Read this if you want to understand which countries possess the greatest potential as overseas markets during the next decade.you want to know more about the impact of macro economic trends on construction investment. The last few years of the 20th century have seen sharply varying fortunes for those involved in the world's £2.3 trillion global construction market. The lucky firms, claims US economist Standard & Poor's DRI/FW Dodge, were focused on the North American market - and its annual 8.6% growth rate - the unlucky ones were not.
But, in the words of America's greatest living poet, the times they are achangin. The US market is set to slow significantly and the greatest opportunities for the next decade are likely to come elsewhere, with the Asian Tigers roaring back and the major southern European states turning into the continent's biggest building site.
S&P global market planning principal Chris Holling is in no doubt that the world's construction industry is facing a watershed.
'For a while now, many global construction firms have relied on a handful of mature, low-risk markets for much of their business. But the numbers tell us that the next five years will be very different. The successful construction companies will be those that take advantage of promising markets that may not have been on their radar screen a few years ago.'
Global construction spending is set to average a 5.1% increase over each of the next five years, with civil engineering leading the way.
Growth in the civils sector is forecast to average 6.1%. The reason for this is two fold. Many developing countries are expected to shrug off the economic fears of the last few years and grow strongly. To do so they will need to put in new infrastructure and upgrade what already exists.
The other reason for civils growth is the massive hike in US transportation investment inspired by the TEA-21 legislation which has authorised £30bn a year spending on highway construction and repair over the next six years ( NCE 2 September). Ironically it is the only construction sector in the US with any long forecast term growth - but more of that later.
Globally, non-residential building is set to grow by 5.1%, with the European market this time joining developing countries to boost demand. Housing construction is expected to rise by 4.4%.