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    Mark Your Calendar- Upcoming Building Congress Events

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    Don't Miss NYBC's Construction Industry Luncheon Forum Featureing Shawn Donovan, Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, on Monday, September 9th!

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    New York City Institutions Responsible for $14.8 Billion in Construction Starts Over Five Year Period

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Public Schools Accounted for 40 Percent of All Construction Starts by Value, Followed by Health and Hospitals Sector at 25 Percent.

    New York City's public and private institutions initiated $14.8 billion in construction projects over a five year period from June 2008 through May 2013, according to a New York Building Congress analysis of McGraw Hill Construction Dodge data.

    The data encompass all recorded project starts, including new construction as well as alterations and renovations to existing structures, and reflect the estimated value of each initiated project through the entire period of construction. The sectors examined include elementary and secondary schools, hospitals and health care, higher education, courts, libraries, cultural facilities and religious institutions.

    From June 2008 through May 2013, educational facilities accounted for 61 percent, or $8.9 billion, of all construction starts (by value) among public and private institutions operating in New York City.

    Public elementary and secondary schools alone accounted for $5.9 billion (40 percent) in construction starts, while public and private colleges and universities produced $2.2 billion in new projects. Private elementary and secondary schools initiated an additional $845 million in new projects.

    "Lost in the recent discussion of Mayor Bloomberg's legacy are his great achievements in repairing, modernizing and expanding New York City's public schools," said New York Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson. "Undeniably, the Mayor has left the physical condition of our schools in far better condition than he found them 12 years ago."

    Looking beyond education, public and private hospitals and healthcare facilities accounted for $3.7 billion (25 percent) of all institutional construction starts by value during the five-year period. Cultural facilities were responsible for another 8 percent ($1.1 billion) of all initiated projects. Court facilities, religious institutions and libraries each contributed less than 4 percent of all institutional construction starts by value between June 2008 and May 2013.

    Mr. Anderson added, "The past five years have been defined by the Great Recession and the economic malaise that followed in its wake. Yet even in these tough economic times, the City's education, healthcare and cultural institutions have demonstrated their confidence in the City's future by continuing to invest heavily in their physical buildings and campuses."

    The Building Congress analysis also yielded the following findings.

    Top Projects 
    While education dominated in terms of volume of work and overall value, the top project list was led by medical and scientific research facilities, which took five of the top seven spots. The top five projects, by value, from the past five years were the Weill Cornell Biomedical Research Building, the Javits Convention Center expansion, the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center, the East River Science Park West Tower and the new Whitney Museum of American Art.

    A total of $525 million in institutional projects began during the first five months of 2013, which is up slightly from $517 million in construction starts for the same period in 2012. These totals are considerably below the $1.1 billion in construction starts achieved in the first five months of both 2010 and 2011. The numbers for the first halves of 2010 and 2011 were bolstered considerably by the initiation of a few major projects, including the Weill Cornell building in 2010, and both the new Whitney museum and a Columbia University research facility in 2011.

    New York City's public and private institutions employed 732,00 people in 2012, up from 719,000 people in 2011 and 711,000 in 2010. Total employment by New York City's institutions has risen annually since at least 1990.

    New vs. Renovated 
    Approximately 53 percent of the projects initiated over the past five years have been for ground-up construction of new facilities. The remaining 47 percent were renovations and alterations to existing structures.

    Mr. Anderson concluded, "Looking ahead, the Building Congress projects continued strength in the institutional sector. In addition to New York's public schools, the City's colleges and universities, particularly, are poised for growth, thanks in large part to Columbia University's Manhattanville expansion, New York University's NYU 2031 plan, and the creation of Cornell University's CornellNYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island."

    For more information including charts and to see previous Construction Outlook Updates, visit

    New Book "Those Amazing Builders," Aimed to Attract Students to Construction Careers

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Trilogy Publications launched  a new book  “Those Amazing Builders,” to interest middle and high school students in careers in construction, just in time for the construction hiring boom.

