Grimshaw has taken the ‘difficult decision’ to begin redundancy talks with its staff after its major Heathrow Airport expansion project was put on hold
It is understood around 100 of the AJ100 practice’s employees had been working on the £14 billion scheme before the airport’s wider growth plans were deemed unlawful by the Court of Appeal on environmental grounds.
Last month (February 27) the court ruled that the national policy statement for the expansion ignored the government’s climate change commitments made under the 2016 Paris Agreement.
The shock move led to all design work on the plans for the UK’s largest airport – including a new third runway – being put on indefinite hold.
The AJ understands that more than 20 are expected to be cut from Grimshaw’s UK workforce of 268.
A practice spokesperson said: ‘Due to the scale of the team working on the project, and the fact that the work needs to pause almost immediately, we have had to make the difficult decision to start a redundancy consultation process as part of the redeployment of our Heathrow team. We will be working with our staff to ensure the process is as fair and transparent as possible, and to support our teams through this difficult time.’
They added: ‘Grimshaw has been working as part of the Heathrow Expansion team for over three years. This has been a very significant project for our London studio and has contributed to the recent growth of the practice.
‘The Court of Appeal has ruled that the government’s airports policy needs to be redrafted and no longer has effect. Heathrow remain fully committed to the project but have needed to pause the work while they and the government decide on the next course of action.’
Last year, having added 20 architects to its roster, the AJ100 practice rose to seventh in the list of the nation’s largest employers of architects with fee income from its UK office rising from £16.4 million to £21.6 million. It was also AJ100 Practice of the Year.
In June, Nicholas Grimshaw, 79, stepped down as chair of the global practice he set up nearly 40 years ago, handing over the reins to Andrew Whalley, the company’s deputy chairman, who had worked alongside Grimshaw since 1986.
The company employs more than 650 staff worldwide, with offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Doha, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne and Sydney.