Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Today the legislature-the house- voted down House Bill 439 that provided bond financing for projects to be constructed by the State of Montana. This bill would not have been enacted unless tax revenues exceeded a level that would have allowed funding of the projects within the bill. The fact that these projects will not happen eliminates the possibility for significant work for architects, engineers, general contractors and subs within our state. This will essentially mean no new state building projects for two years. I saw this as Montana's opportunity to show some sign that the economy was going to turn the corner. In communities like Billings and Missoula where two major projects were planned at the Universities, this confidence building opportunity will not happen.

Monday, April 11, 2011

2010 and the start of 2011 have been interesting times to practice architecture and somewhat of a departure from the previous 10 years in Montana and likely many areas of the country. My firm has been one of the few in the state to have benefitted from significant diversity and not latching onto the influx of out of state money and focusing on the allure of high end projects. We have benefited from stimulus money on some projects and through our diverse workload makeup, been able to maintain a steady workload. It will be interesting to see how architecture practice treats firms in the coming years as the economy recovers. Many architects are still out of work with the constricted economy and those without well rounded skills and/or diverse project type experience are finding themselves on the sidelines or out of work for so long that they are pursuing careers in related fields or altogether different pursuits. The current envogue specialization for our firm appears to be medical projects and project types related to the aging baby boomers. I remember 12-15 years ago hearing that projects for elderly would be a growing opportunity. Nationally focused firms have grabbed the majority of projects in our area in this area of specialization. There have been some projects to pursue in this area.