Brexit fears in fit-out market have been overblown

15th August 2018

Fit-out specialist dismisses Brexit slowdown as turnover jumps 50% London-based fit-out firm BW has said Brexit is having…

Fit-out specialist dismisses Brexit slowdown as turnover jumps 50%

London-based fit-out firm BW has said Brexit is having no impact on its business at all, as it reported annual turnover has hit £150.9m, a hike of 50%.

BW: Workplace Experts, based in the City of London, has said it is on track to hit its target of £250m turnover by 2020. Its operating profit leaped 110% to £4.1m for the year ending 31 December 2017.

Anthony Brown, the firm’s sales and marketing director, said BW’s growth is due to tech companies wanting top end offices as a recruiting sergeant for skilled workers, as well as a recent uptick in work outside London, in particular in the Cambridge to Oxford corridor and in Southampton.

He said: “The main driver for growth in fit-out is recruitment – we’ve seen huge growth in London from tech companies over the last few years.

“Everyone is fighting hard for a small pool of talent, and a lack of grade A office space – vacancy rates are the lowest they’ve been – means that firms have to invest to make their workplace a differentiator.

“The growth outside London is expected as London expands and commuting is cumbersome – we might see a position where 30-40% of our work is in the Home Counties.”

Brown said he has been surprised that Brexit was having no impact on business.

He said: “If you’d asked me a year ago, I thought we would see things tailing off – this has been a phenomenal year. We’re even seeing growth in the banking sector.

“Brexit is so undetermined at the moment that people are carrying on with their plans.”

He added: “We only need about £3m this year to hit the £200m mark. We’ve grown our workforce by over 100 in the year [to just over 250].”

On future plans, Brown said there is an “appetite for a third firm in the London fit-out market” behind the two big players in the sector, Morgan Sindall-owned Overbury and ISG.

Jamie Harris, Building.co.uk

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