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Large Construction Projects: Latest Market Statistics and Trends

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Heavy Construction

The heavy construction industry is engaged in large-scale building projects, mainly in infrastructure. Businesses in this industry provide comprehensive construction services including engineering, planning, design, consulting, building and management services for various infrastructure and facility undertakings. Projects range from highways, bridges, mass transit systems, and airports to commercial buildings, power transmission grids, oil and gas exploration sites, and water and wastewater infrastructure. Companies in the industry are also engaged in infrastructure repair and maintenance, as well as in specialized projects such as the building and decommissioning of nuclear plants.

Heavy construction projects are often designed, financed and supervised by general contractors. The clients of heavy construction firms tend to be federal and state governments, private entities and municipalities. The world’s leading heavy construction companies include Bechtel Corporation, ACS Group, VINCI, and China Railway Construction Corporation.

Key Segments

The main types of construction that the heavy industry covers include:

Transportation: Subways, railroads and canal construction, including repair work on existing projects.

Utility system construction: Construction projects that fall under this category include new power plants, conversion of existing power plants from oil and gas to coal, modernization of power plant buildings, unconventional power plant projects.

Sewage and wastewater treatment: Work in this category primarily entails contracts related to water and sewage treatment, such as plant construction and renovation, including filtration and desalinization plants.

This industry is also involved in the construction of furnace construction for industrial plants, kiln construction, missile facilities development, underwater rock removal, construction of industrial baking ovens, and development of chemical complexes and facilities.

Regional Market Shares

The USA and Europe together account for a majority of global infrastructure spending.  However the industry is experiencing a major shift and Asia is projected to lead the world in infrastructure spending in the future.

The USA is one of the largest construction markets with a value of $644 billion. According to the Department of Labor about 15% of this is heavy and civil engineering industry – i.e. worth just under $100 billion. Over the past five years, the industry has experienced growth due to a number of government infrastructure grants and initiatives.

Asia has an increasing emphasis on developing infrastructure and is seeing exponential growth in the heavy construction industry. The construction of airports, dams and hydro-electric projects is being undertaken to sustain high level industrial activities and growing energy demand. In addition to this, key factors such as robust economic development, an increase in investment in heavy construction industry mainly by national and local governments and rapid urbanization are projected to support the growth in the Asian heavy construction market in the forthcoming years.

Europe’s heavy construction industry is currently in a phase of stabilization and following a slow upward trend. Recovery is expected to proceed at a moderate pace. Infrastructure spending remains high, however, in Eastern Europe, and also in Norway, Sweden and Switzerland which adds to the improved industry scenario in this region. Renovation building is likely to have an important effect for the heavy construction sector and will help stabilize the position going forward.

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