The Good News
Pg 4 - The Sunshine Express
2012 February
efficiency of existng staff and allows firms to do
Colorado Water 2012 (continued)
more with fewer people."
Kirk noted that 55 percent of firms report they plan
~ Motivate Coloradans to become proactive
to invest in their information technology depart-
participants in Colorado's water future.
ments in 2012. He added, however, that compa-
The year 2012 is a milestone for water in our
nies looking to invest in replacing older software
state. It's the 75th anniversary of the legisla-
are looking at ways to avoid large-scale up front
tion which created many of the organizations
investments. For example, while only 9 percent of
that built the foundation for the management
firms reported plans to purchase new software,
of Colorado's water resources including the
one-third of firms report they would consider leas-
Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colo-
ing or financing new software. Interest in Cloud-
rado River Water Conservation District, and
based computing appears to be growing among
construction firms, Kirk noted.
the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy
The outlook, which the association co-sponsored
District. In addition, the Rio Grande Reservoir
with Computer Guidance, was based on survey
celebrates its 100th, the Southeastern Colorado
results from over 1,300 construction firms from 50
Water Conservancy District celebrates the 50th
states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
anniversary of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project
Contractors from every segment of the industry an-
and the Colorado Foundation for Water Edu-
swered over 30 questions about their hiring, equip-
cation will be turning ten.
ment purchasing and business plans. Economists
Colorado Water 2012 started as an idea around
and specialists from the association and Computer
celebrating these anniversaries. It has since
Guidance analyzed those comments to craft the
grown into an unprecedented statewide cel-
expect the market for new public buildings to
ebration of water, its uses, and its value. By
Energy Forum & Expo
shrink, 41 percent expect the market for K-12
celebrating these anniversaries collectively we
school construction to shrink and 40 percent expect
hope to increase awareness about the impor-
Energy usage, demand and source develop-
the highway market to contract.
tance of Colorado's water resources.
ment will be the defining issue of this century.
In addition, many contractors report they continue
The Colorado Foundation for Water Education
Western Colorado has an abundance of tra-
to be impacted by tight credit conditions. Nearly
(CFWE) is spearheading this exciting initia-
ditional, renewable and sustainable energy
half - 49 percent - of responding firms report
tive in collaboration with nearly 200 diverse
resources and will continue to play a major
that tighter lending conditions have forced their
partners across the state. Partners represent
role in the energy solutions for our century.
customers to delay or cancel construction projects.
state and local governments, state and federal
Perhaps related to the tough credit environment, 60
JOIN US for the Seventh Annual Energy
agencies, water providers, non-profits, artists,
percent of firms expect demand for green construc-
Forum & Expo in Grand Junction, for a stimu-
tion projects to either stagnate or decline in 2012.
residents, museums, libraries, universities,
lating educational look at the energy industry
"There are definitely some conflicting trends when
educators and others! Every person, organi-
today, tomorrow and in the future. Fri, Feb.
it comes to contractors' expectations for 2012," said
zation and community is invited to join the
24, Forum: 9a-3:30p, Expo: 8a-4p at the Two
Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist.
Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main Street,
"The construction industry will improve this year
Grand Junction.
but we are going to have to wait until at least 2013
National Energy Strategies for Colorado may
Adapting & Poised For Recovery
before contractors experience the kind of recovery
this industry needs."
- Movement beyond extraction into the devel-
Simonson added that contractors appear cautious
with their plans for acquiring new construction
opment of new fields and technology
equipment. Many more firms report plans to lease,
- Formation of community-wide strategy
instead of purchase, new equipment. Only 40
toward incentives for sustainable and environ-
percent of firms report they plan to buy new equip-
Significantly fewer construction firms are planning
mentally friendly industry presence
ment this year, while 66 percent plan to lease. Even
to make layoffs in 2012 than at any point in the
- Creation of public research and development
as they shift toward more leasing, firms' appetite
past few years according to survey results released
facilities in Western Colorado as ir relates to
for new equipment remains modest, with 57 per-
January 23, by the Associated General Contractors
new energy uses & resources
cent saying they will buy $250,000 or less in equip-
of America and Computer Guidance Corporation.
- Growth of existing private businesses
ment and 70 percent saying they will lease $250,000
The survey, conducted as part of the 2012 Con-
- Movement beyond extraction into the devel-
struction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook,
or less worth of equipment this year.
opment of new fields and technology
shows many firms expect key private sector market
Contractors also report being caught between
segments to expand this year even as the overall
stagnant bid levels and rising materials prices.
- Full utilization of existing facilities and labo-
outlook remains mixed.
Eighty-six percent of firms report they expect their
ratories already in the region
"While there are some promising signs, especially
materials prices to increase in 2012, even as 80
- Greater integration of educational resources
when it comes to construction employment, the
percent say they expect bid levels to stagnate or
to meet the labor needs of the industry
outlook for the industry is mixed," said Stephen E.
decline this year. Adding to the cost squeeze, 81
- More effective use of existing grants and
Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer.
percent reported their health care costs went up in
"More than four years after demand for com-
2011 and 82 percent expect their health care costs to
- Establishment of a new development para-
mercial construction began to plummet, economic
increase in 2012.
digm that is not susceptible to heavy fluc-
conditions remain difficult."
A growing number of firms appear to be focused
tuations in the business cycle, focusing on
Sandherr noted that far fewer firms are planning
on increasing efficiency and reducing costs by tak-
breadth of services and sustainability .
on making layoffs this year, only 9 percent in 2012
ing advantage of Building Information Modeling
compared with 37 percent last year and 55 percent
services, also known as BIM, association officials
Contact: 970.216.8657 for more information.
in 2010. He added that 32 percent of firms report
noted. Thirty-one
they plan to add new staff in 2012. Even more
percent of firms report
positive, half of those firms report plans to add 6 or
they currently use the
more new employees during the next 12 months.
technology, up from
Among the 29 states with large enough survey
just 8 percent from last
sample sizes, 57 percent of firms in Wisconsin plan
year. And 47 percent
to hire new staff this year, more than in any other
report they expect the
state. Only 16 percent of firms in Virginia plan to
use of BIM to increase
add staff this year, the least amount in any state.
in 2012.
Meanwhile, 18 percent of firms in Missouri plan
"As a result of the tight
layoffs for this year, the highest percentage of any
market conditions,
state. No firms working in South Carolina reported
firms are trying to find
plans to make layoffs this year.
the best way to lever-
A majority of firms expect the dollar volume of
age their investments
projects they compete for to either grow or remain
in new information
stable in every market segment. In particular,
technology," said
roughly three-fourths of contractors expect the
Roger Kirk, Computer
power and the hospital and higher education mar-
Guidance's president
kets to expand or remain stable this year. In con-
and CEO. "Contractors
trast, contractors working on a number of market
are looking for soft-
segments typically funded by the public sector are
ware and technology
more pessimistic. Forty-four percent of contractors
that increases the