066 million in 2005, $9,575 million in 2006, and $11,290 million in 2007. They are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.2 percent and reach $39,709 million by 2012. The municipal sector is a priority in almost every market. Because municipal water supply and quality directly affect so many people, it typically is funded first in both developed and developing countries.

    The infrastructure applications market for fresh water supplies, drinking water, and wastewater collection and treatment amounted to $6,611 million in 2005, $7,862 million in 2006 and exceeded $9,287 million in 2007. This is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22.6 percent to reach $32,041 million by 2012. Major new infrastructure systems are in great demand, especially in developing countries. However, many infrastructure systems in developed countries are aging and developing leakage problems, which soon will require extensive retrofitting and remediation.

    The market for industrial water and wastewater equipment was $3,256 million in 2005, $3,926 million in 2006 and exceeded $4,696 million in 2007. On its current trajectory, it will grow at a CAGR of 14.2 percent to reach $10,111 million by 2012. Although this sector typically is smaller and implemented after municipal and infrastructure projects, the growing awareness of how industrial wastewater affects the water supply is stimulating government standards and regulations.

    Other BCC Research water-related findings:

    • The global market for seawater and brackish water desalination plants increased from $1.7 billion in 2005 to $1.9 billion in 2007. It should reach $3.6 billion by 2012, a CAGR of 13.4 percent.

    • The expenditures for municipal water and wastewater applications were $8,066 million in 2005, $9,575 million in 2006, and $11,290 million in 2007. They are expected to grow at a CAGR of 22.2 percent and reach $39,709 million by 2012.

    • The U.S. market for the advanced drinking water technologies – membrane filtration, ozone disinfection, UV irradiation and novel oxidation processes – is growing at a rate of 10.7 percent, and is expected to reach more than $2.1 billion in 2011.

    • The total value of the U.S. water recycling and reuse industry will reach $3.3 billion in 2010, at an average annual growth rate of 8.8 percent.