Monday, January 16, 2012

INL buoys Idaho Falls construction numbers for 2011

It's human nature to want more -- more jobs, more money, more security -- but the plain fact of existence is that adaptation is how the human race has survived.

Suppose the building boom of five years ago was an aberration, and that we are now living in normal times? On a national level, suppose the economy we have right now is how it's going to be for the foreseeable future? In either case, we have to adapt.

Looking at the city of Idaho Falls Building Department's report for 2011, two things stand out. First, building activity and valuation held steady from the previous year. Second, if it weren't for the Idaho National Laboratory, things would be a lot worse.

The multi-million dollar Idaho National Laboratory Testing & Demonstration Facility pushed construction valuation for Idaho Falls to over $30 million for the second straight year.

The overall total, $36.9 million, was down 4 percent from 2010, but was still almost twice the low of 2009, $19.7 million.

It should come as no surprise that residential building was down from 2010 and way down from 2006. The most encouraging news, such as it is, may be on the commercial renovation front. Even though there were fewer projects than 2010 (10 vs. 22) valuation was up nearly 74 percent: $12.7 million in 2011 compared to $7.3 million the previous year. 

The 2012 construction year has already got a jump start, thanks again to INL, which will break ground on its $30 million, 46,163-square-foot, Research & Education Laboratory complex, across the street from the INL Testing & Demonstration facility.