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Construction bidding activity is on the rise

May 26, 2021
construction bidding activity on the rise

A little over a year after the global pandemic began, construction bidding has made a triumphant return, not only meeting but exceeding pre-pandemic rates, reports Autodesk in their 2021 construction outlook report.

“Real-time bidding activity surpassed pre-pandemic levels and reached an all-time high in January 2021, based on data aggregated from its BuildingConnected platform,” reports Zachary Phillips for ConstructionDive.

Total bidding activity was up 36% compared to the average over the three months leading up to the pandemic on BuildingConnected, a bid management and pre-construction platform.

Great News for the Construction Industry
This is great news for the construction industry, which witnessed a steep drop off in bids at the start of the pandemic. Rates slowly began to return to normal by later in the year, but it wasn’t until the new year that bids really picked up.

“The rate of new projects added to the Autodesk platform has remained constant throughout the pandemic, the report shows,” notes Phillips, “which could indicate the recent increase in activity is related to project restarts and not new-project bids.”

The report uses anonymous data from Autodesk to look at trends across the construction industry, including growth, health and safety, labor, supply chain and design.

According to Phillips, more than one million individuals in various positions throughout the construction industry turn to BiddingConnected to answer or request bids. The increase in bidding activity seems to indicate that work that was halted or postponed due to the pandemic may be kicking off again.

“Increased levels of bidding activity, paired with the data that project volume has remained consistent, signals the industry is getting back to work — and doing so quickly,” says construction economist Ed Zarenski in the report’s press release.

Other highlights of the report, as summarized by Phillips, include:

  • New Construction Projects: New starts will be up in 2021 but backlog could slide in 2022. New starts this year are forecast to increase 6%, but the starting backlog forecast for 2022 is projected to decrease 5%.
  • Increased Spending on Healthcare and Commercial Retail: Nonresidential construction spending will drop in 2021, but healthcare and commercial retail are projected to rebound in 2022. Autodesk’s report projects nonresidential building spending to decrease by 20% by October compared to February 2020. In 2022, spending on healthcare and commercial/retail is expected to grow by 3% and 6%, respectively.
  • Growth in Residential Projects: Total public spending in 2021 is projected to be $384 billion, up 8.5% from 2020. Growth in the residential sector heavily contributes to the gains expected in total spending in 2021. Starting backlog growth is also expected to pick up next year, particularly for the commercial, healthcare and transportation sectors.

One of the lesser-impacted areas of work, in terms of reduction in dollars spent, is transportation. This may be due to the size of backlogged projects as well as the current presidential administration’s focus on improving national transportation infrastructure. Transportation spending in 2021 is forecast to grow by 10%, according to the report.

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