Construction projects in Mexico City look set to suffer delays as a result of the swine flu outbreak, as UK firms shut down their offices in the country

The government has told firms in Mexico not to arrange any face-to-face gatherings, which means all major planning meetings – both internally and with local and foreign investors – have been cancelled.

McBains Cooper and Currie & Brown, two of the biggest UK firms operating in the country have told staff to work from home, with the former shutting down its offices in Mexico City until further notice.

Juan Carlos is managing director of Space, an architect based in Mexico City that is working on the 600,000m2 Efizia tower. He said: “This will affect the economy and projects. I’ve had all my meetings cancelled this week, and at least three of those were with UK and US investors that were coming to talk about working on schemes with us. “I don’t think it will stop the projects but it will certainly delay them.”

He added that local meetings could be rescheduled relatively quickly, but those that would need flights to be rebooked could take much longer.

I don’t think it will stop the projects but it will certainly delay them

Juan Carlos, Space Architects

Carlos’ firm is one of many that have decided to close their offices in Mexico City until the government re-opens schools, churches and other public buildings. This is expected to happen next Wednesday at the earliest. Most employers have told staff to come in only when absolutely necessary and to follow the government’s warning about meetings.

The biggest office building in the city, the Torre Mayor, has experienced an 80% drop in visitors and a 30% reduction in staff coming to work.

Rick Ricker, building manager of the Torre Mayor and director of Reichmann International, a developer operating in Mexico City, said the air filters were being changed every day or two, rather than weekly, and special anti-bacterial lights were being installed in the elevators to help curb the outbreak.