In July, we learned that 85 airports across the U.S. are about to undergo some significant upgrades as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) released $1 billion worth of funds to improve airport terminals. This is the first round of grants in a five-year program and the government reported receiving 658 applications across 532 airports, which suggests this is a very competitive program.

Despite the many obstacles post COVID-19, some smart cities have made progress in becoming more sustainable and equitable by increasing investments in cycling and electric vehicle infrastructure, piloting free public transportation, and working to close the digital divide. What efforts has your community adopted to become more smart?

With the word 'recession' floating around it's difficult to stop checking your investments; however, the construction market is steadily filling positions and the capital improvement projects are abundant, so why worry right? Don't be so sure...


In the News: Modernizing Our Nation’s Airports

North Carolina’s International Airport (CLT) is ranked among the top 10 busiest airports in the world. In this case study, CLT wrestles with a high demand for air travel and the need for facility, infrastructure upgrades and improved workflows.

Funding released from the Airport Terminal Program, one of three aviation programs created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides $1 billion annually for five years for Airport Terminal grants.

Check out the First-Year Airport Infrastructure Grant Funding Amounts map on the Federal Aviation Administration webpage that shows the funds available for each airport and projects underway.

Additionally, other organizations have released their own infrastructure act trackers. Visit the links below for more information.

KEY TAKEAWAY: If your organization is hoping to implement ARPA funds for an infrastructure project, you must allocate the funds by the end of 2024 and complete projects by the end of 2026.

Smart Construction for Smart Cities

When you think of smart cities you generally expect features like accessible IoT, resilient public utilities, sustainable construction, public transit with reduced carbon emissions, just to name a few.

Despite the many obstacles post-COVID19, some smart cities have made progress in becoming more sustainable and equitable by increasing investments in:

  • Cycling and electric vehicle infrastructure
  • Piloting free public transportation
  • Working to close the digital divide

As the population in cities increases, so will the need for connected infrastructure. Over the next 5-10 years, local governments say they will continue to focus on the initiatives listed above, in addition to prioritizing:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Infrastructure
  • Climate resiliency

Demand for smart cities is growing, and it's all but guaranteed to drive change for the construction industry. In fact, some construction companies are already adopting collaborative, data-driven approaches that could potentially become a standard throughout the industry.

KEY TAKEAWAY: It's just a matter of time. The trend towards smart cities will coincide with changes in the construction industry.

Fun Fact: Smart sensors typically contain microprocessors that perform basic data processing, such as edge computing that is then shared with a central data repository located for analysis.

Recession—To Be, or Not to Be, That is the Question

This session is great for project managers and finance managers alike. Kip Edwards of Luster National and Bill Smith of Banner Health discuss how to get better forecasting for construction project costs.

Recession—to be or not to be, that is the question on everyone's mind—or at least the fiscally focused.

Recession is defined as "a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters." -Oxford Languages

And while yes, the U.S. has just experienced two consecutive GDP dips, both unemployment data and materials prices suggests the economy has not yet succumbed to a recession, according to ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. The employment rate is at 3.6%, roughly the rate pre-pandemic, and the Producer Price Index for material inputs to construction is currently up to 20.1% as of June 2022.

Sebastian Obando/Construction Dive, data courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

So that must mean we're out of the woods right? Not exactly.

Economists claim that due to inflation and economic activity that is expected to further cool towards the end of the year, it is highly likely that the U.S. economy will fall into recession before year end or in early 2023.

KEY TAKEAWAY:  Experts argue that interpreting signs and stats to determine the likelihood of a recession is not an exact science, so exercising cost management and budget forecasting as you navigate CIP and infrastructure-related projects may provide some much needed buffers this year and into next.

The Ultimate Guide to Construction Cost Management

The construction industry is prone to changes and contingencies that can lead to overspending and waste. This can be crippling for a private business and career-killing for public officials who manage projects with taxpayer dollars.

Managing construction costs isn't just about having the funding and spending it on the right things. It’s also about having the proper cash flow to meet expenses when they arise. There are many places where money is spent, and there are many opportunities for costs to get out of control—especially in our economy today.

Download The Ultimate Guide to Construction Cost Management