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Staff laid off as housing crisis bites

Architectural practices across the UK are being forced to lay off staff as the collapse of the residential sector gathers pace.

Some firms have made redundancies as the number of houses being built in the UK falls to its lowest since the end of the Second World War.

Hamiltons director Paul Birch confirmed that the practice – ranked fifth in this year’s AJ100 list of Britain’s biggest practices (AJ 15.05.08) – had parted company with 15 staff during the consolidation of its three London practices into a single office.

In a move he said was ‘driven’ by the economic downturn, Birch added: ‘We were 245 people but are now 230. Some people decided not to come with us, but yes, we have made a few people – fewer than 10 – redundant.’

London-based HTA Architects confirmed it had made a ‘handful’ of staff redundant, and had ‘lost’ others through ‘natural wastage’.

And the Manchester-based director of a well-known housing practice told the AJ that his firm ‘had been hit on the private-sector-housing side’.

The director added: ‘We have been getting a lot of CVs since the new year, mostly technicians but also some qualified architects. Most seem to be from the commercial sector though.’

Joe English of recruitment agency SIV said his firm had noticed that ‘smaller to medium-sized regional practices have stopped recruiting altogether’.

The Construction Products Association has forecast that 147,000 houses will be built this year, some 56,000 down from last year and 93,000 shy of the government’s 2016 target of 240,000 a year.

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