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Weekly Briefing: July 10-14, 2023

Week of July 10, 2023

Non-Residential Construction Spending Decreased in May, First Time in Nearly a Year

  • A decline in May ended an 11-month streak of continuous increases in non-residential construction spending in the U.S.

  • National non-residential construction spending decreased 0.2% in May, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data published by the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • Spending declined monthly in 9 of the 16 non-residential subcategories. Private non-residential spending fell 0.3%, while public non-residential construction spending increased 0.1% in May.

  • While spending is up more than 17% over that span, manufacturing-related construction has accounted for a majority of that increase. Excluding the manufacturing segment, non-residential construction spending is barely outpacing inflation, up just 6% over the past year


Rising Increases in Compensation are Set to Remain in 2023 and 2024 for Construction Staff

  • Compensation hikes for construction staff have been at a historically high pace, with average base salary increases surpassing 5% for the first time since 2000.

  • Despite predictions of a 4.2% increase, compensation in the construction industry has risen rapidly, reaching an average of 5.5% for companies that completed their 2023 pay increases.

  • The upward trend in compensation is expected to continue in 2023, with an average increase predicted to be around 5.3%.

  • Higher compensation is driven by employers' efforts to retain talent in a market with higher turnover rates, where candidates expect significant salary increases of 10% to 15% to switch companies. Loyalty and tenure in the industry have decreased, with shorter job durations and a focus on short-term opportunities.


Fireproof Fungus Offers Sustainable Alternative to Cladding: A Thermal Insulation Material

  • Researchers at RMIT University have developed fireproof panels made of mycelium, a fungal material that can be grown from organic waste and manipulated to enhance its fire-retardant properties.

  • The panels, created using a novel method that preserves the mycelium's filament network, have the potential to be used as bio-derived, environmentally friendly cladding for buildings.

  • Mycelium forms a thermal protective layer when exposed to fire or radiant heat, making it an effective fireproof material with potential applications in preventing tragedies like the Grenfell Tower blaze.

  • Unlike composite cladding panels that contain plastics and release toxic fumes when burned, mycelium-based cladding produces water and carbon dioxide, posing no harm to the environment. Further research aims to reinforce fungal mats with engineering fibers to improve fire safety.

July 10, 2023

MSA Professional Services, Inc. (MSA), a Minnesota-based full-service engineering consulting firm, has acquired Fredericksen Engineering, Inc. (Fredericksen), a Wisconsin-based provider of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) engineering design. The acquisition of Fredericksen will strengthen MSA’s MEP offerings and allow the firm to provide more full-service building systems support to clients. Fredericksen employees will join MSA’s multidisciplinary team of over 400 employee owners based in 17 offices across Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin — including Fredericksen’s current Mequon location, a suburb of Milwaukee. Having worked together for years on hundreds of projects, the merge was a natural fit for both companies.


July 11, 2023

Universal Engineering Sciences (UES),a Florida-based engineering and consulting company, has acquired GEO Solutions, an Alabama-based full-service geotechnical engineering, environmental consulting, and materials testing company. GEO Solutions joins Contour Engineering, GEOServices, Dan Brown and Associates, and Carmichael Engineering in the Southeast Region of UES, led by David Hesterlee, P.E., President of the Southeast Region. William Kennard, P.E., Partner and Chief Engineer of GEO Solutions, said: “GEO Solutions can continue to stand out from other consulting firms in the area with access to more personnel, more equipment, and more capabilities. Working in UES and UES’ Southeast Region allows GEO Solutions to continue performing at the highest levels, meeting our clients’ needs and objectives.”


July 12, 2023

SOCOTEC, Inc. (SOCOTEC), a France-based provider of TIC (Testing, Inspection, and Certification), consulting, and advisory services, has acquired DSS Condo, LLC (DSS Condo), a Florida-based owners' representative and advisory firm providing construction management and project management services. This partnership expands SOCOTEC USA’s Advisory practice in both service offering and geographic reach, while also providing additional scale to their existing technical team in Florida. The collective team provides a compelling value proposition to their clients by leveraging SOCOTEC's existing technical expertise in existing buildings with DSS Condo's profound experience in managing complex construction projects.


July 13, 2023

Verdantas LLC (Verdantas), an Ohio-based environmental, engineering, and technical consulting company backed by RTC Partners, has acquired Clemson Engineering Hydraulics, Inc. (CEH), a South Carolina-based engineering consulting firm. The acquisition will expand Verdantas’ market and geographic footprint and will also add to the company's depth and capabilities in the water resources and hydraulic engineering space. CEH’s expertise in physical hydraulic modelling and water resources engineering will be valuable to Verdantas’ team, as it will help grow Verdantas’ business and further capitalize on the opportunities in this market as a specialty provider.

EFCG is partnering with Savills North America, a leading real estate advisory firm, to conduct their bi-annual AEC Corporate Real Estate Occupancy Metrics and Trends Survey. The survey includes questions related to occupancy, space utilization, and space design trends as well as how space is used as a tool for recruiting and retention of employees helps Savills’ AEC Practice Group support AEC clients through navigating business cycles with tailored real estate solutions. Survey respondents will receive the completed report. You can take the survey using the below link:


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