BDP, the UK’s second-largest employer of architects, has begun a restructuring exercise which could see up to 70 of its workers laid off
The company, which employs 1,016 permanent staff in the UK, said it had begun redundancy consultations as a result of the ’post-pandemic economic slowdown’ and continuing Brexit uncertainty.
It is understood the job cuts will be the first major round of redundancies at the practice since 2011, when about 15 per cent of its workforce was let go in a move then blamed on the ‘large-scale cuts in the public sector’.
From 2014 the number of architects employed by BDP has steadily increased and, in the recent AJ100 rankings, had again narrowed the gap with perennial league-leader Foster + Partners (see AJ100 2020: Foster + Partners remains the UK’s largest practice but rivals close in).
According to the latest AJ100 data, BDP had 361 UK qualified architects on its books – an increase of 31 from 2019 – compared with Foster + Partners, which employed 381 at the latest count.
In recent weeks BDP, like many in the industry, has been using the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme in an attempt to stave off job losses.
But John McManus, chief executive at BDP, said that the company was now looking to reduce the numbers on the payroll. He told the AJ: ‘The predicted post-pandemic economic slowdown and the continued ambiguity surrounding Brexit has resulted in restructuring changes being proposed for our UK studios.
‘A review has taken place to ascertain the necessary capacity and skills required to meet the needs of our clients and our future business plan. We have concluded that, following a full consultation process, up to 70 jobs could potentially be made redundant.’
He added: ’This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but it will contribute to the long-term stability of the practice as we navigate an uncertain economic future.’
It is understood that the job losses, which will include roles in architecture, landscape architecture and graphics, will be at BDP’s London, Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow offices.