January 26, 2024 min read

Are You Ready for IIJA? How AEC Firms Can Prepare




Architecture and DesignVector LMS and Training Management

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is transforming the American infrastructure landscape. The IIJA carries the promise of unprecedented investments across sectors to rejuvenate our country’s infrastructure. As demand for construction increases, architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) firms will need to be ready to seize the moment. AEC firms must prepare for this rapid growth so they can navigate the complexities that this legislation brings with it.

Let’s dive into how AEC firms can navigate the nuances of the IIJA!

What is the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)?

In case you missed it, the Biden Administration passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) on November 15, 2021.

The IIJA is also often referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). And it is a landmark piece of legislation that promises to revitalize America’s aging infrastructure. The law authorizes $1.2 trillion to be spent on transportation and infrastructure. $550 billion of that sum is set aside for new investments and projects, with the rest slated to rejuvenate existing infrastructure.

The need for this legislation was dire. It was enacted to address critical deficiencies in the nation’s roads, bridges, broadband networks, and more. And by re-investing in our country’s infrastructure, the law will simultaneously create jobs and foster economic growth.

IIJA Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by what this legislation means and how it will affect the AEC industry, you aren’t alone! Let’s review a few of the frequently asked questions about the IIJA to help provide some clarity on the law’s duration, scope, and strategic allocation of funds.

How Long Does IIJA Last?

This legislation was signed into law already over two years ago. You might be wondering how much longer this investment will last and how you can capitalize on this opportunity.

The IIJA is a substantial and long-term commitment, set to span over a five-year period. Funding is projected to last through 2026. And it’s important to note that even though we’re two years into the bill, 80% of competitive funding is still left to be awarded. So, there is still time for AEC firms to benefit and compete for these federally funded projects.

What Kinds of Projects Are Being Funded by the IIJA?

This legislation encompasses a diverse range of projects. These infrastructure projects cover a huge range, including:

  • Roads and bridges
  • Railways
  • Power grids
  • Airports
  • Climate change resilience projects
  • Electrical vehicles (EVs)
  • and more!

Where is IIJA Funding Going?

The allocation of IIJA funding follows a strategic distribution plan to target key areas of national infrastructure.

But don’t think that IIJA funding is just for megaprojects! Even if you’re a smaller firm, there are projects that could be a fit for you:

  • Over half of IIJA’s competitive awards have come in under $1 million
  • 29% of IIJA awards have been between $1 – $10 million.

How is the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Impacting AEC Firms?

It’s clear that the scope and impact of IIJA is far-reaching and will continue to impact AEC firms for several years to come. Let’s explore the many ways that the IIJA is influencing the industry.

1. Surge in Demand for AEC Services

As the IIJA channels substantial funds into diverse infrastructure projects, AEC firms are witnessing an unprecedented surge in demand for their services. From urban planning to environmental engineering, AEC professionals are at the forefront of shaping the nation’s future infrastructure.

2. Emphasis on Sustainability and Resilience

The IIJA places a significant emphasis on sustainable and resilient infrastructure, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change.

AEC firms are at the forefront of implementing green practices, energy-efficient designs, and resilient solutions in projects funded by the IIJA. This not only contributes to environmental stewardship but also positions AEC professionals as key contributors to the nation’s sustainability goals.

3. AEC Must Embrace Technology Advancements

To meet the ambitious goals set by the IIJA, AEC firms are integrating advanced technologies into their practices. The adoption of smart infrastructure solutions, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and other digital tools is becoming essential for efficiency, accuracy, and collaboration.

AEC professionals embracing these technological advancements are better positioned to excel in IIJA-funded projects.

4. Evolving Regulatory Compliance

The IIJA introduces new standards and regulations that AEC firms must navigate to ensure compliance. A thorough understanding of these regulatory changes is crucial for successful project execution.

AEC professionals need to adapt to evolving compliance requirements, ranging from environmental considerations to safety protocols, to thrive in the evolving landscape shaped by the IIJA.

5. Increased Need for Workforce Development

The IIJA’s commitment to job creation aligns with workforce development in the AEC sector. AEC firms are not only hiring to meet the increased demand for their services but are also focusing on skill development to ensure their workforce is equipped to handle the complexity of IIJA-funded projects. Training programs, apprenticeships, and collaboration with educational institutions are integral components of workforce development strategies.

5 Ways AEC Firms Can Prepare for IIJA in 2024

So, how can AEC firms prepare for IIJA’s impacts or get ready to compete for a project? Here are five steps we recommend you take.

1. Develop Comprehensive Training Programs

Since you know that the influx of work from IIJA will lead to demand for talent with specialized skills, prepare by developing a comprehensive training and onboarding program.

These programs should focus on both technical proficiencies, such as sustainable design practices, and essential soft skills like communication, strategic thinking, and relationship building.

2. Invest in Training Management Systems

Efficient reporting and tracking of training activities are essential for compliance and workforce development. AEC firms can invest in Learning Management Systems (LMS) to streamline the management of employee training and enhance operational efficiency.

An LMS provides a centralized platform for planning, tracking, and reporting training programs, ensuring that firms can demonstrate compliance with industry standards and regulatory requirements.

3. Strengthen CEU and License Maintenance Strategies

Maintaining Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and licenses is paramount in the AEC industry, where staying current with industry standards and regulations is non-negotiable.

AEC firms can implement robust strategies to track and manage CEUs for their workforce, ensuring that professionals remain compliant. Not to mention, offering this continuing education as a benefit to employees can help increase employee retention

4. Streamline Onboarding Processes

AEC firms can gain a competitive edge by establishing a well-defined onboarding program that ensures new team members can quickly integrate into projects, contributing to project timelines and overall efficiency. Investing in technology that improves onboarding training and orientation creates a positive new hire experience and sets employees up for long-term success with your firm.

5. Diversify Recruitment Strategies

One way to ramp up hiring programs to meet demand is to proactively diversify recruitment strategies. Collaborating with educational institutions, participating in industry events, and leveraging digital platforms can expand the talent pool.

Don’t Wait to Hire, Onboard & Train Your Teams

By adopting these proactive measures, AEC firms position themselves for success over the next few years.

Seize the moment by hiring diverse talent, streamlining onboarding with learning paths, and investing in comprehensive training.

With the market becoming increasingly competitive, can you afford to wait?

Employee Onboarding Guide for AEC Companies

Get your AEC workforce up to speed faster and increase long-term employee retention

vc ps mental health

Explore our software solutions designed to help your organization succeed

Request a demo