AIA Report Shows Firms Practicing Green Design Nearly Doubled Since ’05

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Business of Architecture: AIA Survey Report on Firm Characteristics, which is conducted every three years to examine issues related to the business practices of AIA member-owned architecture firms, shows sizeable gains in the number of firms doing green design projects, as well as those using Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. 

“While architecture firms are struggling considerably as the current economic slump continues unabated, there were extensive increases in revenue for the profession during the period this survey covered,” says AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Of particular note, the survey revealed that the number of firms practicing green design has nearly doubled since 2005. The use of BIM software has also doubled in the last three years.”

According to the study, 50 percent of architecture firms report green design practices, up from 31 percent of firms in 2005. Firms with 10 to 49 employees had the biggest gains in green design work, which increased from 48 percent to 72 percent in the last three years.

The study also showed that in the three-year period leading up to the current recession, gross billings at U.S. architecture firms increased nearly $16 billion from 2005 and totaled $44.3 billion in 2008. This equates to 54 percent growth over the three-year period with annual growth of about 16 percent.

The top ten sectors served by architects in 2008 were:
Healthcare: 18.2%
Office space: 11.3%
Education (K-12): 9.0%
Education (college/university): 9.0%
Retail, food services: 8.4%
Government / civic: 5.9%
Hospitality: 4.8%
Industrial: 3.6%
Transportation: 2.9%
Recreational: 2.3%
Other highlights from the survey included:

·The share of firms that have obtained BIM software has increased from 34 percent in 2005 to 69 percent in 2008;

·Nearly two-thirds of construction projects begun in 2008 had sustainable design features;

·New construction accounts for nearly two-thirds of design projects;

·Traditional design-bid-build delivery method is most widely used by architecture firms;

·International projects accounted for 7 percent of billings and totaled slightly more than $3 billion in revenue in 2008.
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