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AJ100: Overseas earnings plummet

Early results from the AJ100 annual survey have revealed a shocking drop in overseas architecture fees of 18 per cent, and a smaller drop in UK architecture fees of 5 per cent

The figures will be revealed in full in the AJ100 issue (19 May), which tracks the business performance of the UK largest 100 practices.

The findings suggest that, while the proportion of income earned by the AJ100 practices overseas has remained stable at 15 per cent, the actual amount earned abroad has fallen off significantly.

Of the 72 companies which provided overseas fee data for both 2009 and 2010, total fee income fell by almost a fifth from £717.6 million to £586.6 million.

Meanwhile of the 80 practices which provided UK fee data for both years, the aggregate income dropped from £710.9 million in 2009 to £675.2 million in 2010, a 5 per cent decline.

Bruce Tether, professor of design and innovation at Imperial College London, who undertakes the research into fees for the AJ, says the data also suggested that larger practices’ earnings had dropped more sharply than smaller firms.

He said: ‘There is evidence that larger players are earning less, while the smaller players who remain in the AJ100 have maintained their earnings.’

Asked how they expected profit margins to be in 2011, compared with 2010, most practices felt there would be little change, although there was greater optimism regarding overseas work.

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