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Bad debts force Gareth Hoskins Architects to cease UK trading

July 4 2024

Bad debts force Gareth Hoskins Architects to cease UK trading

Gareth Hoskins Architects has announced a shock decision to cease their UK operations as a result of mounting bad debts. In a statement, the practice cited an 'outstanding six-figure debt' for precipitating the decision amidst a difficult trading environment contributing to multiple project delays.

In a trading update, the practice wrote: "Hoskins Architects Group Limited is sorry to announce that the directors of its UK trading subsidiary Gareth Hoskins Architects Limited have been forced to take the decision to cease trading, and are in the process of appointing a liquidator. This situation has come about as a result of project delays combined with the illiquidity of a major client and the significant outstanding six-figure debt owed to Gareth Hoskins Architects Limited by that party."

Liquidation comes two years after a restructuring exercise that saw the business establish a new German company alongside its transition to an employee ownership trust. The German arm of the company is unaffected by events in the UK as is Hoskins Architects Group Ltd, the parent company which was the sole owner of Gareth Hoskins Architects Limited and Hoskins Planungs GmbH.

The practice added: "Hoskins Architects Group Limited is not affected by these developments and its German subsidiary, Hoskins Planungs GmbH, will continue to focus on projects in German-speaking countries. It will continue to concentrate on the delivery of public cultural and museum projects in listed buildings, the preparation of studies and master plans for cultural and social facilities, and providing process support for complex public cultural building projects."

Gareth Hoskins Architects closed for the last time on 28 June, eight years on from the sudden death of founder Gareth Hoskins, a period which delivered key projects including Aberdeen Art Gallery, the Love Loan development at George Square as well as a planned skyscraper at Washington Street in what could be the tallest building in the country.

Earlier this year Carson & Partners were forced into liquidation after encountering similar financial difficulties.


#1 Posted by :( on 4 Jul 2024 at 09:40 AM
This is such sad news and a huge blow for the architecture community and Scottish/UK architecture in general.
#2 Posted by Roddy on 4 Jul 2024 at 10:52 AM
A sad day indeed
Looking at the most recent 2 years accounts it would appear that despite making a loss in both years they still took dividends of £132k and £68k
Doesn't sound very sustainable
Alan Bridgerton
#3 Posted by Alan Bridgerton on 4 Jul 2024 at 12:54 PM
Its not great that they seem to be folding due to unpaid architect fees! :( Seems to be a growing problem - They should have took action sooner rather than later
#4 Posted by Philip on 4 Jul 2024 at 13:27 PM
Very sad indeed. Hope their talented team find suitable employment asap.
I can't understand the six(!) figure sum owed by client however...that's a lot of goodwill/ resource allocation with recompense. Is this normal!? I would personally down tools if £10k not paid and certainly wouldn't offer that much credit to any client.
#5 Posted by Jon on 4 Jul 2024 at 15:31 PM
So sad to hear. GHA have been at the forefront of contemporary Scottish architecture for several decades and have certainly been a key player in shaping our architectural discourse in that time. I for one remember visiting the newly completed Culloden centre as a student and being highly impressed. They will be sorely missed.

My best wishes to the entire team and I hope you all find employment again soon. I hope you can take comfort from the fact you have produced great work over the years and that you have had such a massive contribution to the built heritage.
#6 Posted by MV on 5 Jul 2024 at 13:39 PM
Heart breaking. A good firm, with good people, producing good architecture. I have no doubt its employees will find roles with other practices easily.

Unfortunately 6 figure sum debt is all too common in today’s industry. We cling on to the “architecture is a vocation” mentality, and it sometimes blinds us to the reality of a client. It’s a project we want to do, it will do good for society etc etc… the money will follow (why wouldn’t it?). But it often doesn’t. On a large project you could easily rack up 3 months of invoicing before you start to get worried about being paid. That could easily amount to six figures. Clients, at times, use us for interest free loans. They get the work, but they resist paying until their funding is secured. They are taking the risk on our behalf. It should be criminal. Hopefully we can all learn from this.

Good luck to those affected. Be proud of the work you produced.
#7 Posted by Philip on 5 Jul 2024 at 19:34 PM
Any company, offering essentially a full six figure sum of credit/ multiple months of unpaid work by a full team is quite frankly completely insane.
When you consider the pitiful hourly rates within the industry…and the propensity for additional free hours of goodwill/ commitment to the vocation of being an architect bollocks, you are looking at a serious (enormous!) amount of hours offered for free for one client.

We don’t know the full storey in this instance, but there is a wider point here about architects waking the hell up…
#8 Posted by Lovely on 6 Jul 2024 at 15:26 PM
A sad day.

All the never ending free work, unpaid work and highly optimistic good will on commercial projects or any project for that matter needs to stop.

It is simply unprofessional and does not lead to a good place as we can see.
#9 Posted by Dave on 8 Jul 2024 at 10:13 AM
We can sometimes be our own worst enemies. I have frequently worked in offices where, on paper, we have late invoice payment interests written into our appointments. Not once have I see these enforced, even when Clients are 2, 3 months late. I've also seen full works packages released before any invoices have been paid. Compare that to property solicitors, who wont even complete property purchases before their fee are paid.

Not saying GHA are guilty of this but out profession is taken for mugs too often.
Showbiz Sam
#10 Posted by Showbiz Sam on 8 Jul 2024 at 17:20 PM
This is an old story. I agree with all the points made, but i suspect there is a serious subconscious and outdated delusional class issue at play here / RIBA and professional noblesse oblige and all that claptrap for those who are born to sweet delight. Whereas, Commerce will legally rob a practice unless one has the funds to fight the hand that you believe feeds you. If only the profession stuck to the simple maxim of nae pay nae drawins, mate. Otherwise, a lot of practices become no more than debt recovery agencies and bankers for commerce in order to exist. Thats my experience.

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