Foster + Partners has retained the top spot in the AJ100 - the annual league table of Britain’s biggest architecture firms - for the fifth consecutive year
In 2015 Norman Foster’s company increased the number of ARB-registered or equivalent architects on its books from 321 to 407 – the most the 49-year-old practice has ever employed. The international powerhouse now has a worldwide workforce of 1,445.
Fosters’ global architectural fee income accounted for a huge chunk of the money made by the nation’s largest firms - nearly 14 per cent of the total of all those listed in the rankings.
Impressively the practice’s architects billed £190 million fees – up a £5 million from last year – and almost five times the amount racked up by the architects working for second placed BDP.
Recently bought by Nippon Koei, BDP has slipped further behind Foster + Partners this year with the gap increasing from 72 in 2015 to 134 in the latest figures.
However BDP is expected to announce impressive trading figures later this month and, according to the AJ100 data, has seen its UK architectural fees rise by a quarter.
Last year’s third placed firm AHMM has slipped down the league table to fifth, despite adding eight architects to its roster, due to huge growth at both Zaha Hadid Architects and Sheppard Robson.
The companies have increased the number of ARB-registered or equivalent qualified architects by 118 and 38 respectively.
Overall the number of architects employed by the nation’s largest practices is now within touching distance of the record highs before the recession. Together the 106 practices in this year’s league table - an annual bellweather of the industry’s fortunes - collectively employed 6,811 architects in the UK.
The number peaked at just over 7,000 in 2007.