On this episode of The Construction Record Podcast, digital media editor Warren Frey speaks with ConstructConnect senior economist Michael Guckes about his work with a new Project Stress Index tool, the current federal deadlock and its effect on the wider economy and the somewhat muddled state of office to residential conversions.
Guckes gave a fulsome look at some of the trends he’s seeing via the Project Stress Index, and explained the methodologies behind the numbers the index draws from and how it can help firms understand the dynamic tension between starts and current economic conditions.
Guckes also went into detail as to how the recent disruption in the U.S. Congress slows down the larger economy and explained how the U.S. government is a vital part of many economic sectors in particular the construction industry which is tied to many federal infrastructure projects and other large-scale builds. Furthermore, a shifting interest rate landscape makes governmental instability tougher to weather economically, regardless of which party is in power.
He also explained how while there is continued interest in converting vacant offices into residential stock, the current and future spread in starts and completes indicates that multi-unit starts have fallen dramatically as well as in increase of rental vacancy rates, coupled with the complexities of changing offices into residential at what can be a high-cost premium.
We also have a look at current Daily Commercial News and Journal of Commerce headlines with news editor Lindsey Cole, including the RCMP beginning a criminal investigation of the Ontario Greenbelt land development, a multi-million reimagining of Scotiabank Arena in Toronto and a story from DCN staff writer Angela Gismondi that goes behind the scenes into the building of the Port Lands bridges.
From the west we have stories about two B.C. companies and the University of British Columbia researcher looking into ways to reduce steel corrosion, as well as news about a new NAFTA decision on the ongoing and contentious matter of softwood lumber duties.
You can listen to The Construction Record on the Daily Commercial News and Journal of Commerce websites as well as on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Amazon Music’s podcast section. Our previous interview Thomas Strong, the president and CEO of Building Transformations is here. Thanks for listening.