Engineering CEOs see strength in spending
The third-quarter Engineering Business Index Survey is bullish on construction spending.
The American Council of Engineering Companies 3rd quarter survey of engineering firm CEO confidence indicates continued optimism for the strength of the architecture/engineering/const
The good news also comes with some caution based on uncertainties over whether the economy can sustain this growth and whether the pipeline of engineering talent will be sufficient to fuel demand into the future.
CEOs report a much-improved economy as compared to twelve months ago, including a larger backlog of business and strong profitability expectations over the next six months, twelve months and three years. The Engineering Business Index survey, which is carried out quarterly for ACEC by FMI Corporation, also highlights strong public sector markets – notably water and wastewater – as well as growth in most private market sectors, particularly health care and industrial/manufacturing.
“America’s engineering companies are busy right now, which is good news for the economy,” said ACEC President and CEO Linda Bauer Darr. “But market watchers and policymakers need to take notice of the undercurrent of concern within these strong numbers. In the near-term, is this growth run sustainable, and looking out over long-term, will we have sufficient numbers of engineers to support the key market sectors that are critical to a healthy economy?”
[View the latest EBI report here www.acec.org]
NAHB: The nation has an affordable housing crisis
About 73% of NAHB survey respondents say there is an affordable housing problem.
Nearly 3 out of 4 American households said that the nation is suffering a housing affordability crisis, and a majority of respondents reported this is a problem at their local and state level as well, according to a new nationwide survey conducted on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
“These poll results confirm what builders from across the nation have been warning about—that housing affordability is an increasingly serious problem in communities across America,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “A mix of regulatory barriers, ill-considered public policy and challenging market conditions is driving up costs and making it increasingly difficult for builders to produce homes that are affordable to low- and moderate-income families.”
More than 2,200 adults were surveyed Nov. 27 through Nov. 30 to assess the public’s attitude on whether a lack of affordable housing is a problem in their neighborhoods, cities, states and nationwide. The poll cut across partisan, regional, demographic and socio-economic lines. Among its key findings:
According to survey results, 73% of all respondents believe that a lack of affordable housing is a problem in the U.S. and 68% believe this is an issue in their state. About 54% also cited housing affordability as a concern in their neighborhood.
Approximately 58% percent said that if they decided to purchase a home in the near future, they would have trouble finding a home they could afford in their city or county.
Breaking down by community types, 68% reported a dearth of affordable housing as a problem in urban communities, 64% said it was an issue in middle-class neighborhoods, and 56% cited a problem in rural areas.
In terms of strategies to improve the lack of affordable housing, 55% believe it would be effective for their city or county to lower development and construction fees builders must pay so that more affordable units can be built and 53% believe it would be effective to increase government subsidies to builders to produce more affordable units.
The poll is also consistent with the latest findings from NAHB’s Housing Trends Report for the third quarter of 2018, which finds that 79% of buyers say they can afford to purchase fewer than half of the homes available in their local markets.
Nearly a third of America’s 119 million households are cost burdened and pay more than 30% of their income for housing, according to NAHB analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. That number includes almost half of the nation’s renter households and a quarter of the owner households.
Regulatory requirements alone account for about 25% of the cost of constructing a single-family home and roughly 30% of the cost of a multifamily unit, the NAHB said. And every day, builders grapple with increasing construction material costs, a shortage of skilled workers and a dwindling supply of developed lots. Restrictive policies that limit or even prohibit various types of homes and make large areas off-limits to new construction contribute significantly to the problem.
“Housing is vital to the economic health of our nation,” said Noel. “This poll should serve as a wake-up call to policymakers at all levels of government to ease regulatory burdens that needlessly drive up the cost of housing and to enact policies that will encourage the production of badly-needed affordable housing units.”
The survey was conducted by Morning Consult and has a margin of error of about 2%, the NAHB said.
84 Lumber collects holiday cheer for children
The pro dealer stuffs a bus and more while supporting Toys for Tots.
84 Lumber enhanced its efforts this holiday season while collecting toys for children in need.
For the third-straight year, the building materials supplier was a sponsor of the annual Stuff-A-Bus campaign in Pittsburgh, hosted by iHeartMedia’s 96.1 KISS. The initiative attempts to stuff as many school buses as possible with donations for the Marine Toys for Tots program.
The company also held successful toy drives at its Pittsburgh-area locations to support the campaign.
At 84 Lumber’s headquarters in Eighty Four, Pa., associates — as well as the public — were encouraged to donate enough toys to fill the company’s 160-square-foot “Degsy” tiny house. Dubbed “Stuff the Degsy,” the event collected nearly 200 toys ranging from bikes to board games.
84 Lumber’s Pittsburgh-area stores also held separate toy drives and collected almost 400 additional toys. The company’s total contributions were enough to fill an entire bus.
“We were overwhelmed by the response our toy drives received this year,” said Amy Smiley, vice president of marketing at 84 Lumber. “We were able to think of some unique ways to encourage more participation and get people excited about donating. We’re honored to play a small role in making the holidays a little brighter for children in need.”
This year marked the 15th Stuff-A-Bus campaign for 96.1 KISS. A record 60 buses were filled from Nov. 26–30, surpassing last year’s record of 59 buses.