Companies in this industry plan and design residential, institutional, leisure, and industrial buildings and spaces, as well as landscapes. Prominent firms include AECOM, BrightView, Gensler, HDR, and Skidmore Owings & Merrill (all based in the US), as well as Nikken Sekkei (Japan) and Stantec (Canada).
Worldwide, improving market conditions are helping boost construction investment and driving demand for architectural services. For many major firms, working globally is the norm. The top 30 architecture and design firms that export design services outside the US invoiced $2.7 billion in 2015, according to DesignIntelligence.
The US architecture industry includes about 26,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $35 billion.
Demand for architectural services depends heavily on the volume of residential and commercial construction. Because most costs are fixed, profitability depends on a constant inflow of work. Architectural firms are often small because there are few economies of scale in the industry: architectural design costs for a large company are typically greater than for a small company. The industry is highly fragmented: the 50 largest US firms account for about 20% of revenue.
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Building-related architectural services account for about 90% of industry revenue; landscape architecture accounts for about 10%. Among building-related services, nonresidential buildings account for about 75% of industry revenue. Residential buildings account for about 15%.
Architects prepare detailed plans that can be used by construction companies to build or modify...