A Sydney-based engineering consultancy has topped a world league table of design outfits for at least the second year running.

With annual design revenue of $US4.558 billion ($AU4.89 billion), resource and infrastructure engineering services provider Worley Parsons topped Engineering News Record’s ENR Top 225 International Design Firms for 2014, as it did also in the previous year.

Worley was one of four Australia/New Zealand firms to make the top 50 and nine to make the top 100, with others in the top 50 including Brisbane-based oil and gas quality assurance outfit Cardno Ltd (26), Melbourne’s engineering outfit Aurecon (37), and Brisbane’s Ausenco (46).

With revenues of $US146.7 million, Auckland based consultancy Beca topped the list for New Zealand at 77.

worleyparsonsBorn out of the 1987 acquisition of the Australian assets of American based Worley by small local engineering consultancy Wholohan Grill and Partners and the subsequent acquisition of Parsons in 2004, Worley Parsons progressively expanded out of its hydrocarbon base into sectors such as power, infrastructure, environment, minerals and metals, and now operates in virtually every corner of the globe.

Earlier this year, the firm reorganised itself around three core business units: services (consulting), major projects and the vaguely defined ‘Improve’ unit responsible for asset management contracts in an effort to simplify its structure.

While the relatively high number of Australian and New Zealand firms within the top 100 is testament to the region’s ability to compete on the world stage in this area, 2013 also saw a number of local firms slip down in the rankings. This was partially because of the relatively slow year in building design but due more to the fact that firms involved in early stages of resource projects found work slip away in this area.

Aurecon, for example, tumbled 17 spots from 20 to 3; Ausenco dropped from 38 to 46.

Only Cardno, which rose from 29 to 26, bucked this trend.

All up, 2013 was a subdued year for the world’s largest 225 design companies, with overall revenue ($142.15 billion) rising just 1.5 per cent compared with 2012 and international revenue numbers hardly increasing at all.

Of total design revenues, just under half ($71.63 billion) came from projects outside their home markets.