Construction Industry: Stronger than the Rest

The BOSS Survey of 447 local business owners and executives statewide compares the construction industry to other local sectors. Fourth of 5 parts this week.
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Illustration: Getty Images

As part of Hawaii Business Magazine’s BOSS Survey, the research division of Anthology Marketing Group conducted a survey within a survey of the construction industry. Out of 447 total companies surveyed, 102 said they generated a majority of their revenue from the construction industry.

On all three key measures – revenue, profit before taxes and employment – the construction industry did better over the past year than the overall combination of all other local businesses surveyed.

  • A lower percentage of construction companies reported a decline on each measure: revenue, profit and employment.
  • A higher percentage of construction companies reported an increase in each measure.

When these results are combined into the BOSS Performance Index, the construction industry scored 94. All other companies registered 87 in the Performance Index.

However, the construction industry is much weaker than in our last survey of the industry, conducted in April 2019. Back then, the Performance Index ranked the construction industry at 122.

Here are the results of the latest BOSS Survey on those three key measures.

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The remaining companies said these measures remained about the same or they did not know.

Public vs. Private Projects

Owners and executives in the construction industry were asked to describe their revenue stream and mix of projects over the past year: What percentages were public and private projects? Here is the aggregate of those percentages.

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The Honolulu rail project, the percentage of government construction projects is lower than at any time in two decades of BOSS Surveys.

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Two-Year Projection for Projects

Those surveyed were asked what their expectations were for their companies’ private sector projects and government projects over the next two years.

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The survey respondents were then asked for predictions for the overall construction industry over the coming two years.

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The remaining respondents said activity and spending would remain about the same in a sector or said they did not know.

Project Backlog

Backlogs are one indicator of how busy a construction company is. Construction industry representatives were asked about their backlog of projects, if any, over the course of the last year. We compared the results to the April 2019 survey of the construction industry.

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*didn’t know or didn’t answer

Permitting Process

Respondents were asked if the permitting process in the counties where they operate has improved, stayed the same or worsened in the last few years.

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Twice as many companies said the process had gotten worse as said it had improved.

Construction Costs

Construction industry owners and executives were asked if their costs rose over the last two years or declined. Almost everyone said their costs were up, continuing a long-term trend; no one said their costs were down.

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Next, construction companies that indicated their costs have increased over the past two years were asked to estimate by how much.

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Reports from the BOSS Spring 2021 Survey:

Methodology: How the BOSS Survey and 808 Poll were conducted 

Part 1: Half of Local Businesses: “Bruised but on Track”

Part 2: Hawaiʻi Businesses Optimistic About Next 12 Months

Part 3: Companies Remain Weak on Revenue, Profit and Employment

Categories: BOSS Survey, Business & Industry, Community & Economy, Construction