Forward-thinking architect BB Partnership Limited ("BBP") has celebrated its 25th birthday by moving to 100 per cent employee ownership, predicting that most UK practices will one day be owned this way.
The trustee of the BB Partnership Employee Ownership Trust has purchased every BBP share from the founders and directors, all of whom will remain active in the firm but with all staff now benefitting from the company's success.
This model underpins the long-term stability of the practice and strengthens existing teamwork, generating promotion based on merit rather than a willingness to invest.
Founded in 1991, BBP specialises in mid to high-end residential projects, incorporating new-build, conversion/refurbishment and extension/alteration projects both as one-off schemes for private end users and as speculative developments for commercial clients.
International law firm Fieldfisher advised BBP. Fieldfisher's team was led by employee ownership experts Graeme Nuttall OBE, partner and Neil Palmer, partner. The team also included senior associate Jennifer Martin and associate Janice Houghton.
Julian Williams, Director of BB Partnership Limited, said:
"Employee trust ownership is the way that most architects practices will one day be owned. This was our clear conclusion after reviewing how best to plan for management and ownership succession in the practice"
Graeme Nuttall OBE, Partner at Fieldfisher, said:
"Employee ownership is very popular among architects' practices. There are numerous successful examples of practices that have adopted this improved way of working since the 1990s. But BB Partnership is the first firm to assert that employee trust ownership will become the norm for architects. Architectural schools need to teach this method of owning and running a practice alongside other business models, and firms built around the reputation of a named architect should consider employee ownership as the way to sustain that practice."
Deb Oxley, Chief Executive of the Employee Ownership Association, said:
"We congratulate BB Partnership on its 25 years in business and its move to becoming 100% employee owned through an Employee Ownership Trust. The professional services sector is one of the Employee Ownership sector's key growth areas and architects in particular seem to find this model suits their business.
"In most professional services companies the main assets of the business go home at the end of each day, so it makes real sense that those assets, the people, have a real stake in the business and a vested interest in seeing it perform well."
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