According to the semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast recently released by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the poor conditions created by a combination of surplus nonresidential facilities, low demand for space, declining commercial property values, and lack of available credit are laying the groundwork for drop of more than 20 percent in nonresidential construction spending this year, despite slight improvements in the overall economy.

However, conditions should begin to turn around by the middle of 2011, with an overall increase of 3.1 percent, notes AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA. The hotel, amusement/recreation, and retail sectors will lead with 8.7 percent, 8.1 percent, and 7.6 percent growth, respectively. Healthcare facilities will follow closely with growth at 5.1 percent, but all other sectors—office buildings, industrial, education, religious, and public safety—will see far less positive improvements; only education is predicted to top 1 percent in growth in 2011.

To read the complete Consensus Construction Forecast and Baker's analysis, click here.