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Economic Conditions Improve for Landscape Architecture Firms
Hiring highest since 2008; billable hours and inquiries also rise
2011-04-26

Washington, D.C., April 26, 2011 – Market conditions continued to improve for landscape architecture firms, with firm leaders reporting renewed optimism for billable hours, inquiries and hiring in Q1 2011 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, Hon. ASLA.

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).

 Business Quarterly Q1 2011 Chart

Compared to the fourth quarter 2010, your first quarter 2011 billable hours were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 12.9%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 25.7%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 29.3%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 14.7%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 17.4%

Compared to the fourth quarter 2010, your first quarter 2011 inquiries for new work were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 17.4%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 32.0%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 27.2%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 11.7%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 11.7%

Year to year, compared to the first quarter in 2010, your first quarter 2011 billable hours were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 16.6%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 26.6%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 21.1%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 15.4%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 20.2%

Year to year, compared to the first quarter in 2010, your first quarter 2011 inquiries for new work were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 20.2%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 27.9%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 23.9%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 12.6%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 15.3%

Do you plan on hiring any employees in the second quarter of 2011 (multiple answers)?
Yes, we’ll be hiring an experienced landscape architect – 6.0%
Yes, we’ll be hiring an entry-level landscape architect – 10.3%
Yes, we’ll be hiring an intern – 8.2%
Yes, we’ll be hiring support staff – 4.5%
Yes, we’ll be hiring other design/architecture/engineering staff – 7.6%
Yes, we’ll be hiring other staff – 5.7%
No, we’re not currently hiring – 69.5%

Do you have any projects, current or planned, that use the following green rating systems? (Percent answering yes)
Sustainable Sites Initiative – 21.1%
LEED Rating Systems (except for LEED ND) – 56.4%
LEED ND – 27.8%
Living Building Challenge – 6.4%
National Green Building Standard – 14.1%
Greenroads – 7.4%
Green Globes – 3.0%
Project Rating for Infrastructure Sustainability and Management – 5.1%

About the Survey
The ASLA Business Quarterly survey asks quarterly benchmarks on key statistics including billable hours, inquiries and hiring plans. The Q1 2011 national survey was fielded April 7 through 22, with 339 firm representatives responding.



contact

Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371
ktgrajales@asla.org
@ktgrajales

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