UK architects are likely to face increasing competition from Indian firms as clients look to the subcontinent for cheaper professional services, write Joey Gardiner and David Matthews

Benoy chairman Graham Cartledge, speaking on his return from last week’s prime-ministerial trade mission to the subcontinent, said that the skills of Indian architects were rapidly improving, and that clients could start outsourcing “lower value or regularised” parts of their business to Indian architects.

The quality is increasing quickly. Very shortly, I can see them getting European jobs

Graham Cartledge, Benoy

Benoy, which is working on 40 projects in the country, already works with Indian architects who are employed by clients in the country as executive architects on buildings Benoy has designed. Retailer Tesco started using Indian QSs and architects for early project work last year.

Cartledge said: “The quality is increasing quickly. Very shortly, I can see the industry giving them European jobs, the bits that are lower value or regularised.”

However, Cartledge, who is on the UK India Business Council, said there were “vast” amounts of work for UK firms in what is now a “dynamic, forward-thinking economy”. According to analyst Global Construction Perspectives, India’s construction market is the world’s ninth largest, just above the UK, but has the second highest predicted growth over the next five years, at 9.6%.

Along with Balfour Beatty, Mott MacDonald and Arup, Cartledge was one of just four construction industry representatives on the trip. His company picked up three jobs with a fee value of £1.6m while in India. The firm may now try to import the skills learned from its Indian residential market to the UK.

Philip Dilley, chairman of Arup, said: “We see India as a very interesting market where rapid growth and urbanisation will continue to provide us with plenty of opportunities.”