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Global Specialty Contractor Industry Analysis


The world construction industry expanded over 30% between 2010 and 2015 to reach over $3 trillion, according to MarketLine.


Selected by general contractors and architects, specialty contractors play a central role in the design and construction of structures. Certain specialty contractors make a fundamental contribution to projects, for example a structural steel specialty contractor can build the frame of an entity. Often projects require several specialty contractors whose roles may sometimes overlap, for example, a steel fabricator may fulfill a role of engineering design, or an architect may opt to work with both a structural engineer and a steel fabricator who then work together.



Construction encompasses a range of activities from site preparation, building new structures, and altering, maintaining and repairing existing structures. Various types of outfits are involved in the industry including general contractors, subcontractors and specialty trade contractors who carry out specific practices such as electrical work and plumbing. General construction refers to structures such as buildings, while heavy and civil engineering construction refers to the building of larger infrastructures like tunnels, sewers and bridges.


Key Segments


  • The US electrical contracting industry generates more than $130 billion yearly and is comprised of more than 70,000 electrical contracting outfits with more than 650,000 employees combined, reports the National Electrical Contractors Association.


  • The world market for roofing and insulation is expected to reach $105 billion by 2015, according to Global Industry Analysts. The market is being fuelled by the global economic rebound and a consequent rise in demand for new construction in the residential and non-residential sectors. Demand will be particularly strong in emerging regions such as Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Insulation alone is expected to see 5% yearly expansion through 2014, according to Freedonia, to reach almost 23 billion square meters of R-1 value. Residential construction in the US will push insulation market growth to a double-digit rate through 2014. Demand in Western Europe will rise at a far more rapid rate than in the five-year period ending 2009.


  • The global demand for asphalt is predicted to rise at a yearly rate of 2% through 2013, according to Freedonia, to over 105 million metric tons. A rebound in the US construction industry and increased demand in developing markets will fuel market growth. Lower levels of construction in Eastern and Western Europe, Africa-Mideast and Latin America will decelerate asphalt demand gains. Over 80% of asphalt is used to make asphalt cement and paving materials.


  • The world commercial glazing market is expected to reach a value of almost $105 billion by 2015, reports Global Industry Analysts. Lower construction costs and state-imposed standards concerning energy efficiency through double and triple glazing are among the driving factors for this market segment. Strong growth in construction in Asia-Pacific, especially in India and China, will also fuel growth.


  • According to Freedonia, US demand for siding is predicted to expand at a rate of 6.5% yearly through 2014 to almost $11.5 billion, or nearly 201 million squares. The most dynamic siding segments will be cement, fiber and brick siding.


  • The global wood flooring market is expected to reach almost 9 billion square feet by 2015, according to Global Industry Analysts. Market growth is predicted to take off again as the economic downturn eases.


  • The world ceramic tile market is expected to reach almost 93 billion square feet by 2015, according to Global Industry Analysts. The global ceramic tiles market is concentrated in the EU and Asia-Pacific, which represent over 80% of the overall market.



US Single -Family Construction Cost Breakdown History


  2007 2009 2011
Building permit fees 1,7% 1,9% 1,7%
Impact Fee 1,4% 1,4% 1,5%
Water and sewer inspection 1,6% 1,7% 1,6%
Excavation, Foundation and Backfill 7% 7,1% 9,3%
Steel 0,8% 0,7% 0,5%
Framing and trusses 15,8% 15,6% 13,5%
Sheathing 1,6% 1,7% 1,2%
Windows 2,9% 2,8% 3,3%
Exterior doors 0,9% 0,9% 1,2%
Interior doors and hardware 1,5% 1,5% 1,6%
Stairs 0,8% 0,8% 0,6%
Roof Shingles 3,2% 3,8% 2,9%
Siding 5,7% 5,8% 4,7%
Gutters and downspouts 0,4% 0,4% 0,5%
Plumbing 5,4% 5,3% 6%
Electrical wiring 3,9% 3,7% 4,4%
Lighting fixtures 1% 1,1% 1,2%
HVAC 3,9% 4% 4,8%
Insulation 1,6% 1,5% 1,8%
Drywall 5,1% 5,1% 4,4%
Painting 3,4% 3,4% 3,3%
Cabinets and countertops 5,7% 5,6% 5,6%
Appliances 1,7% 1,6% 2%
Tiles and carpet 5% 5,1% 4,5%
Trim material 3,1% 3,3% 2%
Landscaping and sodding 2,8% 3,2% 3,5%
Wood deck and patio 0,7% 0,9% 1%
Asphalt driveway 1,4% 1,4% 1,5%
Other 9,7% 8,6% 10,6%
Total ($) 219,015 222,511 184,125


Source: NAHB Construction Cost Survey, 2007-2011



Market Outlook


As the economic recession subsides, the contracting sector will see business pick up. The building and construction industry was hit hard by the global financial crisis but economic recovery will pave the way back to healthy market growth. Market expansion will be across the board with asphalt demand fuelled by repair activity across all regions and increased roofing activity as the construction industry rebounds.


Environmentally conscious consumers and government legislation will see a move toward more energy efficient buildings. This will boost commercial glazing and insulation markets alike. Growing demand for electrical appliances, such as fridges and freezers, will also fuel demand for insulation.



Leading Industry Associations




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