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Foster + Partners tops AJ100 ranks for second year running

Norman Foster’s firm has retained the coveted pole position, while upstart AHMM bursts into the top ten in the AJ100 league table of UK practices

Foster + Partners has kept its top spot in the AJ100 league table, the definitive list of Britain’s biggest architecture firms.

Norman Foster’s firm remains well ahead of perennial chart-topper BDP a year after it took over pole position in the rankings, which are based on the number of qualified architects employed.

The practice boasts 45 more architects in the UK than BDP (still its nearest rival) employing 274 UK ARB-registered architects. The mainly London-based practice employs 912 staff in the UK, and 142 staff internationally across its eight offices. In the past year, Fosters’ overall turnover dipped marginally from £165 million to £162 million, though its fees for work in the UK edged up £3 million to £16 million. The profitability of its staff remains high, with UK architecture staff billing an average of £171,000 each in fees in 2012.

Elsewhere there have been impressive performances from a number of practices, including AHMM, which broke into this year’s top 10, adding 20 architects to its workforce and increasing turnover by almost two thirds to £16 million.

Manchester-based tall building supremo Ian Simpson Architects also made massive strides up the table, adding 19 architects and moving up from 70th to 28th position.

Due to the way the AJ100 rankings are now calculated, based on the number of ARB-registered architects, there have been a number of fallers, including Atkins, whose total number fell from 228 to 97.

Troubled global practice RMJM, once the biggest practice in the UK (see below), did not submit its figures this year.

RMJM Europe chief executive Jonathan French said: ’RMJM has not consciously avoided a submission to this illustrious league table but as you can appreciate recently all of our attention is focused on getting the business back on to a sound financial footing.

‘This is taking all of our energy and time. I am sure that in the future when we can put our current preoccupations with recovering the business behind us we will have the time to submit the required information such that we will once again appear on the AJ league table.’’

Number one AJ100 practices 1995-2013

2013   Foster + Partners
2012   Foster + Partners
2011   BDP
2010   BDP
2009   Atkins
2008   BDP
2007   BDP
2006   BDP
2005   BDP
2004   BDP
2003   BDP
2002   BDP
2001   BDP
2000   Sheppard Robson
1999   BDP
1998   BDP
1997   RMJM
1996   RMJM
1995   BDP

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