According to the Q2 Construction Outlook Report from engineering and construction management consultant, FMI, the building industry is expected to see a small gain of 3 percent growth in 2012, and 7 percent growth in 2013, which is generally positive considering the decline over the past five years.
The building industry as a whole has not seen a steady incline since peaking in 2008 right before the recession hit – the healthcare sector is no exception. As soon as the economy took a nosedive in 2008, healthcare construction literally stopped.
While residential construction appears to be outpacing commercial construction, there are positive signs when it comes to growth in the manufacturing and healthcare sectors.
In fact, the report released by FMI last week goes so far as to say, “Healthcare construction is expected to rise 3 percent in 2012…[and] strengthen to double digits by 2015, achieving record highs around $52.6 billion.”
Could the recent Supreme Court ruling be the reason behind this optimistic outlook? And if so, where is the healthcare architectural landscape headed?
Many industry experts, but not all, think the healthcare industry will see a steady incline if the law continues to be upheld – which could again be impacted by November’s presidential election.
The majority of the architects interviewed by Architectural Record believe their clients should, and will, take the ruling with cautious optimism. For many in the article, it’s a step in the right direction for their clients, but not the cut and dry solution. While the Supreme Court’s decision might be the boost the healthcare building industry desperately needs, there are still a lot of economic variables that could greatly impact growth.
One thing everyone agrees on, the healthcare system is guaranteed to change in the next year – so are the healthcare building practices. The shift away from large-scale hospitals to small out-patient practices is apparent regardless of November’s election. This shift is being attributed to the advances in technology, insurance practices and continued budget restrictions (which goes beyond the healthcare industry and into the state of the world economy).
In a sister Architectural Record article to the one mentioned above, Martin Valins, a principal at Stantec’s Philadelphia office says, “The first port of call will be primary physicians…the primary health-care building stock will become increasingly important, and huge hospitals will become less prominent.”
So what is the next step?
Proceed with caution. While the construction industry appears to be headed in the right direction, it is best to pursue small-scale projects while everyone waits for the economy to gain stable momentum.