Budgets are being cut left and right. Our family "eating out" budget … gone! Our community organization "summer party" budget … gone! I see non-profit organizations struggling to keep pace with last year’s donations, while attendance at professional industry conferences are shrinking.
You can imagine my surprise when I read a press release from CADD Microsystems suggesting that the construction industry is showing signs of rebounding. CADD Microsystems, an Autodesk solutions provider, sponsored a conference called Tech Tour in Washington, D.C. last week. CADD Microsystems reports that it had more than 200 attendees at the conference:
"This Tech Tour was one of the largest events our company has ever hosted," said Jeff Gravatte, CEO of CADD Microsystems, "and we are pleased with what that says about the state of the design and building industry. To have more than 200 people spend a day learning the latest trends in BIM and design technology speaks volumes about the strength of the building industry and its promise for a speedy recovery."
Perhaps this is simply a case where the title of the press release ("Indications of Building Industry Rebounding as More Than 200 Design and Construction Professionals Attend Building Design Software Event") promises more than is being served. I have seen the monthly reports from Southeast Construction about drying up construction markets and the AGC about the continuing decline in construction jobs. Don’t get me wrong … I would love to see a turn-around in this economy.
The more noteworthy report from CADD Microsystems is the briefing offered to Congress, organized by the High-Performance Buildings Congressional Caucus Coalition and the National Institute of Building Sciences. The briefing on BIM and high performance buildings took place earlier this week on Capitol Hill and focused on the importance of technology in the building industry:
Building Information Modeling is focused on eliminating significant amounts of redundant and wasted effort currently embedded in the design, construction, and operations of facilities due to the lack of software interoperability. The beneficiaries of this information range from the designers and construction contractors to facility operations and sustainment all the way through the building life cycle.
Lessons Learned? Perhaps the large reported attendance at the Tech Tour is something other than an economic rebound−perhaps it is an indication that industry professionals have more "marketing and development" time on their hands to attend conferences. It provides them with an opportunity to learn about the strengths of new technologies (i.e., Building Information Modeling), as well as, a venue to develop new business relationships.