Construction planning falls for fourth straight month

Dive Brief:

  • The Dodge Momentum Index, a benchmark that measures nonresidential building planning, dipped another 2.5% in June due to a deceleration in institutional planning, according to the Dodge Construction Network.
  • While there were positives in the commercial sector, which rose 3.1% on the back of data center and hotel projects, the institutional segment plunged 10.5% in June as education and healthcare activity stalled, according to Dodge. Compared to last year, however, the commercial and institutional segments were 17% and 39% higher, respectively, though how long that momentum will continue is still unclear. 
  • “Project activity in [the institutional] segment pulled back but continued to dwarf year-ago levels,” said Sarah Martin, associate director of forecasting for Dodge Construction Network. “In contrast, growth in the commercial segment may be fleeting, as the continued elevation in interest rates and increasingly tight lending standards weigh down the sector in the latter half of the year.

Dive Insight:

The index, which peaked in December 2022 and typically leads actual construction spending by 12 months, fell for the fourth straight month. It followed a larger 6.1% decline in May

Meanwhile, architectural activity, which also provides a forward-looking gauge for upcoming construction work, was mixed. The Architectural Billings Index rose back into positive territory in its most recent report. But billings dropped for the ninth consecutive month at firms with a commercial specialization, according to the American Institute of Architects, providing more evidence that commercial activity is waning.


A total of 22 projects valued at $100 million or more entered planning in June, according to Dodge. The largest commercial projects to enter planning included:

  • The $335 million Queensbridge Collective Office Tower in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • The $280 million Old School Potomac Church Data Center in Stafford, Virginia.

The largest institutional projects to enter the planning stages included:

  • The $710 million Medford Life Science Park in Medford, Massachusetts.
  • The $157 million Center of Innovation building in Emeryville, California.

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