Big things are afoot in California. Construction activity is vigorous, and owners throughout the state are giving green lights to more projects. The San Francisco area, in particular, is in the midst of a two-year-old boom. And development in downtown Los Angeles is heating up, with several projects coming out of the ground and many more in the pipeline.
Though there is much to celebrate, it's not all good news for the state. A major drought has settled over California and is expected to worsen throughout the year. Public projects such as high-speed rail and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan each face hurdles.
Despite the roadblocks, the construction industry is expected to chug ahead during 2014. McGraw Hill Analytics forecasts a 10% increase in construction starts in the West, and the Associated General Contractors of America reports that construction employment jumped 5.2% in California last year.
Here are the five trends most likely to impact California's construction industry in the year to come.
Nearly the entire state of California is under a drought warning, with no end in sight
After two years of drought followed by a lack of rain and snow in January, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) declared a state of emergency. In his State of the State address on Jan. 22, Brown called for water conservation, expanded storage facilities, groundwater management and investments in safe drinking water systems.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, almost the entire state is experiencing moderate to severe drought, with snow packs in the Sierra Nevada mountain range at their lowest levels in more than 50 years. In the Bakersfield area, there are exceptional drought levels. On Jan. 28, the state's Dept. of Public Health identified and offered assistance to 17 rural community water systems in danger of running completely dry.