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Jobs cull at Austin-Smith:Lord

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Austin-Smith:Lord (ASL) has become the latest practice to announce a major round of redundancies, with 55 posts at risk

The firm, which was listed at number seven in this year’s AJ100 and employed 145 architects at the end of 2009, could lose around a third of its workforce.

London office partner Jennifer Dixon said: ‘We have been aware since mid-April that some redundancies in the practice might be necessary, due to the impending completion of several projects combined with a significant slowing of one major project nearing the end of RIBA Stage D.’

Dixon said a city-centre regeneration project that was initially ‘small in scale’ but had grown in size over the last year, prompted the practice to recruit architects to work on it.

‘It’s now shrinking back down,’ she added. ‘While this project will certainly continue within the year, its timescale remains uncertain.’

The cuts have affected staff across the board, with 33 redundancies in the London office. It is understood the majority of the job losses have occurred in management and administration roles.

One staff member who has been made redundant said: ‘This has been brewing since just before Easter. An Abu Dhabi job bankrolled a large number of staff.’

Earlier this month, ASL partner Rob Firth (pictured) admitted that the slowdown in Abu Dhabi included one of the practice’s local projects being put back to feasibility stage.

Firth told the AJ that although projects were still progressing in the Middle East, there was caution ‘about how schemes were going ahead’, after the emirate handed more than £6 billion to its neighbour Dubai in December 2009 to help pay off its debts.

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