Portmanteaus words are a way to add colorful meaning to a thing or occurrence; some terms have become so commonly used they are part of our vocabulary. From the Chunnel to tween and medivac, these words inform us in a twitter-style efficiency. Entrepreneur Magazine often showcases portmanteaus words and the digital age has created many new ones like:

  • Cellfish – an individual who continues talking on their phone when it is clearly being rude or inconsiderate of other people
  • Internest – the cocoon of blankets and pillows you gather around yourself whilst spending long periods of time on the internet
  • Youniverse – a person who has knowledge only of him or herself
  • Nonversation – a completely worthless conversation; small talk
  • Screenagerthe typical adolescent who indulges excessively in screen entertainment
  • Masturdating – going out alone to dinner or a movie
  • Badvertising – poorly crafted marketing
  • Hangry – hungry and angry (an often used term at my house)
  • Snark – snide remark, often used to call someone snarky

Our AEC industry has their own:

  • Hazmat – hazardous materials
  • Transistor – combination of transfer and resistor
  • Cineplex – cinema combined with the complex that houses the theater
  • Cafetorium – the multi-use space of cafeteria and auditorium
  • Imagineering –  a mixture of imagination and engineering
  • Workaholic –  an architect who has a job
  • Pleather – the value engineering result when we can’t afford leather
  • Meld – when you want welding but you get melting
  • Bankster – who developers can obtain their gap financing from

And, the latest portmanteaus word for our industry is:

  • Feastability – a combination of fee, feast and stability

As the construction market continues to thrive in 2017, we are seeing an emerging pattern in which established firms are experiencing more stability than they did since the recession. As these firms continue to expand and benefit from a more financially stable position, they are being more selective of the projects they choose to pursue and their fees are normalizing / increasing.

When project opportunities increase at a steady pace, as we are seeing now, there is a feasting in the market. As a result, newcomers to the industry are on the rise, primarily in the architecture and engineering sectors. Talented individuals are finding it an ideal time to spin off and establish their own companies. This creates a significant fee gap between established, stable firms and the, smaller more nimble firm.

To complicate matters further, the increased cost in construction is placing a pinch on project budgets. Owners are faced with the reality that previously prepared budgets, even as recent as just a year ago, have not kept pace with pricing in today’s market. This harsh project budget reality complicates procuring highly-qualified teams. Architects and owner’s representatives are often first procured for a project; and as an owner’s representative I can tell you that few owners are comfortable starting their projects with a service provider’s fee set higher than what was originally budgeted. They are often caught in a situation to make decisions between moving a project forward with the low number, or hiring the highly qualified, stable team. We believe a trend is emerging where firms are sometimes winning work based off their proposed lowest-fee as a necessity to move to keep projects moving forward, not because they were necessarily the first choice.

“The School District really wanted to hire ORTAGKKZ, but due to feastability, they went with Jim’s School Studio, LLC instead.”

~ Paul Wember, Owner’s Representative