Bad debt sinks MBLA as tough trading conditions continue
Award-winning Manchester practice MBLA has become the latest outfit to go under as new figures show unemployment among architects is continuing to rise
The 24-year-old company, which once boasted a staff of 33 and traded under names including Mills Beaumont Leavey Channon, blamed non-payment of fees for its demise.
RIBA president elect Stephen Hodder, of Manchester-based Hodder Associates, described the studio’s closure as a ‘great loss’.
He added: ‘MBLA was a practice that really made contributions to communities. I find it alarming that really good companies are falling by the wayside. [Closures like this] will leave a void in the regions. It is quite distressing and shows we are in a two-speed country, with activity in London not witnessed elsewhere.’
A spokesman for MBLA confirmed the company, which is known for a raft of community housing schemes, health centres, the Lock apartments in Manchester (AJ 24.11.05) and for designing its own office (AJ 21.02.08), ceased trading last week. A creditors meeting is scheduled for Monday 8
The spokesman said: ‘The reason we have taken this very regrettable decision is primarily related to the non-payment of one large bad debt, which we have been unable to continue to absorb in these extremely tough trading conditions. The directors are exploring a number of opportunities moving forward to continue to support our clients and we hope to make an announcement in the near future.’
Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that the number of architects claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance rose for the second time in two months, up from 745 in June to 845 in August.
Meanwhile the latest Future Trends Survey results from the RIBA showed that a growing number of respondents were expecting to employ fewer permanent staff over the next three months – the RIBA Staffing Index fell to -3 in August 2012.