Quarry Equipment Marketplace

MAY 2016

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Warehouse construction also retreated in March, slipping 13 percent. The manufacturing plant category showed improvement after its weak February amount, rising 20 percent with the push coming from such projects as a $335 million carbon fber production plant in Moore, S.C., and the $220 million Volvo auto assembly plant (phase 1) in Ridgeville, S.C. Residential Building Residential building, at $292.0 billion (annual rate), grew 3 percent in March. Multifamily housing increased 15 percent, bouncing back following a 6 percent decline in February, as it continues to proceed at a brisk pace. There were 12 multifamily projects valued at $100 million or more that reached groundbreaking in March, led by two projects in New York valued at $404 million and $308 million respectively. Other large multifamily projects that reached groundbreaking were a $305 million condominium tower in Sunny Isles Beach FL, a $243 million condominium tower in Miami, and the $229 million Transbay Block 9 multifamily development in San Francisco. Single-family housing in March slipped 2 percent, essentially remaining close to its February pace. By major region, March showed this pattern for single family housing relative to February – the Northeast, up 6 percent; the South Atlantic, up 2 percent; the West, down 2 percent; the South Central, down 4 percent; and the Midwest, down 10 percent. Nonbuilding Construction Nonbuilding Construction in March fell 30 percent to $140.4 billion (annual rate), after surging 50 percent in February. The electric utility and gas plant category retreated 38 percent from its exceptional February amount, which included the $3 billion third segment (or train) of an LNG export terminal in Freeport, Texas, as well as the start of several very large power plants. Even with the decline, the level of activity for the electric utility and gas plant category was still fairly high in March, coming in only 3 percent below the average monthly pace reported during 2015. The latest month included the start of six large solar power projects, located in California (two projects valued at $850 million and $418 million respectively), Utah ($450 million), Texas ($298 million), Idaho ($200 million), and Alabama ($200 million). Other large power-related projects included as March starts were a $382 million transmission line in Wisconsin, a $275 million natural gas-fred power plant in North Carolina, and a $250 million retroft of three coal-fred power plants in Alabama. The public works categories as a group witnessed a reduced level of construction starts in March, sliding 24 percent from February, and down from the generally improved activity reported during the closing months of 2015. Highway and bridge construction experienced a comparatively mild 8 percent pullback, while steeper declines were reported for the environmental public works categories – water supply systems, down 27 percent; sewers, down 31 percent; and river/harbor development, down 52 percent. The miscellaneous public works category, which includes such diverse project types as pipelines and rail-related work, fell 40 percent in March following its 16 percent gain in February. Year-to-Date During the frst three months of 2016, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $141.7 billion, down 10 percent from the same period a year ago that included the start of several massive power plants and liquefed natural gas (LNG) export terminals. If the volatile electric utility and gas plant category is excluded, total construction starts on a seasonally adjusted basis in March would be up 4 percent from February, while the year-to-date comparison on an unadjusted basis would show just a modest 4 percent decline. The 10 percent decline for total construction starts on an unadjusted basis during the frst three months of 2016 compared to last year was due to a varied pattern by major sector. Nonresidential building dropped 9 percent year-to-date, with manufacturing plant construction down 53 percent, the institutional building segment down 9 percent, while the commercial building segment ran counter with a 5 percent gain. Residential building grew 12 percent year-to- date, with similar growth for single-family housing, up 11 percent; and multifamily housing, up 13 percent. Nonbuilding construction plummeted 34 percent year- to-date, with public works down 28 percent and electric utilities/gas plants down 42 percent. The reduced amounts for public works and electric utilities/gas plants so far in 2016 are relative to particularly strong activity during the frst three months of 2015, with respective gains of 18 percent and 439 percent compared to the same period of 2014. By geography, total construction starts for the January- March period of 2016 showed a 37 percent drop for the South Central region, which last year included the start of several massive LNG terminal projects. The other four regions registered this year-to-date pattern for total construction starts – the South Atlantic, no change; the Midwest, up 1 percent; the Northeast, up 7 percent; and the West, up 9 percent. Further perspective comes from looking at 12-month moving totals, in this case the 12 months ending March 2016 versus the 12 months ending March 2015. On this basis, total construction starts were up a slight 0.4 percent, as the result of this behavior by major sector – nonresidential building, down 10 percent; residential building, up 14 percent; and nonbuilding construction, down 5 percent. Regards, Mark Kuhar, Editor Rock Products Magazine Mining Media International Member: Construction Writers Association May 2016 QEM – Quarry Equipment Marketplace Page 21

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