Given a challenging economic climate, many structural engineering and architecture firms are prospering despite increased competition for projects, smaller backlogs, and company restructuring. Fifty of these top firms are listed by revenue here in the Structural Engineering & Design Top Structural Engineering and Architecture Firms list. Twenty-five firms in each of the two categories are listed separately on the following pages.
Though these firms have employed a variety of tactics to survive — and even thrive — in this economy, one common theme is diversification. "As a firm, we have been forced to step out of our comfort zones to engage in marketing and business development strategies with new and existing clients," says Chris Taylor, AIA, LEED AP, Chief Practice Officer at HMC Architects of Los Angeles. "In these times, clients have to do more with less, and the strength of our relationships has been the lynchpin of our success. More clients are planning and renovating facilities rather than engaging in new construction, and we must be thoughtful in how we are packaging our services."
Timothy Haahs & Associates, Inc., of Blue Bell, Pa., has used the failing economy as an opportunity to expand their work to new markets overseas, particularly in the Middle East and Asia. "While pursuing these opportunities, our focus and direction remains the same — to provide master planning for parking and mixed-use developments while creating people places and urban revitalization," explains the firm president, Timothy H. Haahs, P.E., AIA. "We are looking forward to providing innovative solutions to our international clients."
Many architects and structural engineers feel the worst is over, though. "We see a slow improvement in the economy, and we are trying to be strategic but cautious," says Taylor of HMC Architects. "We are looking at key indicators in all of our core markets and trying to build differentiators for our firm to help position us when these market start to grow again." Haahs believes the recession has been beneficial for the AEC industry. "We believe the entire AEC industry will emerge more streamlined, more resilient, and more competitive," Haahs says. "Essentially, our teaming partners and our competition will be stronger and more efficient."
It will be interesting to see how revenue numbers change over the course of the next year — and which firms find a place on this list for 2011.