PRACTICE SIZE IS NO MEASURE OF SUCCESS OR QUALITY
Small practices are not the only ones with misgivings about the AJ100 (Letters, AJ 31.05.07). Bennetts Associates is one of several larger firms that does not take part in the survey because of the emphasis on size - in our view no guide to quality or success.
Moreover, the figures in the survey are misleading. Foster + Partners, for example, declares only 236 UK-registered architects, so what do the other 700 employees do?
Even more misleading is the idea that the total income of the firm is then attributed to the UK-registered architects as if they are the only fee-earners, resulting in £300,000 fee income per architect. In addition, the survey tells us that so-and-so has plummeted 10 places since last year, the implied failure being as unwelcome as it is irrelevant to architectural practice.
Many architects have chosen to limit the size of their firms or the speed of their growth to ensure that architectural quality remains the dominant force within their businesses. Surveys such as the AJ100 would do better to recognise the importance of the awards, repeat business, low staff turnover and other characteristics that mark out those architects who really are the most successful.
Rab Bennetts, Bennetts Associates