Cash-strapped firm facing creditor’s action as three more top brass depart the practice

Troubled architecture practice RMJM is facing a £50,000 county court claim from a creditor and has lost further senior management figures, it emerged this week.

Construction industry credit information provider Top Service told Building this week that it was monitoring RMJM after news that Northampton County Court issued a judgment against the firm on 4 January for £49,991 owing to an unnamed creditor - a figure which has to be paid in full within 30 days.

Emma Bridges, Top Service director, said: “Due to the amount of the recent county court judgment and reports of increased trading terms, we are keeping a close eye on the situation”.

Due to the county court judgment we are keeping a close eye on the situation

Emma Bridges, Top Service

The Northampton court, which handles all online claims, has made a number of other judgments against RMJM including one worth £67,000 dating from the end of 2010 which has been settled.

Three more top level departures from the firm also emerged this week. This follows Building’s report last week on the firm’s on-the-spot dismissal of Scottish managing principal Alistair Brand.

Peter Schubert, design director for the United States and Mark Paterson, managing director for RMJM Singapore, are understood to have left the firm before Christmas. Paul Stallan - seen by many as RMJM’s top UK designer - resigned last Wednesday, two days after the exit of his close associate Brand.

Stallan - who won a number of awards in his 17 years with the practice and ran the Paul Stallan at RMJM Studio in Glasgow - told Building he had been prompted to leave by the firm’s repeated failure to pay its staff on time, something he called “completely and utterly unacceptable”.

“When I left the firm, no one in the UK had been paid for the month of December,” he said. “For three to four years, I was rarely paid on time. We ran a very efficient studio with a good client base and it was getting increasingly difficult for us to accept […] and causing all sorts of hardships.”

Stallan said he was no threat to RMJM in terms of work and said his team was determined to fulfil its obligations to clients.

Stallan’s former studio is now headed up by Paul Rodgers, who has worked on schemes including Singapore Marina Line railway stations.

A spokesperson for RMJM declined to comment beyond saying that Paterson had “resigned back in October 2011 following restructuring of the Singapore studio”.