London-based architect Foster and Partners has warned staff of an undisclosed number of planned job cuts. With offices in Berlin and Istanbul closing, staff numbers will fall to the mid-2007 level of under 1,000, estimates Mouzhan Majidi, the firm’s chief executive. Having 80% international work cushioned the firm from local downturns. "However, a number of our international clients have fallen victim to the economic climate, and...some projects have been delayed or cancelled," he adds. Europe’s planned tallest building, the 600-m-tall Russia Tower in Moscow, is among Foster projects that will be halted.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.