Nonresidential Building Projects in Planning Index Rises to Highest Level Since Summer 2018

Dodge Momentum Index rose 1.7% in March and is up 11% year-over-year as institutional projects in planning increase.

Dmi March 2021a
Dodge Data & Analytics

The Dodge Momentum Index, a measure of the first report for nonresidential building projects in planning, hit its highest level since the summer of 2018, climbing 1.7% higher in March to 151.4 (2000=100) vs. the revised February reading of 148.8. Year-over-year, the Index was up 11% in March 2021 compared to March 2020, when the construction industry was just beginning to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dodge Data & Analytics, which issues the monthly Index, attributes March’s rise to an increase in institutional projects that entered the planning stage, after a similar gain for the sector in February. While healthcare and lab projects continue to lead institutional planning, March saw a more broad-based selection of project types, including education and recreation buildings. Institutional building construction rose 14.0% from February and 10% in year-over-year comparisons. Commercial construction dipped 3.9% in March due to a slight pullback in warehouse activity, but still saw a 12% increase from March 2020.

Dmi March 2021aDodge Data & AnalyticsThere were 16 projects with a value of $100 million or more that entered planning within March. The leading commercial projects were:

  • a $400 million Facebook Data Center in Springfield, NE
  • and a $350 million warehouse project in Shreveport, LA.

The leading institutional projects were:

  • the $200 million Warhorse Casino in Lincoln, NE
  • and the $163 million Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, CA.

“Based on this data, March may signify that the public side of building construction is beginning to stabilize following the COVID-19 led pressure on state and local budgets and suggests a pickup in construction starts may occur as 2021 progresses,” Dodge Data reports.

The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.

Information provided by Dodge Data & Analytics and edited by Becky Schultz.