The segment of the trillion-dollar construction industry that includes building and maintenance offers opportunities for growth in both residential and nonresidential building construction. Buildings are becoming more intricate as owners and residents expect more from their homes, workplaces and other structures. There are major opportunities for construction and service providers due to the required maintenance of new systems, and the need to upgrade or replace existing systems. This is a great driver of mergers and acquisitions interest and activity in the sector.
Another significant driver of M&A in this industry is the need for vertical integration between companies including equipment manufacturers and building technology providers. These businesses seek to grow their service capabilities through the convergence of innovation and traditional mechanical and electrical building services. Target companies that draw the most attention from buyers are often specialty contractors that have proven success in working within the ever-changing technology landscape in the industry. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing companies that are willing to adopt building information modeling, prefabrication capabilities, and data center knowledge are more likely to draw attention from interested acquirers in this sector.
Construction project delivery methods are also a driver of vertical integration and M&A activity. In addition to the traditional design-bid-build delivery method is:
- Construction manager at risk (CMAR): The owner selects a construction manager (CM) to be responsible for the project using criteria such as construction cost, quality, track record, project approach and deadline-meeting ability. The design and construction are contracted separately, and the CM offers input on the budget, cost estimation, scheduling, and review of design drawings to ascertain issues and potential savings. Construction pricing is started early in the design process and refined as it progresses, giving a final guaranteed maximum price (GMP) to the owner prior to construction. GMPs are often comprised of a cost-plus-fixed-fee structure, where the actual project costs for labor and materials are passed through to the owner, and the CM charges a fixed fee on top of that amount.
- Design-build (DB): The owner hires a crew under a single contract to deliver the construction project from start to finish, for both the design and the construction components. Pricing changes are kept to a minimum, and usually only occur when unknown conditions or owner requests increase the cost.
- Integrated project delivery (IPD):The owner chooses an architect/engineer and CM prior to the start of the design. All three sign a joint contract after agreeing upon all objectives. Increased collaboration is thought to reduce overall risk.
- Public-private partnership (3P): Under this model, a contract is established between a government entity and a private corporation to fund, construct, renovate, operate and maintain public infrastructure. The private entity gets back income generated from the project in order to pay off and eventually profit from the investment.
As integrated delivery methods gain popularity across more and more markets, contractors look to M&A to add in-house design services through strategic partnerships that give them a competitive advantage.
Additionally, some companies are taking vertical integration in the building sector to the next level. In order to cut down on time and reduce costs in a building construction project, they are vertically integrating the model of design, material supply, manufacturing, logistics, and assembly.
As in most industries, the acquisition of technological solutions is an inevitable driver of M&A in the building and maintenance industry. Technology provides a vehicle for differentiation for companies operating in this sector. Construction technology startups are on the rise, offering new software solutions and innovating the way buildings are constructed.
- Building information modeling (BIM) uses 3D models to streamline collaboration.
- Mobile technology enables real-time data collection and communication between job sites and project managers.
- Cloud-based solutions allow job-site employees to perform tasks such as submitting timesheets and expense reports, and accessing work records.
- Artificial intelligence is transforming data and predicting future outcomes for projects.
- Virtual reality is being used in training and to improve worker safety.
- Wearable technology is also being used to enhance job-site safety.
- Autonomous heavy equipment is allowing companies to do the same amount of work with a smaller number of workers.
- Robots are being used to monitor construction progress and drones are being used to photograph sites.
- Site sensors monitor environmental conditions such as noise, temperature and other factors.
Bringing all types of new technology in-house is a key competitive advantage for companies in this space. The growing role of technology in the construction sector results in revised strategies for some companies, which impacts acquisition strategies.READ MORE >>