Architectural Practices

In this section, we have identified senior named contacts for over 1,100 of the UK's architectural practices.   In addition to including the practices featured in the latest 'Top 100' league table published by the Architects’ Journal (AJ) in June 2018, the database has been compiled with a focus on identifying medium and larger practices in the country, and, consequently, smaller firms comprising a single practitioner have been omitted.

The new edition of the database (published February 2018) has seen a considerable number of changes compared to the 2017 version, with many of the entries having been amended or removed to reflect mergers, address changes and cessations, etc.   New entries have been introduced, where appropriate, and contact name changes have been checked and updated throughout.   In addition to the contact name, the information also includes address, telephone number, website and email address.   This latest edition provides the highest number of named email addresses at over 80%, the balance being made up of generic addresses, such as practice@, info@, etc.  If you are logged in, you may now view the full list at the end of this article or access it from the Downloads page (in the spreadsheet we have also identified those entries which appear in the latest AJ league table).   Non-subscribers may purchase the database separately for £75 + VAT by clicking here or by contacting us.

Profile of UK Architects
In order to offer services as an architect, it is mandatory for UK practitioners to register with the sector's regulator, the Architects Registration Board (ARB), who, in their latest available Annual Report (as at Feb 2018), state that, by the year end 2016, there were 38,511 architects registered with 34,669 registered in the UK and 3,842 registered overseas.  This figure is relatively close to the 37,000 architects estimated in the 2016 research carried out by the Architects Council of Europe (ACE), which estimated that the gender balance of UK architects was 67% male and 33% female (ARB estimated this at 74% and 26% respectively).  The research also revealed that 17% of UK architects were partners/directors, 18% were associates, 34% were described as private practice salaried, and 18% as sole principals.   (Please note: as mentioned above, our downloadable database of 1,200 architectural practices does not include sole principal practices.)

Membership of the RIBA is voluntary and the organisation has over 3,000 chartered practices registered in the UK.

Most architectural practices are small and there is no firm which has a dominant market share.   The above-mentioned ACE 2016 report estimates that there are 7,037 architectural practices in the UK and provides a breakdown according to staff size as follows:

No. of staff - No. of practices
1  -  4,257 practices
2  -  878 practices
3 to 5  -  1,134 practices
6 to 10  -  398 practices
11 to 30  -  273 practices
31 to 50  -  63 practices
over 50  -  35 practices

Published in June 2018, the latest annual AJ100 survey of the top (100) practices revealed that:

  • 6,782 (2017 - 6,863) architects were employed in the UK by AJ100 listed firms (353 by Foster + Partners)
  • Foster + Partners were ranked the largest by both the number of qualified architects employed (353) and also by the total fees for projects delivered out of UK offices (£139.8m).
  • Nearly 25,437 people (not just architects) were employed permanently in the UK by the firms listed (over 30,000 in 2017) although Atkins alone accounted for over 10,000.
  • On a like for like basis, 71 fewer architects were employed at the start of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. This represented the first drop in the total number of architects, working for the UK’s largest firms, in four years.
  • In 2018, income to the UK offices of the firms listed was £1.25bn (slightly higher than 2017’s total of £1.24 billion). Foster + Partners accounted for 11.2% of this total.

The geographical spread of architects is uneven, with a disproportionate number based in London (particularly) and the South East.   According to research for the AJ100 report in 2018, the average earnings for an architect was £39,000.  However, the great majority of practices (86 out of 106) also reported having bonus schemes, so true take-home pay will be greater in most cases than the salaries reported.

Architects’ Workload
In terms of workload profiles, the 2016 ACE report showed that the balance between new build and refurbishment work for UK architects was 39% and 61%, respectively.   A breakdown was given showing the type of buildings:

52% individual houses, extensions, loft conversions
13% private housing
4% offices
4% retail
5% leisure
2% industrial
4% health
6% education
2% public housing
8% other

Architectural Sector Value and Forecasts
The Architectural Activities Market Research Report published by IBIS World (in May 2016) predicted that the sector will generate a revenue of £6.7bn in the year 2016-17 – some 4.6% higher than the previous year - although the above mentioned ACE report estimated the 2016 value of the architectural market in the UK at €2.2bn (it is likely that the discrepancy is the result of narrower research parameters).  More recently, in its report titled 'Global Talent, Global Reach' report, published in December 2017, the RIBA stated that the UK's architecture sector "....directly contributes £4.8 billion to the UK economy every year with a further £1 billion a year contribution embedded in the exports of the other industries it supports....".

The monthly Future Trends Survey, carried out by the RIBA, has consistently shown cautious to high levels of optimism amongst UK architects when looking ahead.   Since 2016 the surveys have been reported under the following headlines:

…..New Year Brings Increased Confidence (Jan 2016)
…..Confidence Remains Steady (Feb 2016)
…..Workloads Show Signs of Stability (Mar 2016)
…..Confidence gradually climbs but practices report 4% annual drop in the value of work in progress (Jan 2018)
…..The market seems steady, if not growing, but London and Northern Ireland remain pessimistic due to Brexit uncertainty (Feb. 2018)
…..The prospects for architects’ workloads dipped in March (Mar. 2018)
…..Steady market for architects (Apr. 2018)
…..Architects feel optimistic about future workloads with Northern practices looking to recruit more staff (May 2018)
…..Architects’ confidence dips, particularly in London, Wales and the West where practices are becoming more cautious about recruiting staff (Jun. 2018)
…..Architects’ confidence in private housing sector dips (Jly. 2018)
…..Workload Index was virtually unchanged in August (Aug. 2018)
…..Architects’ confidence in the North of England dips significantly (Sept. 2018)

Construct UK provides regular summaries of these and most other construction industry surveys via its e-newsletter. Register for free here

Marketing and Promotion
According to construction sales support specialists, Crannull, architects are the second most marketed profession in the UK via emails, magazines and exhibitions, and, throughout this compendium, we have detailed most of the communications channels to this and other industry sectors for construction product marketers.   However, it is worth expanding on some of the principal routes to the architects’ sector here.

