Design firms across the Northwest continued to see tough market conditions, but there were signs of improvement as 2009 came to a close.
Revenue of the top 44 firms totaled $1.48 billion in 2009, up more than 5% over 2008 revenue. Despite this slight gain in revenue, design staffs were still gutted in 2009, meaning fewer licensed designers produced the same amount of revenue. The number of licensed architects reported by this year’s top 44 firms shrank by 37% from last year, while the number of engineers dropped a mere 1%.
Firms reported a 7% rise in design revenue coming from projects located in Washington, with a total of $841.3 million in 2009. Alaska jumped over 50% to $352.7 million. But these gains were tempered by design work in Oregon, which dropped 21.7% from the previous year to $367.3 million.
Design revenue specializing in educational projects rose 25% over the previous year to $89.7 million, while health care was up 6% to just over $70 million. Retail was cut in half to just $26.8 million. Transportation design work saw a huge jump, more than doubling in 2009 to over $409 million. Sewer/water supply work also saw big gains, increasing nearly 60% over 2008.
Among disciplines, architectural revenue was unsurprisingly down over 17% in 2009, while nearly all engineering specialties rose. For example, civil engineering revenue hit $331 million, a 40% gain over the previous year.
Green building revenue was flat in 2009 compared to 2008, at just over $101 million. The number of LEED-accredited or equivalent professionals rose to 881 in 2009, an impressive figure considering there were 1,939 licensed professionals among the top 44 firms.
Turn to page 43 for our exclusive Top Green Design Firms ranking.
Data was submitted voluntarily by firms via an online survey. If you wish to participate in future rankings, please visit our website or email Richard_mui@mcgraw-hill.com.