What do firms have to say about the recent ABI Index, released by the AIA yesterday (June 23)? While new opportunities seem to be cropping up, two words still seem to sum up sentiments: "flat" and "volatile."
"HOK’s revenue has been ‘flat’ since late 2009, but we’ve seen an increase in the number of new opportunities, and have been fortunate to secure many of them. I believe this will be a very slow recovery in the private sector, because businesses are still very reluctant to add people–and job growth is the single largest driver in commercial real estate, design, and construction. Some of our best prospects include healthcare (where major institutions have re-established funding for their capital needs), federally-funded public projects, and development in growing economies, like India and China."
–HOK vice chairman Clark Davis, FAIA
“I’d say that we're in a pretty volatile situation until 2012. If you look at any macro report, there’s nothing to indicate that we’ll see any huge growth soon. We're seeing a build up of cash out there, but investors don’t have a lot of places to put their money and people are looking for bargains in the real estate market. Additionally, there’s no jobs growth; we’re continuing to see a lot of volatility in global issues and changes in demographics; and there’s still a huge amount of debt owned by the American consumer. I’ve yet to see someone imagine what the economy will be like when the consumer isn’t two-thirds of it. It’s definitely going to be a different economy in the future."
–Todd DeGarmo, CEO, STUDIOS architecture
"At M Moser, we continue to observe volatile market conditions in many industry sectors. In the corporate sector, however, we are actively engaged with many clients and prospective clients who are taking the opportunity to think strategically about the future workplace. Whereas many large scaled construction projects remain tabled, many corporate clients are pro actively examining their workplace strategies to be better positioned when the market stabilizes…In an age of global competition, conventional dogma is no longer relevant and yesterday's trends are being challenged at every level. We have repeatedly heard our clients state that they don't want to get left at the starting line when liquidity resumes. To this effect, the notion of "cram and jam" is having an adverse affect on earnings, as financially stable companies are better positioned to recruit the best and brightest in their sectors."
–David Weinberg, AIA, M Moser director, head of New York office
But there are those firms who are riding a more optimistic wave, as well:
“We have actually found the opposite and have seen rising billings month over month, with May being our highest month of the year. It’s looking like June will top May by 38 percent.”
–Simeon Meyer, CFO, The Puccini Group
–Joe McClelland, Chief Financial Officer, IA INTERIOR ARCHITECTS
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