In his annual industry outlook, Deron Brown, president and chief operating officer for Denver-based PCL Construction, offers an analysis of the economic and legislative trends poised to have the most significant influence on U.S. construction in 2024.

PCL is a group of independent construction companies that operate throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Australia. As one of the largest contracting organizations in North America, PCL completes more than $6 billion in work annually. Brown is arguably in a good position to gauge the direction of the tradewinds. 

"Over the past year, we saw landmark legislation unlock substantial funding for critical projects aimed at modernizing our nation's airports and enhancing our overall climate resilience," Brown said in the report. "Manufacturers are urgently moving to re-shore operations to circumvent future supply chain disruptions. While a recession seemed all but certain in 2023, the country may have pulled off a 'soft landing' after all – boosting consumer spending and instilling confidence in entertainment developers."

In the report, Brown says these five construction sectors could drive the growth in megaprojects in 2024:

Aviation.jpgAviation

The infusion of $25 billion of federal funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act resulted in a surge in aviation projects in 2023. At the same time, global airport travel is expected to reach 9.4 billion travelers in 2024, finally exceeding pre-pandemic levels. To meet the demand, airports are spending billions to increase their capacity to help guests achieve their destinations efficiently and safely. Airports will continue to invest billions into new terminals and enhancements such as consolidated rental car facilities (CONRAC), while also modernizing their technology and guest experience.

Renewable Energy

Investment in clean infrastructure continues to grow, with energy generated through solar panels, windfarms and other carbon-neutral methods expected to overtake coal-produced power as the world's top source of energy by 2025. Government funding is helping to accelerate the transition – and build the demand for new solar field projects. PCL Construction is at the forefront of this transition, having secured over $1 billion in new solar projects in 2023. It plans to expand its workforce by 25% to meet the growing demand for renewable energy construction over the next year.

Manufacturing

 A new urgency to re-shore operations has resulted in manufacturing construction starts skyrocketing 156% over 2019 levels, according to data analysis from Construction Dive. The $39 billion in manufacturing funding from the CHIPS Act is far from drying up, and – coupled with the Infrastructure and Reinvestment Act – creates a perfect storm of U.S. smart manufacturing investment. With continued green energy investment in solar photovoltaic panel plants, electric vehicles, and battery plants, the U.S. is on track to becoming the global leader in advanced manufacturing in the next 5 to 10 years.

Entertainment and Hospitality

Despite economic uncertainty, Americans have consistently increased their spending on entertainment and travel. As a result, developers are continuing to invest in ambitious entertainment projects, with a new focus on geographic accessibility: Oklahoma and Tennessee will soon host two new amusement parks, serving as a drivable entertainment hub for the surrounding states. As park owners look to build new attractions in 2024, they're keeping capacity front and center, creating a chain reaction across the tourism industry. With theme parks designed to welcome more guests than ever, the demand for the construction of surrounding hotels and restaurants is also growing. 

Sports Arena.jpgSports and Stadium Facilities 

The demand for sports stadiums or renovation projects is growing at a faster rate than even before the pandemic. As teams raise ticket prices to help cover the cost of growing pro-athlete salaries, they're also looking to construct stadiums with state-of-the-art amenities that justify the price of admission. Over the past year, NFL teams announced billions of dollars worth of investment into new stadiums, often securing hundreds of acres to build anchored entertainment districts around the facility. The goal is to turn a few hours at the stadium into a day-long destination for fans. These complex projects will shape the future of entertainment construction in 2024 and beyond.

The continued significant investments into our country's infrastructure and entertainment markets underscore the confidence of the U.S. government and developers in the resilience of the construction industry. As complex megaprojects become the norm in construction, 2024 will provide immense opportunity for contractors.


For more information and to view the full 2024 U.S. Construction Outlook, visit PCL.com.