    The book comes at a time when the construction industry is on an upswing. More than 2 million jobs were lost between 2007 and 2011 during the economic downturn—a period in which hundreds of thousands of laid-off construction workers left the field or retired. Add to that the fact that Baby Boomers are retiring and fewer high school graduates are entering the field.

    “The Construction Users Council predicted the industry will experience a shortage of 2 million construction workers by 2017, which makes it essential for the industry to educate young people early on about the opportunities available in construction so we can continue to cultivate innovation and keep the field moving forward,” said Mike McNally, president and CEO of Skanska USA. “Skanska is proud to support Trilogy publications and sponsor the book “Those Amazing Builders,” which is an incredibly creative effort to expose the next generation to the construction industry.”

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the next decade will see a dramatic uptrend in construction industry employment. Jobs for industry professionals such as architects, construction managers, engineers, and construction laborers are expected to show double digit increases between 2010 and 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, with some segments of the industry expected to increase by as much as 24 percent during that timeframe.   

     “Construction is—and has always been—an integral part of our society and economy, and is often overlooked by young people considering careers,” says Jeffrey M. Levy, President & CEO, RailWorks Corporation.  “With the beginnings of the recovery, companies are scrambling to hire experienced construction industry professionals and trade labor—construction work simply can’t be outsourced to foreign countries.”

    The launch event kicks off a campaign in the New York metropolitan area and nationally to get the book into schools for use by teachers and guidance counselors. “We are excited about the possibilities of introducing construction career options to young people,” said Rose Reichman, a Trilogy Partner, noting that there have been over 3,500 requests for the book from the NYC Department of Education, and 3,000 from guidance counselors around the country.

    School districts, guidance counselors and teachers nationwide can order free copies of “Those Amazing Builders” for their students on Trilogy’s website. The outreach initiative is similar to Trilogy’s successful Adopt-a-School Program for its earlier title, “Those Amazing Engineers,” which has more than 90,000 copies in print, many of which are part of classroom activities in schools. The book also has been widely used in outreach and educational programs of corporations, organizations and universities.

     “Over 8 million people in the US are employed in the construction industry. The opportunity and the rewards in the industry are there for today’s young people,” says Reichman. “Students may have little understanding of the world of construction. Yet when they recognize that people in the building industry are working to solve many challenges of our times—delivering safe, secure transportation systems, providing clean water, and supplying clean and affordable energy—their interest and respect for the construction industry grows dramatically.”

    Skanska USA was a sponsor of the book at the highest Diamond level, supported by Ingersoll Rand at the Platinum level, RailWorks and Willis Group at the Gold level, and the General Contractors Association of New York, HOK, and the New York Building Congress all at the Silver level.

    The book was launched at a reception in Manhattan at the Society of Illustrators on June 26.  In attendance were executives from construction and educational organizations and representatives from key leaders in the construction industry that sponsored the book at several different levels. Speakers at the launch included McNally of Skanska USA; Mark Schustek, End User Sales, Security Technologies Americas, Ingersoll Rand; Richard T. Anderson, President, New York Building Congress; and Denise Richardson, Managing Director, General Contractors Association of New York. 

    New York Building Congress Analysis Foresees Renewed Building Boom by 2014

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Fueled by rapid increases in residential and office development, overall New York City construction spending is expected to increase by 6.2 percent this year and by 24 percent from 2012 to 2014, according to a New York Building Congress midyear update of its annual analysis of current and projected construction activity.

    After reaching $30.1 billion in total construction spending in 2012, the Building Congress forecasts spending of $32 billion in 2013, and $37.3 billion in 2014. The updated outlook is a significant improvement from the organization's October 2012 projections, which called for annual spending of $30.2 billion in 2013 and $29.1 billion in 2014.

    "The upward revisions in our forecast, from data compiled over the past few months, particularly for the private sector, are extremely encouraging," said New York Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson. "While the effects of inflation and the rebuilding associated with Superstorm Sandy partly explain the projected increase in overall spending, there is no doubt that much of the gain is fueled by increased private-sector development activity and an improving economy."

