Despite some market saturation — particularly in the Sun Belt — health-care, residential and commercial facilities designed for seniors are growing quickly and projected to grow. In fact, this year architecture, engineering and construction firms expect to work on senior facility projects with an average value of $4.9 million, according to a recent survey of firms active in the senior market conducted by Building Design & Construction and Consulting-Specifying Engineer. Nearly a fifth of the survey's respondents plan to be involved with projects valued at more than $10 million this year.
Most firms expect that the construction market for senior housing will grow in 2002, and four out of five predict that the market will be in a strong growth mode five years down the road.
Assisted-living facilities proved to be one of the most popular senior project types in 2000, with about 40 percent of responding firms active in the design and construction of these facilities. Commercial and retail centers for senior communities showed even more activity, with close to half of firms involved last year, followed by senior apartment buildings and skilled-nursing facilities.
Survey respondents also ranked the most important architecture issues for senior housing projects. Topping the list were fire safety, life safety and security, followed by energy efficiency, Americans with Disability Act compliance, first cost and maintenance/operations.
The overbuilding in the South has not affected overall activity. While designers are involved in projects nationwide, 31.7 percent of firms have been active in the Midwest, 22 percent in the Mid-Atlantic region and 15.1 percent in the South.