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Now is the time to build, according to a report from international design and implementation firm, NewGround.NewGround gathered industry data for its white paper, “Plan and Design Now to Take Advantage of a Buyer’s Market,” to determine where the construction services industry market is now and what is ahead for the market.“Material prices are dropping, worker availability is abundant, and land is cheap,” said Kevin Blair, president/CEO of NewGround. “Owners should take advantage of these market conditions before the market turns. Common thinking is: ‘I’ll get in before the prices start going up again.’ But, the reality is if you don’t have plans and designs already underway when the upturn happens, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to take full advantage of the bargain prices created by this depressed market.”The report said that right now the industry is seeing some of the lowest material pricing in years and that the construction industry is experiencing high unemployment. However, the report also said that experts feel that an upswing will begin in the next 10 to 12 months.The white paper cited the Associated General Contractors for reporting that construction fell 3.1% in 2007, 5.1% in 2008, is forecasted to fall another 3.7% in 2009, and then turnaround and increase 5% in 2010.The report added that analysts predict the country will start seeing results from the Economic Recovery Bill during that time period as well. The bill allocated $130 billion for construction and earmarked $39 billion in a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund for school modernization.“It’s prudent for owners to plan now because it can take anywhere from six to 10 months to plan and design a facility correctly. Space programming, a conceptual design, and mechanical, electrical and structural drawings must be all completed before materials can be bought and construction start,” Blair said. “If these documents aren’t finished before the market turns, it will hinder the owner’s ability to take advantage of today’s bargain pricing.”–[email protected]

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