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Stanton Williams sheds staff as Brexit fears bite

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2012 RIBA Stirling Prize winner Stanton Williams has announced 13 redundancies, blaming uncertainty over the Brexit referendum as a factor in the decision

The firm, which has recently been shortlisted in the competition to design the new Museum of London at West Smithfield, says that its future workload ‘no longer matched previous expectations’.

In addition to the job losses announced, the 89-strong London-based practice said that it is still consulting with one employee over possible redundancy.

In a statement, Stanton Williams said: ‘Increasing uncertainty about external factors such as Brexit and worsening market conditions has resulted in delays in the commencement of a number of projects.

‘As a result the practice has consulted with staff about job losses. The decision to let staff go is always a difficult one but we are being cautious as it is apparent that current and anticipated workload no longer matches previous expectations.’

However, a spokesperson said that the 31-year-old practice remains confident about its longer term projections.

Current projects Stanton Williams is working on include the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Open Up at the Royal Opera House and the Museé d’Art de Nantes. 

The practice won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2012 for its Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge and in 2014 was named the Fastest Growing Practice in the AJ100.

Fellow AJ100 practice PDP has also revealed this week that it recently made an undisclosed number of redundancies.

The practice designed Lillie Square, the first residential phase of the Earl’s Court development masterplanned by Farrells which had to let staff go earlier this month too.

In February, the developer behind the scheme, Capital & Counties, admitted that sales rates at the development were slowing due to increasing supply in the capital.

Andrew Davidson, partner PDP, told the AJ: ‘My personal view is that the Brexit referendum is masking deeper issues, particularly in the central London residential market.

‘Things will be clearer when we have the result of the referendum but clients are using it as an excuse for not making decisions at the moment.’

He said that making the redundancies was ‘one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in business’.

‘I sympathise with those making the decisions and those facing the consequences,’ he added.

Adrian Griffiths, director at Chapman Taylor, said his firm has not been forced to make redundancies, but said that decisions are taking longer to be made by clients.

He said: ‘I think that it is probably the wider market conditions – people are using Brexit as an excuse for holding off.

‘There has been a little bit of an increase in the number of calls from recruitment agencies offering staff. They are the weathervane.’

However, he warned: ‘We should be careful about not talking ourselves into a market downturn. The current slowdown is not anything like the scale of 2008.’

Government figures released this week showed that the number of architects claiming jobseekers allowance rose to 75 in April, up from 70 in March.

However, that figure remainss well below the all-time high of 2,055 unemployed architects which was recorded in August 2009.

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