A multitude of factors are preventing a recovery for the beleaguered design and construction industry. Lenders that have been extremely reticent to finance construction projects, budget shortfalls at all levels of government, the ripple effect of overbuilding, a depressed housing market and rising costs of key construction commodities are all contributing to what projects to be a decline of 5.6% in spending this year for nonresidential construction projects. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast, a survey of the nation’s leading construction forecasters, also projects a 6.4% increase of spending in 2012.
“Consumer and business confidence is poor and the overall economy has yet to pull out of the downturn that began in 2008, which both add to the general sense of anxiety and uncertainty in the real estate market” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Spending on renovations of existing buildings has remained strong, but the depressed demand for new construction isn’t likely to improve until next year, led by the commercial sector: offices, retail and hotels.”
Baker added, “Steel, copper and aluminum have all increased ten percent or more in the past year, offsetting declines for lumber and concrete products. Rising energy costs have also been central to the unusual volatility in building material prices”
Though the AIA does not provide regional construction forecasts, there is evidence that some areas of the country are recovering faster than others. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s payroll surveys:
-Michigan leads the country with a 5.2% increase in construction payrolls in the last year
-Hawaii, Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, Illinois and Washington, DC have had gains of 3% or more
-Nevada and Rhode Island have each lost 10% or more of their construction pay rolls
According to the Federal Reserve Board’s Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions (Beige Book) from early June, noted that nonresidential construction, rose modestly in the Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis and Dallas districts. More broadly, a number of districts expressed a general sense of optimism for the second half of 2011.
About the AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel
The AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel is conducted twice a year with the leading nonresidential construction forecasters in the United States including, McGraw Hill Construction, IHS-Global Insight, Moody’s economy.com, Reed Business Information, Associated Builders & Contractors and FMI. The purpose of the Consensus Construction Forecast Panel is to project business conditions in the construction industry over the coming 12 to 18 months. The Consensus Construction Forecast Panel has been conducted for 13 years.
About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org. Twitter: http://twitter.com/AIA_Media