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Hunting Health Care Architects
AIA Minnesota Matrix | Oct 01, 2006
Article by: Chuck Rauenhorst
Any firm attempting to find a registered architect with 5-10 years of experience over the past year will tell you the same thing: “have patience”. Add health care planning experience to the wish list and it’s: “good luck”.
So why is it so difficult? The Top 5 Reasons
Start with the Demographics
The numbers aren’t new but they are telling. U.S. Census data show 80 million people will turn 50 in the decade ending in 2012. Between 2000 and 2030 the number of persons 65 or greater is expected to more than double from 35 million in 71 million and the number of persons over 80 is expected to be increase from 9.3 million to 19.5 million over that same period. An aging population needs people to care for them.
Follow the Jobs
According to the September 25, 2006 issue of Business Week, 1.7 million new jobs have been added in the health care sector since 2001 (this includes pharmaceuticals and insurance) while the number of private sector jobs outside health care has remained unchanged over the same period. More jobs mean more facilities.
Watch the Spending
U.S. construction spending is expected to grow some 34% from $34 billion in 2005 to $45.4 billion by 2009. Baby boomers, aging buildings, geographic population shifts, the desire for more hospitable experiences and new environmental/safety mandates are all factors in the boom. In California alone hospitals may spend as much as $41 billion to comply with new seismic standards by 2008.
Where’d They Go?
In terms of registration numbers, it is well known that architect registration numbers follow construction volume fluctuations. An Assessment of Population, Construction, and Alternative Professions and Their Relationship to Architect Licensure and Registration Levels prepared for the AIA in May 2006 outlines this trend extensively. In Minnesota, for example, the number of resident architects declined between 1999 and 2004, even though the number of examinations administered increased significantly. There were actually only 15 states where there were numerical increases in the number o9f resident architects. The top five in order are: Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Colorado. At roughly the same time, Minnesota was one of 10 states where construction dollars tripled.
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