Staffing and workloads likely to be hit, say practices

Architects reacted with shock and anger this morning as Britain voted to leave the European Union. In a Building survey last month, 78% of architects said they wanted to Remain in the EU.

Architects react

RIBA president Jane Duncan

“The RIBA will continue to ensure that our profession has a bright future, whatever the operating environment. Clearly there is uncertainty about the timescales and impact on a range of issues important to our industry including free movement in the EU for architects as well as students, trading and material sourcing, inward investment relationships, EU procurement rules and the effect on the construction sector if restrictions are placed on EU migration.”

Ben Derbyshire, chairman, HTA Design, and presidential candidate

“Now the uncertainty, which most of us in the profession feared, begins. Who will govern, and will there be any continuity of policy, who will invest in development during the interregnum, how will we manage while government replaces EU regulation through years of tortuous negotiation?

“Beyond that, I have an overwhelmimg sense of sadness and regret at the damage we have done to European politcal, economic and cultural unity. We must hope for the best, but if my sense of profound uncertainty, bordering dread, is in any way reflected by the worlds influential decision-makers, I fear we are in for a very difficult time. The Eurosceptics have the job of re-assuring us now. But this Brexit-sceptic is going to find it very hard to believe that much good will come of what feels like a terrible self-inflicted wound.

“As a rider, I feel dismayed that the RIBA, 85% of whose members would have been only too glad to explain why leaving is a bad idea, could and should have played more of a part in the debate. The RIBA really must find a way of allowing its members to speak for the profession. On this most momentous of occasions it failed to do so. And now its too late.”

Graham Morrison and Bob Allies, founders, Allies & Morrison

“Over the course of our careers, we have enjoyed, been stimulated by and come to rely on the intelligence, broad education and warm experience of the many architects from the EU that we have had the privilege to employ.

“More than a quarter of our staff come from the EU and the thought of losing that easy access to such a rich seam of talent is a consequence of the vote that will take a long time to adjust to.”

Lucy Tilley, head of UK and global projects at Adjaye Associates

“We are truly disappointed with the outcome of the referendum. As an increasingly international business, which benefits from a global pool of talent (and in particular from within the EU), we were hoping to remain.

“That said, we trust that Britain’s relationship with its neighbouring EU countries will continue to be strong and that we can pave the way for a mutually beneficial association that enables us to pursue work across Europe and employ a diverse and multi-national team of architects.”

Cany Ash, director, Ash Sakula Architects

“Brexit is akin to full-scale urban blight. All our energies will be wasted while this bureaucratic mess is cleared up. Housing and social projects brokered through delicate public private partnerships only achieve momentum through stability and optimism… and we have pissed that away.”

Partners of Rogers, Stirk Harbour & Partners

“Where do we go from here? We now face a difficult period of great uncertainty. All those questions left hanging by those leading the drive towards leaving the EU will now have to be answered. This will take time (years) and in the interim requires great adaptability and resilience from us all.

“Most importantly we need to know what will happen with those relationships (contractual, personal and professional) that will have to be forged anew as a consequence of this vote.

“This result is not only significant for our practice but especially for the important proportion of our staff for whom this is not only a signal of a new, less open Britain but one that may lead to real and practical changes in their lives.

“In the aftermath of a divisive campaign, we will need to heal the wounds not just within a dis-United Kingdom but with our neighbours across Europe.

“Going forward Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners will continue to be an inclusive and internationally minded practice steeped in the values of a broad European culture.”

Martin Wright, managing director, AHR Architects

“We feel a lot of uncertainty now this decision has been made and are wary of how it will affect our business. The growth and stability of the UK economy will be severely impacted by this decision. However at this early stage all we can do is move forward with business as usual as it will likely be months if not years until the full extent of the decision is realised.”

Sally Lewis, director, Stitch

“On a personal level, I am devastated. On a professional level it is hard to judge what the immediate impacts might be if we vote to leave. But I know for sure that the housing construction industry relies heavily on highly skilled and hard-working Europeans. As we’re struggling anyway to deliver the housing we need, filtering out the workforce that can help us meet our housing delivery targets is plain daft.”

Paul White, director, Buckley Gray Yeoman

“This is not the decision we were hoping the country would make. This decision is likely to signal a period of political and economic instability for the UK, with a change in prime minister, panicked financial markets and a lack of confidence in the economy as a whole. This decision is likely to have a negative effect on the construction industry and our workload.

“Serious consideration is being made in our office about starting a petition for London entitled ‘Take us with you Europe’. A Twitter campaign is soon to follow.”

Amanda Levete, founder, AL_A

“Of course I’m extremely disappointed, but I have to respect the majority decision.

“The debate has engaged the nation, especially younger people, and it can only be a positive to see people talking passionately about the future.

“However, our politicians need to get better at articulating what we have in common rather than what divides us.

“We will continue to work both in Europe and around the world – and continue to express our commonality of ideals – democracy, openness, tolerance, and creativity.”

Roger Hawkins, director, Hawkins Brown

“What a nightmare. The lack of proper debate in the referendum has been alarming. It has generated the worst in some people and the best in very few.

“We elect Members of Parliament to represent our interests and expect them to act with foresight and intelligence. A vote in the House of Commons would have been significantly in favour of remain so why did we even expose ourselves to this process? 

“We have been hijacked by a negative, short-sighted Little Englander mentality. No doubt this result will have an impact on immigration figures because a lot of people will want to leave the country.”

John McRae, director, Orms

“So it would appear the grass really is greener since we have chosen to leave our European community and go it alone.

“It’s like moving to the country from a dense urban city; we’ll either revel in it or regret it but there is no going back.

“The challenge is not if we can negotiate trade deals, create jobs and control migration but what the results of the new-found freedom will be once we have sorted out our own government. And how long will this all take? As we move on to the smart motorway and cruise at 50mph what will the short-term impact on construction and architecture be? Hold on as it could be a long and rough ride.”

Graham Hickson-Smith, director, 3D Reid

“I fail to see how the Leave vote can be a good thing, certainly in the short term, but the truth is we simply don’t know what this means in the long term.

“The impact on sterling says it all. An out vote is bad for business.

“A Scottish independence referendum also looks likely adding to the confusion and uncertainty and it is likely that it will take two years to negotiate our exit.

Earle Arney, chief executive, Arney Fender Katsalidis

“This is a disappointing result for stability and unity at a time when less isolationist thinking would make the world a better place.”

Hugh Feilden, partner, Feilden & Mawson

“It looks like we are in for a prolonged period of uncertainty which will not be good for the UK construction industry.”