Growing fees and falling architects

Top architectural firms becoming more efficient

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Columbia’s largest architecture firms grew an average of 20% in the past year, according to data on Business in Vancouver’s Biggest Architecture Firms in Metro Vancouver list (page 16).

The average architectural fees charged by the largest firms in 2018 nearly doubled to $11.6 million last year compared with $6.7 million in 2014.

Eighth-ranked HCMA Architecture + Design recorded the biggest one-year increase in architectural fees on the list: up 42% to $10 million in 2018 from $7 million in 2017. Dialog, No. 7 on the list, posted the steepest decline in fees: down 36.8% to $12 million in 2018 from $19 million in 2017.

The five largest architecture firms on BIV’s list recorded a slightly lower average growth rate than the list as a whole, increasing only 19.64% in 2018 from 2017. Since 2014, fees generated by the five largest architecture firms have grown 148.67%.

Despite the increase in architectural fees, the number of architects working at the province’s top five firms fell an average of 8.5%.

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Most of the decline in the number of architects has occurred over the past year.

When looking over the past five years, the number of architects has dropped only 2.5% for the largest firms.

Increased fees in conjunction with fewer architects means B.C.’s largest firms are becoming more efficient.

Architectural fees per architect skyrocketed for B.C.’s largest architecture firm. No. 1 Kasian’s fees per architect grew 531.9% to $1.9 million in 2018 from $304,348 in 2017.

The firm with the second-highest increase in fees per architect – 19.6% in 2018 from 2017 – was No. 3 Stantec Architecture Ltd.