Command Alkon, IT partners: Heavy civil work looks better than commercial

Sources: Dodge Data & Analytics, New York; Command Alkon, Birmingham, Ala.; CP staff

A Dodge Data & Analytics survey conducted with support from Command Alkon and three other technology partners finds that heavy civil contractors, despite Covid-19 staff and project impacts, are generally optimistic about business conditions through 2021. The sentiments of 99 heavy civil practitioners surveyed from mid-April to mid-May contrast with more cautious views commercial contractors expressed in companion Dodge research. 

Of the heavy civil contractors responding to the latest Dodge Data survey, 56 percent have a high level of confidence about the market’s ability to provide new business opportunities for the next 12 months, increasing to 63 percent for a two-year outlook. Contractors in nonbuilding segments appear to be satisfied with their present backlog level; calculated at 92, it reflects an average months reported to average ideal backlog ratio. Commercial contractors responding to a tandem Dodge market outlook survey had a ratio of average current to ideal backlog of 73.

The heavy civil market research reveals two areas of concern over the next six to 12 months: 38 percent of contractors expect profit margins to decrease versus 29 percent expecting increases; and, 60 percent of survey respondents cite a high level of difficulty finding skilled workers and 53 percent expect the cost of skilled workers to climb. The latter factor compels 43 percent of heavy civil contractors surveyed to see challenges meeting project budgets. 

The survey anchors Dodge Data’s premier edition of The Civil Quarterly, with partners Command Alkon plus Digital Construction Works, a technology integrating venture of Bentley Systems and Topcon Positioning Systems; Info Tech Inc., a Gainesville, Fla. specialist in technology tools for infrastructure professionals and agencies; and, surveying giant Leica Geosystems, Norcross, Ga. Based on original research, the periodical provides a snapshot of the current business health of contractors and engineers operating in a dynamic environment. The inaugural TCQ explores how technology is transforming civil jobsites and the prevalence of key safety practices. Findings behind research show what authors see as an industry adjusting well to the impacts of the global pandemic, yet cautious about the bottom line.

Dodge Data & Analytics is providing the publication to the industry free of charge, the premier edition posted here.

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