Architecture fees up at Metro Vancouver’s largest firms

Fees received by firms in 2020 rebound from 16.8% decline in 2019

Metro Vancouver’s biggest architectural firms have managed to grow during the pandemic, according to data collected on Business in Vancouver’s list of the biggest architecture firms in Metro Vancouver (https://biv.com/lists).

Over the past year, average fees increased 4.1% to $10.3 million in 2020 from $9.9 million in 2019. That was a rebound from the 16.8% decline that companies on BIV’s list experienced in 2019 when their average architectural fees dropped from their $11.9 million peak in 2018.

The median architectural fees followed a similar trend. They peaked in 2018, growing 15.4% to $7.5 million from $6.5 million in 2017. In 2019, median architectural fees decreased slightly. But median architectural fees grew nearly twice that of the average: up 8.1% to $8 million in 2020. This suggests that smaller firms lower on the list grew more than larger companies higher on the list. 

While architectural fees have grown over the past five years, employment at Metro Vancouver’s largest architecture firms has not.

Between 2017 and 2020, the number of architects employed at B.C.’s top firms fell 15.6%.  The median number dropped 40% over the five-year period ending 2020, but recovered to 2017 levels with a 66.7% rebound to 15 architects in 2020 from nine in 2019.