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Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022
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Architecture Firms Ramp Up With 9% Billings Increase

Orange County’s architecture firms combined for a 9.1% increase in local billings this year following a modest 1.6% increase in local billings last year, and are on track to return to the 13% surge they had in 2013.

The 40 largest firms with headquarters or significant operations in the county generated $474.3 million in billings through their local offices for the 12 months through June. That compared with $434.6 million last year, according to the Business Journal’s list.

Employee counts at the firms showed a nearly 15% increase, jumping from 2,354 to 2,703. That follows a 0.8% drop in last year’s employee figure. The number of licensed architects rose by 1.3% to 474.

Seven firms said their local billings dropped, and 22 reported increases. The Business Journal estimated figures for the 11 other companies.

• Irvine-based LPA Inc. kept the No. 1 spot—the firm has remained at the top of the list for almost a decade—with a 10% increase in local billings and a nearly 22% increase in employees.

LPA provides design and planning services to the education, civic and corporate sectors. It reported $48.5 million in local billings for the 12 months ended in June. LPA is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

“Along with our Irvine office, LPA has four other locations in California and one in Texas. We have seen growth that is more than 25% from 2014 in all market segments,” LPA President Dan Heinfeld said in an email. “Not only is our firm’s revenue increasing, what is more exciting is the scale and types of projects that we are being awarded and working on have never been better at the firm. There are many reasons for this, though fundamentally, it’s great clients who are entrusting the talented people at LPA with their projects.”

• MVE + Partners Inc. in Irvine dropped from its usual No. 2 spot to No. 5 this year. The firm reported a 23.5% decline in billings, which followed a 10.3% decline last year. It added one worker.

• Irvine-based Taylor Design showed the largest increase in billings with an 80% jump. It had $18.7 million in local billings this year, up from $10.4 million last year, and jumped one spot on the list to No. 11.

President Randy Regier said the increase in billings is primarily due to the award of a significant job in Los Angeles—the design of the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center renovation project. The center’s website says the renovations will cost $418 million.

Pasadena-based Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. is leading the construction portion of the Rancho Los Amigos project, according to a news release.

It is No. 17 on the Business Journal’s list of engineering firms (see related story, page 18).

No. 11, Taylor Design focuses most of its work in the healthcare market segment.

“The healthcare market has changed significantly,” Regier said. “It’s been sitting quiet for the last couple of years while institutions were trying to figure out what the impact of the Affordable Care Act would be, but we have seen a lot of pent-up demand recently. We’ve seen the most growth here in Orange County and Irvine specifically.”

• Los Angeles-based AECOM, No 10, also reported a large increase in billings. It had a 73% jump with $19.6 million in local billings.

The international firm has 150 offices, including in Irvine and Orange. Companywide billings for the 12 months ended in June were $19 billion, according to its website.

• PJHM Architects in Laguna Hills is a newcomer to the list this year, returning at No. 14—it made an appearance on the Business Journal’s 2012 list. The firm reported $8.6 million in local billings during the list period, a 14% increase over $7.5 million.

• Irvine-based Jeffrey Rome & Associates slowed its growth rate, falling from No. 9 to No. 12. It had a 2.8% increase in local billings, down from the previous period’s boost of nearly 80%.

• Columbus, Ohio-based WD Partners Inc., No. 34, reported the largest drop in billings with a 40% decline. It took in $3.3 million in billings compared to $5.5 million the previous period.

The firm increased its local employees by 33% despite the decrease in billings. Only two of its 32 OC employees are licensed architects.

It has an office in Irvine but also focuses on retail branding with international clients, such as Whole Foods Market, McDonald’s, Gatorade, and Walmart.

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