Profits and revenue up at new owner of GMW

Growing overseas work and a recovery in UK construction helped new GMW Architects owner Scott Brownrigg post a near one third hike in workloads last year.

The firm snapped up GMW in August which has been going for close to 70 years and whose building at 1 Undershaft in the City of London – the first in the Square Mile to be taller than St Paul’s Cathedral when it was completed in 1969 – will be torn down to make way for Eric Parry’s proposed 73-storey replacement.

Turnover at Scott Brownrigg was up 28% to just over £19 million in the year to July 2015 with pre-tax profits more than doubling to £2.5 million from £1.1 million last time.

The firm carries out the majority of its work in the UK with revenue here rising from £13.8 million to £17.4 million. But work from outside the UK was up by nearly a third to £1.6 million.

In a statement accompanying the accounts, signed by chairman Jonathan Hill, the practice said new offices in Edinburgh and New York had helped with the figures while it added that it was eyeing new areas of business. “Energy generation, big data, nano science, 3D printing, advance robotics and life sciences are all emerging as areas of focus,” Hill said.

Hill also said GMW’s airport work, including a scheme at Istanbul, “will provide an opportunity for the practice to re-enter the aviation sector with a prestigious airport design that will be completed by 2018”.

Staff numbers went up 29% to 217 by the year end – although this is now around 280 following the GMW takeover which was completed after the year end – and the firm’s wage bill increased from £7.2 million to £9.6 million as a result. In his statement, Hill said the firm, which is behind a new headquarters building (pictured) for tech firm Gartner in Surrey, had controlled costs “well” in the year. He added: “This is particularly encouraging in light of the growth in turnover and staff numbers.”

The salary of the highest paid director, who is not named, was up £35,000 to £195,000.