Reno and expansion markets flourish amid the pandemic: report

The report, Business Opportunities & Sustainability Trends Amidst a Pandemic, said the impact on commercial and institutional non-residential projects was especially negative while demand for architectural services on single-family home projects increased. Photo courtesy Matt Tinder, AIA

A new report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA)—in partnership with Oldcastle Building Envelope—is providing an in-depth look at the impact of the pandemic on design firm business conditions.

“Growing concerns over building design from the pandemic and public awareness of health risks will continue to drive the refurbishment, expansion, and remodeling markets throughout 2021,” said AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA. “As the end of the COVID-19 crisis comes slowly into view, it is clear that the pandemic-induced recession created two contrasting economic realities: a strong residential market and a weakened nonresidential market.”

Despite decreasing demand for design services and construction activity during 2020, other design and construction sectors accelerated existing trends and created positive business conditions for some architects depending on their design focus.

The report, Business Opportunities & Sustainability Trends Amidst a Pandemic, said the impact on commercial and institutional non-residential projects was especially negative while demand for architectural services on single-family home projects increased. The report also found that, while clients engaged less on sustainability issues during the pandemic, architects working on sustainable projects were not negatively impacted by the pandemic.

“We were pleased to join AIA to support this important research as it uncovers our current uncertain landscape while also demonstrating a continued commitment to sustainability,” said Oldcastle Building Envelope President Liz Haggerty. “It was encouraging to learn that a majority of architects—almost 80 percent—are finding clients willing to invest in buildings that lead to better occupant health and productivity.”

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