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MEP Giants revenue increases, along with staffing concerns

The 2017 MEP Giants gross revenue increased as compared with last year, likely due to company mergers and larger and more varied projects. MEP/FP design revenue also increased.

Amara Rozgus and Amanda Pelliccione, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, CFE Media
08/10/2017

Among those employed by the 2017 MEP Giants, there are 22,808 mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and environmental engineers (a slight increase from last year’s 21,900). Nonengineering staff comprises 134,802 employees, which is a decrease from the previous year’s reported 141,203 people. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying EngineerThe 2017 MEP Giants generated approximately $47.65 billion in gross annual revenue during the previous fiscal year, a slight increase from last year's numbers, in which firms generated $47.43 billion. In 2015, MEP Giants firms generated $41.89 billion in gross revenue. This year, the MEP Giants earned $6.33 billion in mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection (MEP/FP) engineering design revenue, a 3.6% increase over 2016 revenue of $6.11 billion.

Several companies either joined the list for the first time or returned after an absence in reporting data: Integral Group (No. 25), NV5 Global (No. 44), tk1sc (No. 46), Southland Industries (No. 51), Primary Integration Solutions Inc. (No. 54), Michaud Cooley Erickson (No. 61), Dunham Associates Inc. (No. 62), LiRo Engineers Inc. (No. 80), kW Mission Critical Engineering (No. 87), and POND (No. 98).

Top 10 firms are listed by MEP design revenue. Jacobs topped the list as the No. 1 firm—as it has since 2013—with 14% of its gross revenue dedicated to MEP design. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying EngineerThe list this year comprises 64% private companies, 24% employee-owned companies, 7% limited-liability companies, and 5% public companies. This is nearly identical to last year's data.

Several mergers and acquisitions occurred in the past year (23%, which was a slight uptick from the previous year of 21%), changing the name and face of many companies and moving some firms up the list due to a larger combined revenue.

Table 1 shows the top firms based on MEP design revenue, which is how the MEP Giants are ranked. Table 2 shows the top MEP Giants firms based on total gross revenue. The complete table of rankings is provided at www.csemag.com/giants

This shows the top 10 firms by gross annual revenue. MEP design revenue is less than one-quarter at all of these firms, indicating the breadth of their engineering work. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying EngineerAbout 58.3% of all 2017 MEP Giants' revenue is generated from MEP design, with an average MEP design revenue of $63.33 million per firm, a slight increase from the past fiscal year, in which average design revenue was reported at $61.11 million per firm.

In a change from past years, 24% of companies reported "staffing: quality of young engineers" as their biggest challenge. In past reports, participants indicated that "the economy's impact on the construction market" was the greatest challenge, which fell to second place among challenges this year at 14%. This shift is large; 26% of firms indicated the economy was a challenge in 2016 MEP Giants data, indicating that the economy's rebound is no longer top of mind. Other challenges for 2017 MEP Giants included "evolving information technologies for design or project management" at 12% and "staffing: keeping older engineers trained/current" at 6%. 

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