Contract - September 2013 - (Page 16)
pHoto: Meg Walton
Looking Ahead with Cautious Optimism or Confident Enthusiasm
How is your firm faring as we enter the final months of 2013? Busier
construction sectors will experience growth in 2014, but not nearly
than ever with more work than your firm can handle, or still seeking out at the robust pace of hotels. Office construction is expected to grow
projects to keep all staff engaged? As I travelled around the country
9.5 percent in 2014, and retail and other commercial construction will
visiting architecture and design firms in recent months, I found that
likely grow 11.7 percent.
the answer varies based on region, firm size, and project expertise.
In the institutional building sectors, healthcare construction is
Most firms seem to be doing better than at this point in 2012 or 2011.
forecast to increase only 1.4 percent this year over last, but projected to
But outlooks range from cautious optimism to confident enthusiasm.
increase 7.7 percent in 2014. Education facility construction will likely
One firm with a national presence is adding staff like never before
decline 2.5 percent this year compared to last, and will likely have a
to ultimately be larger by the end of this year than it’s ever been.
modest 4.8 percent increase in 2014 as municipal tax revenues rise
What do the numbers tell us, and what can we expect for the
with employment increases. The education facility sector is the largest
rest of this year and 2014? While some sectors have experienced
nonresidential building sector, but spending on education construction
growth, others are stagnant or slightly declining this year. The 2013
has been flat due to fiscal difficulties at state and local levels.
pause in growth is likely just that, a pause in a broader pattern of
While forecast numbers for the remainder of 2013 are mixed, we
construction recovery. That is the message released in August by
know that much of your continued, sustained work is in renovations and
the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in its AIA Consensus
adaptive reuse of existing building stock. With that in mind, we have
Construction Forecast. The consensus forecast is computed as
focused this issue on excellent interiors that are all transformations.
an average of the projections provided by the six leading U.S.
The projects include a hotel, restaurant, retail space, office, and a
organizations that produce construction forecasts.
performing arts facility, and the designers—from Australia to the U.S.
In a look at 2012, 2013, and the consensus forecast for 2014,
to Mexico—developed innovative solutions with existing structures.
Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, the AIA’s chief economist, says, “Spending
I hope that the transformative projects featured in this issue serve as
on the construction of nonresidential buildings [overall] increased
inspiration, with lessons learned, for the variety of work that you take on.
almost six percent [in 2012]. The 2013 consensus forecasts were
lowered to a 2.3 percent increase, with next year’s predictions
enter your work in the interiors awards today!
raised a modest 7.6 percent.”
When you receive this issue, you still have a few days to enter
The commercial/industrial sector, including office, retail,
your work in the 35th Annual Interiors Awards. The deadline is
hospitality, and industrial construction, is projected to continue to lead
September 24, and all entries are submitted online (no more binders!)
the upturn. Spending in 2013 is expected to match the almost eight
at contractdesign.com/interiorsawards. Winning projects in 15
percent growth rate of last year in the commercial/industrial sector, and categories will be published in the January/February issue of Contract
activity will likely increase in 2014 to a low double-digit rate of growth.
and will be honored at the Interiors Awards Breakfast in New York
Specifically, the hotel sector, as a subcategory within the
on January 24, 2014. Good luck!
commercial/industrial sector, experiences the widest range of highs
and lows. After a steep decline in construction during the recession,
hotel construction is projected to have a 15 percent increase in 2014,
after a 17 percent gain overall in 2013. Just from January to May 2013,
John Czarnecki, assoc. aia, Hon. iida
lodging facility construction increased 20 percent. Office and retail
editor in Chief
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - September 2013
Contract - September/October 2013
Columnist: Winning Work at the Interview: It’s All About Chemistry
Product Focus: Glow Sticks
Product Focus: A Touch of Yesteryear
Product Briefs: Products with a Sustainable Focus
Lighting Lessons from an Artist
Competition: Design Is…
Designers Select: Eco-friendly Products
Interior Detail: A Flowing Aluminum Ceiling Symbolizes Water in a Japanese Beauty Salon
Contract - September 2013