Let’s Get to Work

2011-chuck-02112011 should be a much better year for systems integrators based on the construction forecasts I’ve seen recently. First, the McGraw-Hill construction market forecast shows a positive picture for the fist time in several years. Overall, we can focus on one big number: new construction starts nationwide are projected to be up 8 percent. The full report that breaks down each sector and geographic profile will be unveiled at NSCA’s Business & Leadership Conference in two weeks.

According to KPMG’s annual Global Construction Survey, the global engineering and construction industry is broadly upbeat on next year’s prospects. Adding to that, the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. economists said, “The bottom line is the non-residential construction recession is largely over, but 2011 will be associated with grudgingly slow progress.” I believe this is the case as well. We should see a slow and steady increase as projects re-emerge and new funding from the private sector becomes available.

Government spending has been keeping our industry busy the last two years and that should continue as most projects are still underway and others have just finished the design phase. The positive news is that the increase in private construction spending will be in addition to that work


Tagging on to Gary Kayye’s predictions for 2011, the green construction numbers will quickly rise and represent 50 percent of all construction by 2015. This is absolutely something to be aware of and stay involved with. This year, the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED specification is mentioned in 71 percent of all projects valued at more than $50 million.

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Another interesting number is commercial retail and office space. That sector has been pummeled for three years now and, finally, 2011 shows a nice upswing. I’m predicting good things for our members in 2011 and I have some pretty good information that backs that up. But remember, slow and steady – that wins the race anyway, right?



Chuck Wilson is the executive director of the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA), a not-for-profit association representing the commercial electronic systems industry. At the helm of NSCA, much of Wilson’s time is spent assisting contractors with the challenges of today’s business environment. He often gives lectures and presentations at key industry events, and has been published in numerous leading trade journals.