Architect warns turnover will fall again this year
Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners (RSHP) has posted a drop in turnover and profit and warned income is likely to fall again this year.
The information was revealed in accounts finally lodged at Companies House after the practice was threatened with being struck off for late filing.
In the accompanying notes, Richard Rogers’ practice - which last year laid off 15 staff because of stalling projects - again flagged up worries about Brexit.
RSHP said it expected the UK’s departure from the EU to hit its ability to bring in staff from Europe as well as harming its chances of winning work there.
Workloads, which fell 10% in 2018, look set to fall further this year, with the architect warning that the ongoing impasse over Brexit and the “ever-changing fashion for constructing buildings” are eating into its turnover.
After the UK, Europe is the architect’s second biggest market with the firm carrying out £6.3m of business in the region last year.
In a note accompanying its latest annual accounts for the year to June 2018 the firm said: “We continue to be worried about how [Brexit] will affect not only our own recruitment and retention of the best architectural talent from across the eurozone but how it will affect the wider UK architecture industry.
“Of particular concern will be our ability to compete for EU public building commissions in a post-Brexit world.”
Rogers made his name after winning the competition to design the Pompidou Centre in Paris with Renzo Piano in the 1970s.
RSHP, which is based in the Cheesegrater building it designed in the City of London, has close to 190 staff – down from 209 following a redundancy programme – who come from 25 different countries.
It added: “Our practice seeks out the best young talent in the world. [But] this ability may now be hampered by the consequences of the Brexit negotiations.”
RSHP also warned it expected turnover to fall again for its current financial year which closes at the end of this month.
In the accounts, which were signed off last week, it said: “Our current projections indicate the forecast turnover could further decline in the current year as we see a constriction in the UK market with a greater percentage of turnover coming from outside the UK.”
>> Also read: Richard Rogers confirms job losses at RSHP
It added Brexit and the “ever-changing fashion for constructing buildings…have all contributed to the level of uncertainty and anticipated reduction in turnover”. Business in the UK fell more than a quarter last year to just under £10m.
The firm, which has now completed work on the Macallan Distillery in Scotland, for which it won a RIAS award for last month, and a new spy museum in Washington DC, said trading in the period had been “tough”. It saw overall turnover slip 10% to £29.6m. Pre-tax profit was down a third to just over £5m.