6 questions you and your firm should be thinking about

December 13, 2012 |
Rob Cassidy

We just finished work on an excellent article on "8 Trends Shaping Today's Senior Housing," which you'll see in the January 2013 issue.

It occurred to me that, while not all AEC firms "do" senior housing, there were at least 6 valuable lessons embedded in that article that really apply to virtually all building projects and all AEC firms:

1. How closely is your firm following changing demographic trends—age, race, ethnicity, language, gender, mobility—that could be impacting the geographical markets and building types you specialize in?

2. Should your firm be conducting its own research (online surveys, focus groups, individual interviews, etc.) to gain insight on end-user/occupant attitudes and needs—proprietary data you can take to current and prospective clients?

3. What additional services or components—preferably those that would produce additional revenue for your clients—should you be incorporating into your specialty building type? Could your next library include a café—or even an adjacent brick-and-mortar bookstore?

4. What are the “negative perceptions” about your firm’s preferred building types, and how can you overcome them? If these negatives result in neighborhood opposition to your projects, what strategies can you develop to gain the community’s support?

5. In early design, is your Building Team taking into account the long-term operations and maintenance of the building? What about the ongoing service needs of its occupants, visitors, other end users?

6. Which marketing-related factors are truly crucial to your firm’s success in its specialty markets? Client service? Professional reputation? Performance record? Sustainability leadership? How do you know these factors still hold true

Let me know what I've missed. Send your comments to [email protected] or respond below.

Rob Cassidy | Building Team Blog

Rob Cassidy (“ClimateGrouch”) is editorial director of Building Design+Construction. A city planner, he is the author of several books, including “Livable Cities,” and was a co-founder of the Friends of the Chicago River.

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