Page 10

Page 9

ASLA 3rd Quarter Survey Finds Steady Economic Improvement for Landscape Architecture Firms

Compared to the second quarter 2010, your third quarter 2010 billable hours were: Significantly higher (more than 10%) - 9.9%; Slightly higher (5-10% higher) - 26.2%; About the same (plus or minus 5%) - 29.5%; Slightly lower (510% lower) - 18%; Significantly lower (more than 10%) 16.5%

A ''slow march towards economic recovery continues for landscape architecture firms,'' is how the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) terms the results of its third-quarter business survey. The survey, conducted October 11-24, with 465 firm representatives responding, reports more than half of responding landscape architecture firm leaders reported steady or increased billable hours and inquires for new work. These numbers represent the third quarter in a row of positive findings outpacing negative. According to the survey, two thirds (65.6 percent) of firm leaders reported steady or above billable hours in the third quarter of 2010. Similarly, seven in 10 (69.9 percent) reported steady or higher inquires for new work in the same period. These third-quarter findings, similar to the second quarter results, represent the fourth time in the previous five quarters where firms reported average or above levels of work. The relative optimism has not transferred into new jobs, with only 14.6 percent planning to hire in the upcoming quarter, down from 17.3 percent last quarter, but up from 11.8 percent this time last year. Like elsewhere in the economy, firm leaders appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach to hiring despite reporting an improved business climate. ''We continue to see incremental signs of improvement, like work from projects originally put on hold due to the recession,'' said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA. ''However, firms face significant hurdles due to lack of project financing and heavy competition for a still small new business pool.'' The survey also asked the landscape architects why clients choose sustainable design techniques. The top reasons include meeting government requirements (50.4 percent), saving money on utility or maintenance costs (43.1 percent), adding marketing cache (38.7 percent) and reducing environmental harm (38.1 percent).

“Worry is a waste of imagination�

Profile for Michael OConnell