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Construction engineering encompasses various aspects of infrastructure development; right from design and construction to planning and maintenance. Global construction engineering market size was over US$ 8 trillion in 2016, and is expected to surpass US$ 10 trillion by 2024. Industry growth can largely be attributed to the global economic recovery and increasing infrastructure development activities to support rapid economic development, especially in emerging economies of Asia Pacific. The industry can be broadly classified into commercial, industrial, public non-housing, infrastructure, private housing, and public housing. Revenue contribution of the construction engineering industry is around 5-25% of the overall GDP of most major economies worldwide.

Industry participants can be broadly categorized into building construction companies, civil engineering companies, and specialty trade contractors that are responsible for specific assignments such as electrical, heating & roofing, and plumbing tasks. Infrastructure development related to of any authorized aviation, healthcare, sports, corporate & commercial, education, government, hospitality & leisure, mixed-use & retail, multi-unit living, parking & garage, and science & technology in turn fuels growth of the construction engineering industry.

Macroeconomic factors

Following the global depression in 2011, the global construction engineering industry has been gaining rapid traction. This trend is especially prevalent in emerging economies which have witnessed multi-billion dollar infrastructural projects introduced by governments to strengthen the economic development in their respective regions. For instance, China’s South North Water Transfer project, Beijing International Airport, and Three Gorges Dam are among the world’s largest construction projects. According to Construction Intelligence Center’s Global 50—covering 50 of the globe’s most influential construction markets—since 2012, emerging economies accounted for over 50% of the global construction output, which is expected to further increase in the near future. The construction engineering industry is expected to register Y-o-Y growth of over 5% in emerging countries, as compared to 3% in developed regions through the forecast period (2017 to 2024).

The Middle East & Africa region has witnessed rampant growth in infrastructure and building construction sector, particularly in Qatar, Libya, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Some of the major construction projects underway are Great Man Made River (Libya), Dubai (UAE), Jubail II (Saudi Arabia), and Al Maktoum International Airport (UAE). This has facilitated growth of the industry in the region, surpassing growth of Asia Pacific region during 2011-2015, and is projected to showcase highest growth till 2020. Slowdown of the industrial and commercial sector in China is a major factor that has stalled growth of the construction engineering industry in Asia Pacific.

Increasing costs associated with raw materials and labor, along with growing competition is expected to lead to steep decline in profit margins of industry participants in the near future. Inflation and flat price trends prevalent over the past several years are expected to hamper the market growth. During 2006-2011, the global construction sector witnessed the laying off of over 40% of the workforce which has led to a shortage of skilled workforce and upsurge in payout of laborers. This has affected the profit margins of construction and contracting companies.

Owing to these factors, methodologies to reduce workforce, project timelines and finding alternative solutions will influence industry players to focus on technological innovations, adoption of IoT, and offsite/ modular construction to improve efficiency and increase profitability.

Modular/Offsite construction

Offsite construction has been in use for the past several years, however it is not widely adopted in price-sensitive emerging economies. In the recent past, countries such as India have witnessed rampant economic growth characterized by extensive infrastructure development activities. The various beneficial properties of modular construction such as low time and labor requirement, and superior quality among others are some of its advantages. Thus, the segment is expected to gain rapid traction from 2017. It finds wide application in HVAC assemblies that are made offsite. Since it is created in factories, it is easy to monitor the quality, optimize onsite time requirement and increase productivity through additional assemblies and sub-assemblies.

Advanced Technologies

Various technologies such as employee tracking equipment, wearable devices, and drone surveying are expected to be adopted in the industry over the forecast period to reduce capital costs, improve productivity, and enhance personnel safety. IoT is expected to play a very important role in ensuring operational efficiency. Moreover, advent of VR/AR would allow detection of flaws and defects and implement effective countermeasures and ensure job safety before the project initiation. This would provide further growth impetus to the industry.

On the other hand, interoperability issues and lack of technical know-how would hamper adoption rates during the initial stages of implementation of these technologies. However, adoption of these technologies by few progressive contractors, and the need to gain a competitive edge in the market is expected to drive adoption of novel technologies during the forecast period.

Green Construction Market

Increasing environmental awareness across the globe has influenced industry players to opt for eco-friendly solutions. Major players in the construction engineering industry are increasingly inclined towards adoption of green construction techniques, and the trend is expected to grow in the near future. Research highlights have reported a 10% increase in revenue after the adoption of these methodologies, wherein building design & construction and building operations & maintenance were highly preferred areas. High initial capital investment is the biggest challenge for organizations. Thus, the developed economies of Western Europe and North America are expected to be key growth regions over the forecast period.

Industry Background

Design-build, integrated project delivery, and public private partnerships (P3s) are expected to gain popularity for project delivery. Collaborative approaches are gaining popularity over the design-bid-build project method. P3s in the construction engineering industry have gained significant traction across various countries. For instance, in May 2015, P3 Kentucky along with local and state leaders of Kentucky, will assist in solving water supply & sewer improvements, public infrastructural investments and economic development projects.

Major construction engineering industry participants include ACS, Hochtief AG, China Communications Construction Group Ltd., Vinci, Bechtel, Technip, among many others. Moreover, the industry is characterized by several local and regional players. Adoption of in organic growth strategies such as business expansions, collaborations and acquisitions, and the adoption of advanced technologies are expected to be drive the market growth in the forthcoming years. For instance, Deere initiated the plan of acquiring Wirtgen Group, a Germany-based road construction company, in June 2017. This deal is expected to reach its final closure in early 2018.

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