    When adjusted for inflation, the value of construction in 2013 is forecast to be about 13 percent below the peak of 2007. But by 2014, the Building Congress expects that spending, expressed in constant dollars, will be just 2 percent below the 2007 peak achieved at the height of New York's most recent building boom.

    The Building Congress projects similar increases in construction employment in the coming years. After producing 114,900 construction jobs in 2012, the Building Congress projects construction employment to reach 119,800 jobs in 2013, followed by 130,600 in 2014. If realized, it will mark the first time that construction employment has topped 130,000 since reaching a peak of 132,600 jobs in 2008.

    "The recession and its aftermath have been difficult for members of our affiliated unions," said Gary LaBarbera, president of the 100,000 member Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. "Aggressive measures taken by organized labor, including project labor agreements, were instrumental in allowing billions of dollars of work that was in question to advance and mitigate what could have been a far worse situation. Working with government to maintain strong levels of public infrastructure investment and with developers and contractors as the private market recovers has put us in position to see significant employment gains in the last year and a strong outlook for the coming years."

    Red-Hot Commercial Sector 
    Non-residential construction, which includes office space, institutional development, sports/entertainment venues and hotels, is projected to increase by 38 percent in the current year (from $9.8 billion in 2012 to $13.5 billion in 2013). The Building Congress projects a further leap – to $15.5 billion - in non-residential spending in 2014.

    The rapid rise in spending is due primarily to a burgeoning office construction boom. The Building Congress projects the addition of nearly 2.5 million square feet of Manhattan office space this year, and another 3.9 million square feet in 2014. This sector is being buoyed by work at two Hudson Yards towers, the Manhattan West project and anticipated construction at 3 World Trade Center in 2014, in particular.

    "The near-term outlook in the non-residential sector is really quite extraordinary," said Real Estate Board of New York President Steve Spinola. "While it has taken longer than initially anticipated, the public-private partnerships that were formed to rebuild the World Trade Center and open up Manhattan's Far West Side are starting to pay big dividends."

    Residential Rebound Accelerates 

    The residential sector, which suffered the steepest drops in spending after the recession, continues its remarkable rebound. Residential construction spending is forecast to increase by 17 percent in 2013 (from $5.1 billion in 2012 to $6.0 billion in 2013). Better yet, residential spending is projected to increase by 56 percent from 2012 to 2014, when the Building Congress projects $8 billion in housing construction. All of this is a drastic improvement from the mere $2.3 billion in residential spending back in 2010.

    According to the analysis, the number of housing units produced will rise from 11,000 in 2012, to 13,800 in 2013, and 16,900 in 2014.

    Government Spending Lags 
    Government spending, which includes investments in mass transit, public schools, roads, bridges, and other essential infrastructure, is forecast to reach $12.4 billion in 2013, an 18 percent decline from the $15.1 billion in government spending in 2012. Based on a review of agency budgets and projected commitments, the Building Congress estimates expenditures in this sector to reach $13.8 billion in 2014.

    Of the three main sources of government infrastructure investment in the five boroughs, annual spending at both the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is forecast to remain constant, at about 3.7 billion and $1.8 billion respectively. As such, virtually the entire decline in government spending over the next three years is a result of decreases in the City of New York's spending on infrastructure design and construction.

    Over a period of six consecutive years, starting in 2007, the government sector accounted for at least 50 percent of all New York City construction spending. If the Building Congress midyear forecast holds, however, government construction as a percentage of overall spending will decline to 39 percent in 2013, and 37 percent in 2014.

    "While construction spending by City government appears to be heading down, the private sector is more than making up for it with new housing, office and hotel development in particular," Mr. Anderson added. "The outlook also is being bolstered by anticipated institutional work, led by hospitals and universities."

    Mr. Anderson cautioned, however, that achieving the forecast is dependent upon a continued expansion of the overall economy and the ability of government to secure financing for its ongoing and future capital budgets.

    For more information including charts and to see previous Construction Outlook Updates, visit

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