Average net architectural fees fall in B.C. after 2018 high

Number of architects at the province’s top firms has dropped to lowest level since 2013

After peaking in 2018, the average net fee charged by British Columbia’s largest architectural firms has fallen to slightly above 2017 levels, according to data collected on BIV’s Biggest Architecture Firms in Metro Vancouver list (page 14).

The average net architectural fee sank 21% to $9.4 million in 2019 from $11.9 million in 2018. Despite the recent slide, the average net architectural fee has grown by 19.2% from $7.8 million in 2015.

Of the list’s top five firms, No. 1 IBI Group had the largest five-year growth in fees. It recorded a 75% increase to $35 million in 2019 from $20 million in 2015. IBI also recorded the largest one-year growth in fees among the top five, gaining 12.9% from $31 million in 2018.

No. 4 HDR had the top five’s steepest one-year decline in fees: a 23% drop to $10 million in 2019 from $13 million in 2018.

Prior to 2019, the average net architectural fee was steadily growing, but some of the top five firms did not share the same growth trend. The net architectural fees for HDR and No. 5 Dialog peaked in 2017 and fell in the following years.

While average architectural fees recorded by the companies on BIV’s list are the second-highest in the past five years, the average number of architects employed by those firms has moved in the opposite direction, falling to its lowest level since 2013. The average number of architects tumbled 24.3% to 13.4 employees in 2020 from 17.7 in 2013.