I started working for Healthcare Design about 12 years ago, and one of the first big projects to land on my desk was managing our annual A/E/C Survey. It’s been a pet project of mine ever since, and finally taught me that using Excel can be more satisfying than excruciating. The survey has evolved a bit over time, with new questions added or others retired, but it always serves as a biennial opportunity to take stock of where we are as an industry and where its members think we’re heading next.

The survey is open to any architecture/engineering/construction firm working in healthcare—again, firms and not individuals. While we love hearing collectively from all our audience members through other survey efforts, this one captures a high-level view that we can get only from companies working in this space. That’s because we ask for big-picture details, like number of healthcare contracts signed in the past year, gross healthcare revenue, and so on.

And within the responding firms we have global powerhouses and small regional outposts, together helping to paint a holistic picture of where healthcare design stands today.

Years ago, we would open the survey annually but eventually noticed that we wouldn’t see too much transition in the data year to year, so that’s when we bumped it to every other. Our last survey was conducted in early 2020, just as we were all learning the word “coronavirus.” So when our 2022 survey was launched, I couldn’t help but wonder what the numbers would tell of everything that’s happened between then and now.

It’s not that this year’s results are starkly different from those we’ve seen in the past. But at the same time, clear differences emerged to a larger degree than I’ve seen before, signaling an industry in recovery mode. In most of our key year-over-year stats—when we ask firms to compare things like requests for proposals received or contracts signed to those in the prior year—upticks were seen and a rebound was evident. Looking more closely, while work was surging, it was on the more modest size, with the majority of projects completed last year falling at the lower end of price and value ranges and renovations leading over new construction.

And there are other threads to follow, too. In responses to the survey’s open-ended question about ongoing challenges and opportunities, almost every firm that answered remarked on the current influx of business they’re experiencing. Similarly, most also commented on the stressors that come with the windfall, as talent acquisition remains a top challenge to managing surging workloads and the construction market volatility that continues.

I hope you enjoy digging into the results as much as I have. It’s obvious there’s a lot to be optimistic about as 2022 unfolds, and a lot we’ll be keeping our eye on, too.