An Iraqi architect in London has formed a loose alliance with UK consultants to pitch for reconstruction work in his homeland
Ali Mousawi has reopened the Baghdad office he closed more than a decade ago and is acting as contact for UK consultants.

Quantity surveyor Baker Wilkins and architect HLM have linked up with Mousawi's AM Building Services. Others have expressed interest.

Tim Siddons, the partner at Baker Wilkins responsible for the Middle East, said: "When Iraq came back to life earlier this year after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Ali wanted to go back. We have a daily exchange of emails with him over a range of schemes."

Baker Wilkins favours work in the private sector as it believes funding is more reliable.

Siddons said: "We don't need to rely on UN, US and UK funding; that will take a while to come through. If we go for work on a hotel, for instance, we get in there first – and he who gets in Iraq first will clean up."

Baker Wilkins has re-established an office in Iraq. The division closed down in the early 1990s.

HLM chairman Chris Liddle said he was keen to work on civilian infrastructure schemes.

He said: "We remain unsure about the security issues in Iraq on a daily basis but there is no doubt the wealth of knowledge in British consultancy in healthcare and education can really help to rebuild the nation in the medium term."

Other architects believed to be looking for work in Iraq include HOK, Percy Thomas Partnership and Swanke Hayden Connell.

  • Michael O'Brien, the minister of state for trade, investment and foreign affairs, told a conference in central London last week that the UK's reconstruction programme must do more to help Iraq to become "democratic and prosperous".