Hiring highest since 2008; billable hours and inquires rise.
WASHINGTON – Market conditions continued to improve for landscape architecture firms, with firm leaders reporting renewed optimism for billable hours, inquiries and hiring in the first quarter of 2011, according to an American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Business Quarterly survey.
More than two thirds of firm leaders (67.9 percent) reported stable or higher billable hours in the first quarter of 2011, an increase from 59.6 percent last quarter and 56.4 percent this time last year. Three out of four (76.6 percent) respondents reported stable or rising inquiries for new work in Q1 2011, up from 59.4 percent last quarter and 72.2 percent from Q1 2010.
Hiring also increased, with 30.5 percent of respondents planning to hire in the upcoming quarter, up from 20.7 percent last quarter and 21.6 percent this time last year. In addition, 10.3 percent of respondents plan to hire an entry level landscape architect.
“Though we typically see an increase in activity during the first quarter, the number of firms planning to hire is the highest since 2008 – reflecting a slow, long-term recovery in the marketplace,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville.
The survey also asked firm leaders about current up planned projects using various green rating systems. The most popular were LEED Rating Systems (except for LEED ND), with 56.4 percent of firms reporting current or planned projects using the system, followed by LEED ND (27.8 percent), the Sustainable Sites Initiative (21.1 percent) and the National Green Building Standard (14.1 percent).