Exhibitions
As our calendar of UK construction exhibitions reveals, the industry hosts over 280 different trade shows, often visited by architects.   Many of these events can be categorised as having a broad focus, attracting a cross section of specifiers, contractors and other professionals, whilst many others target individual sub-sectors of the industry.   Within the first category, the leading events which cite architects in their attendance profiles include UK Construction Week which received 3,633 visitors from architectural & design firms in 2016 (an increase of 38% on the previous year) and Vision which is aimed exclusively at architects, designers, and specifiers working on projects in the commercial, health, education and retail sectors.   Elsewhere, 41% of the 1,705 visitors to the Architect at Work 2016 event were architects, whilst 100% Design exhibition claims “.... the largest number of Interior Designers and Architects of any show in the UK”.   Key regionally focused events also cite architects as important attendee groups, and include London Build which had 12,913 registered attendees in 2016 – 9% of whom were architects - and Scotland Build which received 424 architects in 2016.

In the category of exhibitions focusing on the industry's individual sub-sectors, many cite significant numbers of attending architects. For example, at the Surface Design Show in 2016, 21% of the 5,669 professional visitors attending were architects: similarly, other sector-specific shows such as Healthcare Estates, Retail Design Expo, etc., give architectural and design practices amongst the attending groups of professionals.

In order to assist manufacturers and suppliers in researching the most appropriate trade shows to support their marketing and promotion, our list of 280 UK Construction Exhibitions provides previous attendance data along with approximate space-only exhibiting rates, where available.

Journals
In their paper entitled 'Creating Construction Personas – understanding the architect', the construction marketing and research specialists, Competitive Advantage, posit that some 73% of architects read hardcopy magazines and journals.   Many of the industry's 300+ journals reach architects via mainstream titles, such as the Architects' Journal and RIBA Journal, the latter having a weekly circulation of 27,905.   However, a targeted advertising focus can be achieved via publications in journals such as DARC (lighting in architecture), Healthcare D&M (architecture and design for hospitals, clinics, etc.) and CLADmag (leisure sector architecture), whilst titles such as Refurbishment Projects and Contract Flooring Journal include significant numbers of architects in their readership profiles.   In order to identify the most appropriate journal for your marketing campaign, our index of 300+ UK construction industry journals has been compiled and includes contact, circulation and advertising data (when given), and a short profile of the target audience for each title. You can view or download the index via our Construction Journal Advertising feature.

For circulation of press releases, a separate database of named editorial contacts (and relevant email addresses) is provided, covering each of the 300+ journals.

Market Research
There is a number of specialist market research firms who will undertake specific work on a project-by-project basis and we have provided an index of those with specialist construction industry knowledge and/or experience in our Construction Market Research Agencies feature.   However, a cost-effective and targeted architect-focused research service is offered by Lychgate, who conduct an annual 'Architects Omnibus Survey' which is conducted by telephone, and companies may add questions to the questionnaire, priced on a per question basis.

Telephone
Whilst there is a number of routes to gain the attention of an architect, there is one simple method which is often forgotten – give them a call.   A lot of time and money can be invested in various marketing and advertising campaigns by organisations who want to get their product or service specified by an architect, but sometimes it is just easier to pick up the phone and arrange a time to go and see them to discuss how you can assist with a project.   The telephone is often the forgotten tool when someone is looking to market their company.   One company which can help with this is Crannull, which is an industry leader in the field, specialising in creating opportunities for companies with architects via the telephone, when those companies don’t have the time or internal skill sets to do it themselves.

Other Resources
In their paper entitled 'Creating Construction Personas – understanding the architect' (see above), Competitive Advantage aim to help suppliers and manufacturers get their products specified by offering a comprehensive profile of the UK architect and his/her responsibilities whilst also providing details of their usage of social media, product directories, CPD, BIM, etc.

Architects are required to complete 35 hours of CPD each year and we have covered the use of CPD by construction professionals and the consequent opportunities for suppliers in our CPD and Construction Marketing feature.

According to Competitive Advantage's paper, 83% of architects refer to the leading products directories, RIBA Product Selector (68%) and Barbour Product Search (46%).   Our index of Construction Product Directories provides details of over 50 resources covering the industry's products and services.   Elsewhere, our feature covering BIM for Construction Product Suppliers and Manufacturers includes BIM object/component creators and specialist websites for storing and downloading BIM objects.

See also the article ‘Specification Selling’ by Chris Ashworth of Competitive Advantage

Database of 1,100 UK Architectural Practices with named contacts (you must be logged in to view):

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