The construction industry is still very cautious, reports Joey Kragelund, AIA, HGA Architects and Engineers . "Slow economic conditions translate directly to and impact the construction and A&D industry," says Kragelund. "With the commercial real estate market on more of the down side of the market, we have seen other sectors repurposing available properties to other functions like healthcare in lieu of investing in green field developments."
But the new year is looking up. Renovations and operation improvement projects also offer opportunities for advancement, says Kragelund, mentioning use or reuse of water resources - expanding greywater filtration and collection systems for broader use in institutional, industrial, and campus environments - as an example.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) projects single-family builds will increase by 20.8 percent, and new home sales are expected to rise 21.6 percent in 2013. "Because of higher down-payment requirements and higher credit score requirement, mortgages are being qualified for my higher income households," says Stephen Melman, Director, Economic Services, NAHB. "First time buyers are more likely to buy smaller, less expensive homes, but the trade-up buyers, or others who were hesitant [with spending] may be looser with repairs and having what they really wanted, like improved efficiency and other upgrades."
Outside of the U.S., specifically in the U.A.E., there's no place but up. "We anticipate a spurt in exclusive fit-out in hospitality and F&B to cater to crowds now tired of getting the usual fare," says Sinmar Said, Manager Partner, ILID . "This would mean innovation in terms of usage of higher performing products, and well laid out layouts, value-engineered to meet style, price and functionality. Also in usage of materials that are less harmful to occupants, as part of a heightened CSR thinking from the industry"
The INDEX International Design Exhibition 2013 Steering Committee member says retail will also be a large part of new construction in the region. "In a maturing construction industry like we have in this region, operational cost will become a significant design parameter," says Said. "The paradigm shift from a supplier-driven market to a consumer-end-user-driven market is definitely advancing innovation in this industry and thus retaining the excitement this industry has always had."