Saturday, December 8, 2012

Commercial Construction Set to Rise, but Will Enough Experienced Workers Be There to Handle Demand?

Michael Bull
 ATLANTA, GA) – As 2013 draws closer on the horizon, construction and design experts predict next year will see an overall increase in commercial building activity. However, they also worry that the construction and architecture industries will have a hard time finding enough experienced workers to meet the rising demand.

The most recent episode of the “Commercial Real Estate Show,” hosted by Michael Bull, took an enlightening look at the issues confronting the construction, development and design sectors. Bull and his guests discussed a range of topics including in-demand property types, construction costs, sustainability and tips for successful construction projects.

Bill Bland
The United States has experienced about a 2 percent increase in non-residential building activity during the past year and should see a roughly 6 percent bump in 2013, said Kermit Baker, chief economist for the American Institute of Architects.

However, while the overall activity number is increasing, there is a “lot of variation” in how individual sectors are performing, Baker added. “Some segments are doing pretty well, while others are really still in recession mode,” he said.

For example, hotel and motel construction has increased 25 percent in the past 12 months, while the building of worship facilities has dropped 17 percent in the same timeframe, he said. Multifamily and seniors-housing facilities also are seeing significant building activity, guests noted.

Bill Halter
Because the construction and architectural sectors have been so depressed for the last half decade or so, many seasoned workers left the industries in pursuit of more in-demand careers, leaving those still working in the sectors with the significant challenge of finding the right people to handle what should be a rising workload.

“We’re looking for seasoned individuals,” said Bill Bland, a senior vice president with Choate Construction. “Because so many people left the industry, trying to locate experienced workers, in particular pre-construction experts, is difficult.”

Sustainable design and construction is a trend that has taken a permanent hold, noted Bill Halter, director of corporate design for the Cooper Carry architectural firm. “Our clients today all want to talk about sustainability,” he said. “They see the value in it, from a building operations side.”

 “They may not want to do a LEED-certified building,” Halter added. “They may not want to go to the [U.S. Green Building Council] and go through [its certification] process, but they do want it to be a high-performance building.”

The entire episode on construction, development and architecture is available for download at

For a complete copy of the company’s news release, please contact:

Stephen Ursery
The Wilbert Group
Office: (404) 965-5026
Cell: (404) 405-2354

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