Despite losing close to half its billings value in 2002 at $37.5 million from $64 million in 2001 DMJM Design remains the largest architecture firm in Los Angeles County.
DMJM’s drop in billings resulted in an overall 2.5 percent decline for the top 25 firms on the list, to $472.6 million. Taking DMJM out of the mix, the top 25 would have registered a 3.4 percent gain.
Despite flat growth overall, three architectural firms reported gains of more than 35 percent.
HOK showed the largest billings increase, at 59 percent, to $16.9 million.
Anshen + Allen’s 43.6 percent increase in billings, to $20.1 million, brought the firm up 10 spots to No. 9.
Fields Devereaux moved up four spots to No. 12 with a 40 percent increase in billings over 2001, to $17.3 million.
Behind DMJM, Canon Design saw the second largest drop, with a 27.5 percent decrease to $12 million. The firm slid nine spots to No. 22.
For the 13th year in a row DMJM is the largest architectural firm in Los Angeles County. The title was hard won, however, with a 41 percent decline in billings from last year.
DMJM President Ray Landy cited in part the weak office market for the sharp dropoff. “The L.A. office market is really soft,” he said. “The market has been flat, if not decreasing.”
Other factors, he said, was reorganization of the engineering department and a reallocation of projects with parent company AECOM. “We consolidated our engineering with the group in Orange County so the billings are coming out of there instead of L.A.,” he said.
In response to the sluggish private sector, DMJM has focused on the public sector, especially educational projects, including current work with the Los Angeles Unified School District and L.A. Community College.
DMJM has also been looking internationally for work, with large mixed-use and leisure projects in China, the Middle East and Chile.
Given current vacancy rates and the soft marketplace, Landy said that DMJM would continue to focus on the public and international sector.
“We’re holding tight for 2003,” he said. “I don’t see a significant improvement in the private sector. It’s not going to change for the next year or so.”