Firm to amalgamate two offices into one in London

HLM Architects is to close its Guildford office, folding it into its London operation.

The firm, which employs 148 people and works in sectors including health, education and defence, said redundancies were “inevitable” but described the decision as a proactive move based on a healthy workload in the capital as well as problems in the wider economy.

“We felt it was time to make a strong decision because of the difficulties in the economy and in the industry,” said chairman Chris Liddle. “Because we have a growing workload in London we are amalgamating two offices into one and can respond more directly to clients. That will give us a strong and vibrant office based at the epicentre of our business. We intend to bring the two teams together in December.”

Liddle said the firm would strive to minimise redundancies but admitted that staff in Guildford would face a difficult decision.

“We have around 45 people [working in the two offices] and the cut could be 10-15%,” he said.HLM has five other regional offices in the UK – Belfast, Glasgow, Sheffield, Cardiff and Plymouth - but Liddle said he was confident about their future.

RIBA executive director Richard Brindley said the institute was aware of many other architects “amalgamating, consolidating and battening down the hatches”.