June 13, 2012
Ontario Association of Architects expects steady sustainable design demands
A survey commissioned by the Ontario Association of Architects has found that the majority of practices-75 per cent-expect demand for sustainable design services to remain constant in coming years.
Sixty-two per cent of the 285 firms that responded to the online survey indicated they provide either design or consulting services in this sphere. Twenty-four per cent anticipate that their practice’s sustainable design services will grow in the years ahead.
The survey, conducted in late fall of 2011 by Framework Partners Inc., was intended to capture a snapshot of architectural firms in the province and to understand current market conditions including fees, types of projects and use of OAA resources.
Fifty-one per cent of respondents were sole practitioners, while another 32 per cent are corporations with a single owner. In all, 1,245 surveys were distributed. Two-thirds of survey respondents indicated they have a niche market focus, rather than being generalists.
Of the types of work undertaken, firms listed residential as being the most profitable, followed closely by commercial and then institutional.
More than 50 per cent of commissions came from private owners. Just over 90 per cent of firms’ work was completed in Ontario.
On the procurement side, practices reported that 45 per cent of projects involved the traditional design-bid-build model.
Asked to rate factors expected to have the most impact over the next five years, respondents cited niche/specialization followed closely by increased use of advanced technology and production of design.
Other factors that were mentioned were growth of Canadian markets, decreased fees and an increasing number of joint ventures with other firms on a project-by-project basis.
The survey was last conducted in 2002.
Asked whether the findings are reflective of the industry as a whole, given the profile of respondents, the association said the sector is “certainly” varied in terms of the focus of work of individual firms and their size “which makes it difficult to make a definitive statement as to the findings.”
The majority of architectural firms in the province are fact small, the association said.
“However the large firms do perform the bulk of the traditional work.”
The association, which also conducted a separate members’ survey, said results will play an important role in the governing council’s decision-making process regarding pursuit of specific initiatives as well as programs and policy development.
“The demographic data is vital to our advocacy efforts within industry, government and other client groups on behalf of the profession.”
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