The American Institute of Architects (AIA) semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast projects an 11 percent decline in design and construction activity in 2009. To revitalize the building sector, which accounts for about one in every ten dollars of the United States GDP, the AIA developed the Rebuild and Renew Plan, which details its recommendations for the allocation of funds in President-elect Obama’s economic recovery plan.
The AIA is calling on the new administration and Congress to create policies that ensure these monies are spent on the planning, design and construction of energy efficient, sustainable buildings and healthy communities that are advantageous for both the environment and economy. If implemented correctly, the nearly $100 billion plan would create 1.6 million jobs throughout the design and construction industry.
Recent reports estimate that the economic recovery package may total as much as $800 billion, with at least $350 billion dedicated to infrastructure projects. However, the AIA’s recommendations call for longer planning and design periods for projects to help ensure that they are carried out in the most effective, cost-efficient manner and that funds are not poorly spent due to the projects being hastily planned and executed. Providing funding for projects across 24 months will ensure a steady stream of funds for job creation over the likely life of the recession.
“President-elect Obama’s economic recovery package provides us with the opportunity to leave a lasting imprint on our built environment with projects that improve the safety of the existing infrastructure and increase energy efficiency, so long as these projects are undertaken with the utmost attention to smart design and planning,” said Christine McEntee, Executive Vice President and CEO of the AIA. “The Rebuild and Renew plan has garnered significant interest from the transition team and key Congressional leaders, and outlines initiatives to build better, safer and healthier communities while creating jobs and stimulating economic growth nationwide that can lead to long-term economic vitality.”
The plan is comprised of five key policy areas for immediate attention: 21st century schools; green commercial, residential and institutional buildings; historic preservation projects; transit, mixed use development and complete streets projects; and tax relief for businesses.