Posted

Monday, December 9, 2019
Article

MiBiz: West Michigan Construction Industry Finds Optimism Ahead for 2020

Ghafari Architectural Manager Andy Eckert was among the construction and real estate industry experts who took part in a recent MiBiz roundtable discussion focused on development in West Michigan in 2020 and beyond.

“Right now, we’re seeing strength in all markets,” Andy said. “Retail is a little soft. But the projects we’re working on are kind of the high-end shopping experience. In an Amazon world, you obviously have to make it unique. It seems like that’s the next thing is to really make a shopping experience fun…everyone’s really wanting to switch up and move to something different.”

As the conversation turned to technology and its impacts on the local construction industry, Andy touched on the potential of artificial intelligence in the architectural field as well as Ghafari’s increasing use of drone technology and the efficiencies it offers.

“With 601 Bond, [a 16-story mixed-use building in Grand Rapids,] we punched the exterior with a drone and basically looked at the images,” he said. “On the design side, we flew a 26-acre site with a drone with a laser scanner on it. We could measure windows and gaps between buildings, which made master planning the site really quick.”

Read more highlights from the roundtable discussion here.