2009 was a year many working in the Southeast’s construction and design industry would rather forget. While contractors of all types certainly suffered, many architects and other designers felt the pain just as intensely, as the number of business opportunities fell away with the receding markets. At the same time, some engineers and other designers were able to keep busy last year with projects that moved forward as the result of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.

Overall, however, it’s not surprising to find that this year’s Top Design Firms ranking shows a significant decline from a year ago. Last year, Southeast Construction’s annual design ranking included 90 firms and a cumulative total of about $3.8 billion in regional design revenues for 2008. The revenue total for this year’s ranking, which measures 2009 business activity, is down to roughly $2.9 billion.

The Top Design Firms ranking is based upon company-provided information indicating each firm’s billings from the preceding calendar year for projects located in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

In addition to the main ranking—which is an all-inclusive listing of both architects and engineers—we’ve also included subcategory rankings that provide further insights about various design disciplines and market sectors.

The Ranking

The decline starts at the top of this year’s ranking. CH2M Hill of Atlanta—which repeats in first place from last year—reported $320.2 million in 2009 billings from the four-state region. That’s down from last year, when the firm listed $486.7 million in revenue.

PBS&J of Tampa moved up from third to second place this year, but its revenues were down as well, to $289 million from the $338 million it reported last year.

AECOM Technology Corp. of Coral Gables, Fla., placed third, with nearly $278.9 million in 2009 Southeast revenue, down from 368.7 million a year ago.

But the numbers weren’t depressed for every firm.

This year’s fourth-place firm, MACTEC of Alpharetta, Ga., saw its revenues remain relatively stable compared to a year ago, with about $171.5 million during ‘09. And ARCADIS/Malcolm Pirnie reported increased billings, with about $162.9 million in Southeast revenue, up from the $159.8 million it listed a year ago.

We invite you to read on, and check out how this collection of designers is faring through these tough market conditions.

To be included in future surveys, please either email me at Scott_Judy@mcgraw-hill.com, or our database manager, Richard Mui, at Richard_Mui@mcgraw-hill.com.