DB 2020: Analyzing and forecasting design-build market trends

Hossein Vashani, Jera Sullivan, Mounir El Asmar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


A leading engineering and construction industry magazine has been collecting revenue data from construction firms and publishes the list of the 100 largest design-build (DB) firms every year. According to this magazine and many technical articles, DB has grown drastically over the last decade; however, information about growth trends for different firm sizes is lacking. Also missing is a forecast of future market trends over the next five years. Using revenue data from the top 100 DB firms, the authors have divided the firms into subsets, using k-means clustering, and analyzed the growth rates of each subset compared with the average of the top 100 DB firms as a whole. Whereas the results show increasing market share only for the largest firms, the authors have found that: (1) a large portion of this growth is occurring in international markets; and (2) all subsets of the top 100 DB firms have increased revenues over the past decade. Regression and time-series analyses allowed for the forecasting of the top 100 DB firms' revenue growth, which the authors anticipate to increase by approximately 50% to nearly US$150 billion in 2020. This paper contributes to the construction engineering and management body of knowledge by (1) analyzing the DB market data using statistical clustering techniques to uncover differences in behavior for firms of different sizes, for the first time; and (2) forecasting DB market trends on the basis of these new findings. These contributions can help public agencies see how DB firms of all sizes are growing, while also understanding how international markets are driving the faster growth rate of larger DB firms. Additionally, the contributions of this paper can help DB practitioners anticipate market changes, on the basis of their firm's size, and strategically plan their firms' growth accordingly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04016008
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Alternative project delivery methods
  • Clustering
  • Design-build (DB)
  • k-means
  • Market share
  • Organizational issues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial relations
  • Building and Construction


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