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18


VIEWS


ARCHITECTS Brexit raises a host of


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questions and issues for UK architectural practices, not least on the future for their EU-national employees. Norman Hayden asked a selection of key players for their thoughts as the UK heads into a new phase


than their UK counterparts. Consequently, a significant portion of our staff is from the EU as they are conversant with the technol- ogy we use.


Ian Hogarth, owner, Hogarth Architects: We hire the best staff, irrespective of where they originate. We have a high percentage of fresh graduates and higher-degree level students and we have benefited greatly from difficult markets in other EU countries such as Greece. On a larger level, the construc- tion industry generally has benefited hugely from skilled workers from Europe, so that we can envisage tender prices increasing greatly if they were not here. We do not feel enough UK workers are being trained, hence the ease with which EU workers have found work and started thriving building businesses in the UK.


Adam Parker, associate director, Greig & Stephenson: EU employees bring the option to recruit people that are right for your business. I wouldn’t explicitly say employ- ees from the EU bring a specific skill set or ideas, but the prospect of not being able to recruit from a rich and diverse talent pool would likely hinder practices.


Being similar to, yet different from, UK culture and practice, our EU employees enlarge our outlook and make for a lively, creative variety Sunand Prasad


WHAT DO EMPLOYEES FROM THE EU BRING TO YOUR PRACTICE?


Sunand Prasad, senior partner, Penoyre & Prasad: Both our British and EU employees have plenty of skills and ideas. The special value of our employees from the EU, and other parts of the world, is in their unique combination of being similar to, yet differ- ent from, UK and London culture and practice. That enlarges our outlook and makes for a lively, creative variety.


Brendan Geraghty, director, Geraghty Taylor: We are a practice that has exclu- sively used BIM. We find that European architects have had more exposure to BIM


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Christopher Shaw, senior director, Medical Architecture: Europe has been the cradle of modern medicine and western architecture. Its ideas and professional discipline have been part of commerce since the 13th century, probably earlier. Employees from the EU carry this with them – there is a cultural commonality.


HOW WILL YOUR FIRM BE AFFECTED IF IT’S MORE DIFFICULT FOR EU NATIONALS TO WORK IN THE UK?


SP: It depends on how difficult. People who cross countries to find work tend to be of above-average ambition and resourceful- ness. Losing them would be a huge loss to our firm.


IH: We suspect very badly, but we will always look to adjust and react to maintain a healthy business. We feel it is not a posi- tive move for a country trying to deal with a housing crisis though.


BG: We are very concerned about our current staff being able to remain in the UK. On recruitment, the availability of skilled and suitably-qualified staff is critical to the long-term success of the business, any Brexit-imposed restrictions on recruitment present a significant threat.


We feel it is not a positive move for a country dealing with a housing crisis


Ian Hogarth


AP: It’ll likely become harder to find appro- priate people as competition for quality employees may become greater. CS: At present, our firm is entirely staffed by EU nationals. In 2016, 47 per cent of all new admissions to the Architects Register were using freedom of movement provided under the European Union Professional Qualification Directive. It will be harder to find new staff if the UK withdraws from the European Union. A proportion of our work and income is EU (non-UK) based. We have several medium-term prospects for hospital work in the EU (non-UK) region. It may prove useful to establish a legal structure outside the UK in the event of Britain leaving the EU trade and judicial frameworks.


WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING TO REASSURE STAFF?


BG: We have encouraged them to seek the right to remain in the UK (if they don't already have this) and reassure them that we will do all we can to keep them in the UK and to stay with the practice. The Government needs to do more to help busi- ness retain staff and to continue to be able to recruit from inside and outside the UK.


IH: Nothing formal, beyond avidly follow- ing developments in the press. We will review the situation next summer before the next graduate intake.


SP: Currently, we are very limited in what we can do, as the Brexit negotiations have not begun. However, it is more likely that EU nationals already working here will be able to remain. That must be a key demand.


AP: Not a great deal as we don’t think anyone has a clear picture of what any of this means as of yet. Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that staff already working in the


ADF MARCH 2017


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