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Christine Murray introduces the AJ100 for 2012

The AJ100 has proved remarkably hardy and nimble. Congrats to members and winners

They vary in size tremendously, from employing 19 qualified architects in the UK, to a staggering 304. Together they represent the hard work of 5,639 architects, equivalent to nearly one out of every five UK architects registered with the ARB.

Welcome to the AJ100, and our annual bumper issue featuring 146 pages of company profiles, trend forecasting, analysis and data. Bruce Tether professor of Innovation Management and Strategy at Manchester Business School joins the AJ team again this year to crunch the numbers submitted in the survey, providing his invaluable insight on the past year in architecture and the road ahead.

Whether you’re one of the AJ100 biggies or a smallie, you can use the information in this report to check the AJ100 fee scale and benchmark your fees, compare your salary to the AJ100 pay scales, find out where the international work is or calculate your fees per employee by taking your total fees divided by the total number of employees, and hoping for £80,000 (for architectural fees per architect, the median is £135,955).

There are two messages that emerge from this year’s analysis. The first is that architects have proved remarkably hardy and nimble in the face of the economic crisis, and have successfully won work abroad to make up for the lack of building at home.

The second is that, although the work is increasingly international, design still happens here.

Anecdotally, we have been hearing for some months that international clients will pay more for a project designed on British soil, like a Swiss watch or a German car. The crowning of Foster + Partners as the number one firm bears this out in statistics: 92 per cent of Foster’s work is international, while 84 per cent of its workforce is based in the UK. And Foster’s is not only top ranked for its size, but also places second (after Zaha Hadid Architects) for the total international fees it earns per employee and in third place for total architectural fees paid to UK offices per UK architect – two other measures of success.

I hope you find this issue useful and interesting. Putting this annual report together in the midst of our rolling weekly publication schedule is gruelling –special thanks to senior editor James Pallister for editing the AJ100 issue and designer Sosuke Sugiura for making statistics stylish. Kudos also to the whole AJ team, from our sustainability intern Michelle Price to AJ Buildings Library editor Tom Ravenscroft, for penning the 31 pages of AJ100 profiles and features, with a nod to art director Brad Yendle and acting production editor Abi Gliddon, for grace under pressure.

For the past five years of AJ100 data, and a fact-file for each AJ100 practice, visit TheAJ.co.uk/AJ100

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