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Foster tops AJ120 for fourth year in a row

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Foster + Partners has kept the top spot in the league table of Britain’s biggest architecture firms for the fourth year in a row

Over the last 12 months Norman Foster’s company increased the number of ARB-registered or equivalent architects on its books from 290 to 312 – the most the practice has employed at any time in its 48-year history. 

The annual rankings, based on the number of qualified architects, have been expanded this year from the usual 100 positions to 120 in recognition of the AJ’s 120th birthday.

Impressively, Fosters’ global architectural fee income accounts for 14 per cent of the total of all those listed.

The £185 million fees billed by the practice’s architects – up a huge £45 million from last year – also made up 38 per cent of the combined total of all of the companies in the top 10.

However Foster’s international powerhouse, which has a worldwide workforce of 1,066, is slowly being caught up, at least in terms of architect numbers, by the resurgent BDP.

The second-placed practice, which recently reported impressive trading, including a 125 per cent increase in profits, has reduced the lead by 15, and is now 72 architects behind.

Hot on both firms’ heels is AHMM, which continues to balloon in size and has firmly established itself in third place. In the last two years the practice has more than doubled the number of qualified architects it employs from 90 to 185.

And industry optimism is not restricted to those at the top end of the table. All but three of the AJ120 practices said they expected to grow in the UK over the next year.

In total the top 100 firms employed nearly 900 more qualified architects in the UK at the start of 2015 (5,895) than they did at the start of 2014 – a 16 per cent increase.

To get into the top 100, practices now need to have at least 26 architects on their payroll. This is a rise of eight from a decade ago when the bottom AJ100 firm had 18 ARB-qualified professionals.

Number one practices AJ100

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