Architect makes warning after firm nosedived into the red last year

Dunard Centr Edinburgh - Chipperfield (6)

Source: David Chipperfield Architects

The practice’s Dunard Centre, Edinburgh, which won planning this year

David Chipperfield Architects has admitted that it will struggle to fill vacancies once the UK leaves the EU.

In its latest report and accounts, which were signed off at the end of last month, the practice said leaving the EU would hit its ability to hire staff from the bloc from which it currently derives around half of its 80 staff.

It added: “[In] leaving the EU with or without a substantive deal, the biggest risk is that relating to the employment status of current and potential future staff.

“We continue to have a stream of CVs from the EU. If this were to cease, we may struggle to fill vacancies and/or face higher wage inflation due to low supply in the market.”

The firm, which moved its London office last autumn from Waterloo to a block close to the Strand, blaming falling turnover, increased sub-consultant costs and providing for losses on future projects for sinking into the red last year.

It racked up a pre-tax loss of £1.1m for the 12 months to December 2018 from a £1.7m pre-tax profit in 2017. Turnover was down 19% to £6.9m.

In a note accompanying the accounts, the firm, which designed a new £45m concert hall in Edinburgh, added: “The company has been working very hard to win new work to replace a number of long-term projects which completed during the year.”

And it said: “We made provisions for future losses in some projects, partly based on a higher future costs base.”

But it said that, at the time of signing off the accounts, it had secured 86% of its 2019 budget which was “significantly” higher than 2018 income.

The UK remains the firm’s biggest source of revenue with £4.5m of turnover, down from £6m in 2017.