For most of you, February is not exactly the busiest month of the year, as the majority of the nation experiences freezing temperatures. However, there are still jobs to be done and concrete to be placed, not to mention preparing for the work in the upcoming months.

Chances are good that you or someone from your company was at the World of Concrete earlier this month in Las Vegas. A bevy of new equipment, technology, and most importantly, business philosophies were the discussion amongst your peers. Specifically, the latter fueled by necessity in this ever-uncertain construction market. The ability to shift on the fly and adapt your business plan to the fluctuating construction market is critical for your survival in 2010 and beyond.

According to the FMI's “Construction Outlook: 2009 Fourth Quarter Report,” total construction in 2010 will be down 4% after declining 13% in 2009. Although the economy may show signs of improvement, the nonresidential construction still lags; a trend expected to continue for some time. On the flip side, residential construction should begin to recover this year, albeit slowly.

However, Ed Sullivan, the chief economist for the Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill., warns against reading too much into the economic recovery. According to Sullivan, home builders are unlikely to accelerate construction activity until two critical conditions are met: inventory levels of unsold new homes become low and home prices become stable or begin to rise. Increases in residential construction are expected to surface in the latter part of 2010, with substantive gains expected in 2011 and beyond. The PCA projected a 14.4% increase in housing starts in 2010 compared to the 2009 depressed levels. Specifically, this reflects a 20% increase in single-family starts and a 5.7% decline in multifamily starts.

As for noncommercial, health care construction likely will see an increase in 2010 and 2011, maintaining a historically high level. Power construction has seen four years of growth and is expected to remain positive for the next five years. Finally, conservation and development construction, based on funding from stimulus packages, is expected to remain positive.

Adapting to changing market conditions, as well as our readers' needs, is an editorial philosophy important to CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION. This year, we will include CONCRETE SURFACES magazine as an insert in CC. The insert debuts this month, and you also will appear in the April, June, August, October, and December issues.

As you know, a fundamental shift in the concrete surfaces treatment industry currently is underway. Concrete contractors now are specifying and applying decorative, as well as nondecorative, surface applications and coatings to jobsites in an effort to increase revenue and maintain quality control.

CONCRETE SURFACES magazine addresses the evolving practices of today's commercial contractor.