Crick Institute architect posts fourth annual operating deficit

HOK International has reported its fourth annual operating loss in a row, with the architect pointing the finger at economic uncertainty caused in the run-up to Brexit.

The practice, which has yet to lodge its latest figures with Companies House, said turnover for the year to 29 December 2017 remained flat at £19.4m and reported an operating loss of £454,580. Gross profit fell 7% to £8m.

A spokesman said HOK managed to cut the majority of its operating deficit, which last year came in at £2.3m, by “better management of projects”, while the firm’s headcount was reduced from 146 to 136.  

Dan Hajjar, managing principal for HOK’s London studio, said: “Many of the challenges we navigated last year were common in the wider architecture sector, such as uncertainty around the economy. We need a government plan for Brexit, so we as a business can plan for Brexit.”

HOK declined to comment on the status of a problem job in the Middle East, highlighted last year, while the currency fluctuations which had also taken their toll in the firm last year had remained “broadly neutral”.

Hajjar said he had been encouraged by a shift in recent market conditions, with 2018 seeing “an uptick” in the firm’s performance.

Recent project wins include a new 15,000-seater arena for Valencia Basket Club in Spain and the Gateshead Arena and Convention Centre masterplan in the UK, while the firm is currently working on the decade-long £32m Old Bailey revamp.

HOK London recently appointed Trina Marshall from CBRE as a principal and regional leader of consulting, and David Weatherhead, a former project leader at PLP, who joins as architecture project leader.