Living Expenses for Firms in the A/E Industry Fell in 2011

Oct 21, 2011

Press Release: October 21, 2011 FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (October 21, 2011) – Goodbye to that swanky Midtown office space? Architecture, engineering, planning and environmental firms are spending less than previous years on rent and utilities. These “living expenses,” calculated per employee and as a percentage of the total budget, decreased from 2010 to 2011, reveals the ZweigWhite 2011-2012 Operating Expenses Survey. Rent and utility costs increase with each employee added (and consequently the amount of space required) by a firm. Overall, in 2008 firms spent a median of $5,891 per employee. This number increased each year, with firms spending $6,314 per employee in 2009 and $6,926 in 2010. In 2011, the median amount spent on rent and utilities per employee saw a drop to $6,573. When broken down by type, multidiscipline engineering firms spent the least amount on rent and utility costs per employee at a median of $5,783. Environmental consulting firms spent a median of $6,104 per employee, and full-service engineering or A/E firms spent $6,287. A/E (primarily architecture) spent $8,038, single-discipline engineering spent $8,091 and architecture/interior firms spent the most of all firm types at a median of $8,377 per employee. Overall, rent and utilities were a median of 6.3 percent of total costs, a slight drop from last year’s 6.4 percent. In 2009 and 2008, firms spent 5.8 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively. For more information on the 2011-2012 Operating Expenses Survey, visit

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Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.