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The AJ100 explained: firms should be ‘more provocative’

Professor Bruce Tether, author of the AJ100 analysis, called for architects to ‘be more provocative’ in their approach to business at a special AJ100 breakfast presentation this morning

Speaking about the business plans of architecture practices, Tether cited Tesco, and asked: ‘how would Tesco provide architecture services?’

He suggested architects might consider breaking up their business into key activities, and focus the business on what adds value.

‘Essentially the AJ100 is the major players in the industry’, said Tether, who addressed more than 50 architects from firms listed in the AJ100 at the Saint-Gobain Innovation Centre in London.

Tether also spoke of the significant differences in fee rates and their ‘large variation’. The AJ100 survey found that fees could more than double for the same contract value.

‘There is not a strong relationship between what people charge for small projects and what they charge for large projects,’ he added.

The average income per head of the AJ100 practices is £76,000. This income per architect gets bigger with the size of the firm. Tether put this down to a ‘more efficient use of resourcing’ and added: ‘there are advantages in being large, but only after a certain threshold’.

  • Bruce Tether is Professor of Innovation Management and Strategy at Manchester Business School. His research interests concern innovation and competition in design-based businesses.

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