1 Undershaft architect says vote to leave EU could hit availability of products

The architect behind the planned tallest building in the City of London has warned that last year’s Brexit vote might impact on the quality of buildings going up in the UK.

Eric Parry Architects’ 73-storey tower at 1 Undershaft (pictured) was given planning last November and will be close to 305m tall when built.

But in a report accompanying the firm’s latest report and accounts, Parry said “there was a sense of rejection” in his office after last June’s vote to leave the EU and warned: “Many of our commercial buildings rely on the quality of products purchased in Europe and we fear the risk of the quality of our buildings this uncertainty [leaving the EU] brings.”

The bespoke cladding market is dominated by big European suppliers and in March Canary Wharf developer Sir George Iacobescu also flagged up fears about materials, adding that the UK construction industry needed to start producing home-grown materials if firms were not to be crippled by materials price hikes caused by a weak pound.

Parry also said the firm wants to take on more work outside the UK in the future. “We would like to expand our horizons working beyond the limits of London and the UK,” he added.

In the year to July 2016, revenue from overseas stood at £151,500 – just 1.5% of its annual turnover.

Income at the firm rose just over £200,000 to £9.2 million although pre-tax profits slipped 41% to £877,000. The firm, which has 93 staff, said the fall was down to start-up costs for an office it opened in Singapore. Staff costs at the business rose from £5.4 million to £5.8 million.

The salary of the highest paid director, who is not named, was £307,660 – down from the £322,333 he picked up last time.

The new skyscraper at 1 Undershaft, which is being masterminded by Singaporean developer Aroland Holdings and has been dubbed the ‘Trellis Tower’ for its criss-cross façade, will take the title of the Square Mile’s tallest tower from the Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners-designed Leadenhall Building when completed.