Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Architects Construct Plan for Resurgence

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Architects Construct Plan for Resurgence

Article excerpt

Byline: Iain Laing

ONE of Tyneside's bestknown firms of architects has launched a plan to take the business back to its pre-recession peak.

The ID Partnership, which has designed iconic buildings including software giant Sage's new headquarters in Newcastle, lost half its business and shed half its staff in the two years since development fell off and public spending stalled in 2009.

But the firm, launched 25 years ago as the Ian Darby Partnership, is fighting back and winning more business. The Newcastle business has started to recruit more architects to its 25-strong team and expects to build its pounds 2m annual revenues by 30% over the next four years.

Like other North East architects, its streamlining put it in a good position to compete with rivals from wealthier areas and it now wins 40% of its business from outside the North East, instead of 15% before the downturn. Mark Massey, managing partner at ID Partnership, said: "The last three years have been incredibly tough for anyone associated with the construction industry. There has been virtually no new development.

"Government spending stopped and opportunities in areas such as education and health have virtually come to a halt.

"But we have gone more into housing and are looking much further afield to take on business.

"Because we learned quickly how to be more efficient, along with other firms in the North East, we are able to put in much more competitive bids than firms in the South."

The firm may have shut its London and Dublin offices since the recession began but it is winning a lot more work from its other bases in Coventry and Glasgow.

As well as big projects like the 1,500-unit regeneration of Scotswood in Newcastle, it is working on a massive expansion of Daventry in the Midlands, designing shops, homes and offices. And it has launched a housing development business, Plan B, alongside a surveyor and a housing consultancy, which has won six big contracts in cities ranging from Liverpool to Nottingham. …

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