I just received your "1999 Construction & Design Survey" issue (March 22, p. 23). As a healthcare architect, I always find the issue fascinating-if somewhat amusing-reading.
Every year my office receives a copy of your survey and follow-up notices, but we refrain from spending our time providing the requested information. Our concern is that even our impressive office statistics will present a skewed showing against the more "creative" survey respondents.
The survey needs more precise and stringent rules for providing information, so that it becomes a more meaningful document for your readers. Some independent validation may be in order, because there are too many baffling anomalies in the relationship between square feet completed, dollar volume completed, firm fees and the number of architects. These relationships are important indicators of any design firm's profile, activity and profitability. The wide disparity of these statistics in some of the ranked firms leads one to question the consistency of the information and casts doubt on conclusions drawn.
I recognize that you make a serious effort to provide a service to your readers in collecting survey data, but until information-gathering criteria are better defined and independently validated, my office will continue to be a curious observer rather than an eager participant.
Norman Rosenfeld Architects