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Displaying items by tag: American Institute of Architects

Men and women both experienced steep declines in employment at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but on average, the workforce for men is back to pre-pandemic levels in Michigan while women have left the workforce at disproportionate rates. 

Published in Economic Development

Michigan’s statewide building codes are set for an update this year. While there could be some new energy efficiency measures added, the codes are far behind where they should be to address climate change, according to some local design firms and environmental advocates.

Published in Energy

Recent year-end reports on non-residential construction activity softening and a plunging average project backlog are giving West Michigan construction leaders some reason for concern going into 2021.

West Michigan construction firms saw projects in the hospitality and office industries slow down this year because of COVID-19 restrictions, leaving many to get creative and pivot to industrial and residential markets. 

Michigan had the largest percentage increase in construction jobs among dozens of states from April to May, as firms rebounding from COVID-19 are showing cautious optimism in hopes of the overall economy following suit.

Even with a number of large-scale projects being built, West Michigan developers say they’re still thinking big for 2019. Multiple real estate and construction executives say they see no sign of the industry slowing down in the new year, although many believe companies’ focus could shift away from market-rate housing in downtown Grand Rapids. 

The rising price of steel and other building materials might cause sticker shock for some developers, but the costs are doing little to curb building activity around West Michigan.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) publishes the quarterly Architectural Billings Index (ABI), which is generally viewed as a leading indicator for the construction industry. While the data fluctuated throughout the year, architects’ billings have been largely positive, according to the Washington, D.C. trade association. Heading into 2018, AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker generally expects more of the same, albeit with some uncertainty surrounding national policy issues.

Published in Economic Development

To some local economic observers, the success of the architecture and engineering industry in West Michigan serves as a microcosm of the region’s broader economy.

Stakeholders in West Michigan’s commercial real estate and construction industries remain generally upbeat as they look toward the second half of the year. 

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