Faced with stiffer competition brought by a slowing economy and the ensuing belt-tightening, layoffs and delayed decision making by clients, some of the nation's top A/E/C firms are positioning themselves to capitalize on the changing market place in 2002 (see "Down but not out," page 20).
Representatives of A/E/C firms gathered last fall in Washington, D.C., during the CMD North American Construction Forecast Conference to give insight into issues facing their firms in 2002.
While many firms such as Dallas-based integrated services company The Beck Group focus on education and health-care work, others like Baltimore-based RTKL Associates are placing more emphasis on international markets.
As the amount of new construction slows, San Francisco-based architect Gensler is seeing its adaptive reuse work increase. Since Sept. 11, Houston-based engineer Walter P. Moore and Associates is addressing increased security concerns on its airline terminal projects.
Where A/E/C firms seem to agree about 2002 is that owners will ask firms to speed project delivery. "Clients are delaying the decision to go forward with projects until the very last hour and then expecting us to deliver in a short time frame," says Edward Friedrichs, president and CEO of Gensler. "This requires us to be more aligned with the construction team."