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Has your architecture or design firm completely recovered from the Great Recession? Are you back on track and doing the same or more business than before the economy tanked? I know when I look around the two communities near where I live and where I work in the Chicagoland area, there is more new construction going on than there has been in years. New strip malls and restaurants are popping up in areas that have had stalled growth over the years. I, for one, take all of the recent development as a good sign that the economy has finally gotten to a point of growth.

According to a new study by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), U.S. architecture firms have experienced a near complete recovery, allowing firm leaders to reinvest profits back into their businesses. "The Business of Architecture: 2016 Firm Survey Report" also provides insight on how architecture firms are operating, with information on the latest trends in net and gross billings, staffing, BIM, international work and more.

While AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, Ph.D., said there have been more renovation projects than new construction recently, I've been seeing more new construction by me. That doesn't mean that renovations aren't happening, I just think renovation projects may not be as obvious to the casual observer, when it's pretty obvious when new shopping centers and retail stores are being built.

"Far more than at any point in recent memory," Baker said, "there has been steady rise in the amount of renovation projects that architects have led compared to new construction activity over the past decade plus. A lot this has to do with green building incentives towards renovations, improved construction methods and products that increase the longevity of buildings, and a slower growing population that reduces the need for new construction," he said.

Whether or not your firm has had increased renovation or new construction projects, it appears that the economy is finally poised for a solid period of growth, which I think we can all agree that we need.

Additional findings from the report, which includes data from more than 2,300 firms, show that while net billings were at $28.5 billion at the peak of the market in 2008, billings reached $28.4 billion in 2015. Forty-two percent of architecture firms classify their practice as multidisciplinary. The study also found that larger firms are using BIM on almost all of their projects, and are expanding its use to design visualization, coordinated construction documents, presentations and renderings. And, the growth of profits is allowing firms to increase their marketing activities, expand into new geographical areas and diversify their portfolios with more building types.

I hope all of your firms are having the same type of luck as those in the survey. We'd love to hear more about how your firm is doing. Drop us a line below.

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