The AIA today released its April 2010 ABI report showing that billings once again improved (read the story at ContractDesign.com). But is business really getting better? Contract reached out to several of it's A&D contacts today to find out. Here are some responses:
"We are pleased to be seeing some positive change. Our March 2010 billings were up 20 percent over March 2009, the highest since this recession began in October of ’08. As the recovery continues, we remain cautiously optimistic."
— David Mourning, AIA, IIDA, President and CEO
"HOK’s experience matches the overall trend shown in the Architecture Billings Index. Our revenue has been ‘flat’ since late 2009, but we’ve seen an increase in the number of new opportunities and have been fortunate to secure many of them. I believe this will be a very slow recovery in the private sector, because businesses are still very reluctant to add people – and job growth is the single largest driver in commercial real estate, design, and construction. Some of our best prospects include health care – where major institutions have re-established funding for their capital needs – Federally-funded public projects, and development in growing economies like India and China."
–Clark Davis, FAIA, Vice Chairman, HOK
“It’s clear that the economy is improving and we’re starting to see more confidence in a number of our key markets. Like most practices of our size, the last two years were challenging, but our diversity and global spread helped us weather the storm. In fact, we used the opportunity to expand our footprint outside the United States and to strengthen our position in those domestic markets that remained somewhat buoyant, like healthcare and Federal work. We continue to be optimistic, especially as work in Asia continues to be robust and we’re still finding opportunities in the Middle East, but the commercial domestic markets still look like they will take some time to rebound.”
–Lance K Josal FAIA, President and CEO, RTKL Associates Inc.
"Although there is increased optimism in certain sectors as project funding becomes available again, many designers continue to struggle in a marketplace increasingly dominated by the largest firms. The recent hyper competitiveness has driven fees downward, and many firms are rapidly depleting whatever capital cushions they had. It's still scary out there."
— Steve McCollom, Principal, McCollom Consulting
"We began to see the market thaw in the last quarter of '09 and we continue to be cautiously optimisitc for the year ahead. While we are not expecting robust growth, we are hiring across the firm–we have 63 open positions up on our website as of today–and we are seeing an uptick in work across sectors including Government, Education and Interiors. In addition, markets showing strong growth include China, Korea, Singapore, the Middle East and Brazil."
— David Gensler, Executive Director, Gensler
What has business been like at your firm? Do you see recovery on the road ahead? Let us know. E-mail email@example.com or comment below.