Architects Predict Steep Decline For Nonresidential Construction in 2009 & Propose Plan For Economic Stimulus

Last week The American Institute of Architects (AIA) semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast projected an 11 percent decline in design and construction activity in 2009. The AIA notes that commercial projects that have been put on hold include office buildings and retail establishments but says that prices for construction commodities have fallen in recent months as a positive trend for the construction forecasts. The forecast calls for significant declines across the board but the areas of healthcare have the least amount of projected declines.

“As profits for businesses have fallen and the ability to get credit to finance projects has become far more difficult, construction plans have been put on hold or canceled outright in recent months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “This is not expected to turn around anytime soon and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.”

Additionally, the AIA developed its’ Rebuild and Renew Plan, which details its recommendations for the allocation of funds in President-elect Obama’s economic recovery plan. The group is petitioning the new administration and Congress to create policies that ensure these monies are spent on the planning, design and construction of energy efficient, sustainable buildings and healthy communities that are advantageous for both the environment and economy. The AIA claims that if the plan is implemented correctly, it could provide 1.6 million new jobs in the design and construction industry.

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Many of the proposals outlined in the plan call for longer-term planning rather than short-term infrastructure projects, most of which are geared towards renovating schools, focusing on developing communities near public transportation and utilities, working on historic preservation projects and providing tax relief for businesses. The plan relies heavily on “green” investment and “green collar jobs” created through the Obama Stimulus plan currently being discussed in Washington, DC. The plan calls for careful consideration over use of the funds to build better, safer and healthier communities while creating jobs and stimulating economic growth nationwide that can lead to long-term economic vitality rather than short term solutions and quick fixes.

For the full press release on the Rebuild and Renew Plan, click here.

For more information on the AIA’s Rebuild and Renew plan, or to download the full report, please visit the Rebuild and Renew Plan.

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For the Construction Consensus report click here.

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