THE firm of architects behind some of Scotland’s most impressive new building projects, including Edinburgh BioQuarter and the new Boroughmuir High School, has set out its blueprint for the future with its staff as the beneficiaries.

Allan Murray Architects (AMA) has entered into an employee ownership trust (EOT), transferring all its shares to it and splitting an agreed share of profits between employees, regardless of their position.

The firm, founded in 1992, has perhaps played a bigger role in Edinburgh’s recent architectural renaissance than any other single firm.

Directors Conor Pittman and Kenny McNally, will continue to lead the practice with an experienced team, enabling Murray to fully retire, after being supported through the journey into an EOT by Ownership Associates.

Managing director Pittman said: “Unlike many firms entering employee-ownership, for us it is all about continuity and showing the market that – while we are evolving – we are as well placed as ever before to deliver the cutting-edge and landmark projects we’re known for. This includes exciting schemes like Abbey Lane – where we’ve been granted planning approval to accommodate 298 students.

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“We have Allan’s incredible legacy and a team that has absorbed so much knowledge and acclaim over the last few decades – and now we want to knit together and come out of the challenges that the entire sector has experienced over the last year.

“Employee ownership will help us grow and develop – and take on new tests with increased ingenuity and accountability. It will ensure our team is fully rewarded for its brilliant work too.”

McNally, who is overseeing the masterplan for the £1 billion St James Quarter in Edinburgh, said: “Employee ownership is a natural route for us as the business goes into its next chapter.

“The business is now mature and responsibility for continuing to grow our reputation is shared between all of us, the beginning of a new era that we are all looking forward to.”

The team elected office manager, Ellen Wilson, to become trustee, after more than 20 years with the business.

Her prime responsibility will be to ensure the company is run in the best interests of the employees. She said: “I’m fascinated to see the impact employee ownership has, though I’m certain it will give us all an increased drive to come out of the current difficult climate as well prepared as possible – and ready to take on new challenges.”

AMA is the latest in a growing list of Scottish architectural practices to adopt the employee ownership model. They include Page\Park, Collective Architecture, Anderson Bell Christie and Archetype, all in the 20% of the UK’s Architects’ Journal top 100 employee-owned firms.

Ownership Associates, founded by Carole Leslie, provides support for a business seeking to go through the employee ownership journey, and has now helped more than 60 firms achieve their goal.

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“Few firms can match AMA’s impact on the fabric of Edinburgh – though that is not to take away from the team’s projects throughout the country and further afield,” said Leslie.

“It’s been personally rewarding to see them make that step into employee ownership and choose a route that works in the interest of its team – which for years has been fundamental to its success.”