A changing Science & Research landscape.

Andrew Somerville

Andrew Somerville, Project Director

What does the flattening of designers mean for clients?

Over the last few years it has become clear that the traditional UK Science & Research building designers are losing their strong-hold on the market.

As the market resilience of the sector becomes apparent to those who are traditionally stronger in others, new designers are attempting to move into the sector across all design and professional disciplines. However, the biggest example of this influx is within architecture, where teams of internal laboratory planners typically come with experience in the US science sector.

This wider market of designers has benefits to clients, as well as some pitfalls.

The positive impact of this change is clear: interactional firms with experience outside of the UK are bringing knowledge into the country, advancing new ideas and ways of working, and making fee levels more competitive. This is a great opportunity for UK Science & Research clients to procure design teams on more competitive rates and to benefit from a bigger choice of global designers.

Cause for caution.

However, there are some pitfalls that clients should be aware of. There are some firms attempting to enter the sector without the experience and legislative knowledge required to properly support the client.

To reduce this risk, we believe it’s important that at least one experienced team member is brought on board to identify these instances. In parallel with this, clients should be conscious of procuring teams with the right level of experience balanced with the right fee – not necessarily just the cheapest.

Often, inexperienced firms aren’t aware of the level of detail needed on Science & Research projects compared to other sectors.

Architectural firms coming into the UK from the US or other regions are often surprised by how tight-knit the sector is in comparison to other countries, and by how difficult it can be to break into the market. The more successful ones have understood the value of bringing in local talent already connected to the UK Science & Research sector, in order to better deliver against the often-complex mix of client requirements.

This is part 1 of a 2 part series. Read part 2 here on the importance of understanding the Science & Research user.