Gold dome of Georgia Capitol in Atlanta

The State of the AEC Industry: An Owner’s Perspective

The state of the AEC industry has drastically shifted during the first half of 2020. Owners across all markets are adjusting their procurement process for the virtual environment. While team dynamics and the Q&A portion of the interview process hold greater importance, Owners will also be looking for skill sets that help solve the industry’s current challenges. Marvin Woodward, Deputy Executive Director of Construction of the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission (GSFIC), is no stranger to these shifting priorities and how quickly the state has had to respond.

GSFIC’s Head-on Approach to COVID-19

During this time of transition, AEC firms and Owners are working to find ways to comply with the new standards set due to COVID-19. At GSFIC, Woodward has been serving on a special COVID-19 task force to help Georgia prepare their pandemic response, which included building temporary medical facilities that could incorporate many patients while still operating within socially distant measures. The team has faced new challenges that come with these standards, such as building location and size and incorporating new design requirements. GSFIC’s task force realized the facilities needed to be near large hospitals to sufficiently support the staff and decided to build temporary medical pods, which will be utilized as supporting units in the case of a second wave of the COVID-19 infection. Across the industry, firms and Owners are adapting to the transitional time by learning how to solve current problems with valuable solutions. That will ultimately make the difference for the future of the AEC industry.

The Rise of Renovations

Prior to COVID-19, there was already a planned decrease in the number of new construction projects. Woodward anticipates the focus moving forward is now on adaptive reuse and renovation projects. Hiring Owners will see an increased value in firms that offer innovative techniques for adapting/renovating older buildings to new standards. With tight budgets at the forefront, Owners are looking are trying to utilize spaces that already exist. While still in the very early stages, Woodward says his team will have to re-examine the standards for key design elements, such as spacing. Utilizing space efficiently and effectively will be crucial in projects moving forward.

For firms looking to win work with the State, it’s important to think past winning the interview. What solutions and knowledge can you bring to the project if you are selected? Woodward and the COVID task force had quickly adjusted their process to find solutions that work for not only now, but the future of the State. Owners are looking for firms that offer similar qualities and smart solutions. The reality is, most design and construction firms are qualified to get the job done, but the teams that can make tough decisions to get the desired result will come out on top.

To hear more from an Owners perspective, listen to episode 25 of AEC Marketing for Principals with special guest Marvin Woodward.