The owners of White Ink Architects have announced it has become an employee-owned company. The is the first wholly Northern Ireland based consultancy to make the move to employee ownership through an Employee Ownership Trust. The decision, say the three founders, will preserve the independent spirit of the practice.

White Ink Architects model of Employee Ownership will be achieved through a ‘Trust’. It will manage 100% of the company shares on behalf of all employees. The news arrives ahead of 20th anniversary celebrations for White Ink next month.

“We believe that employee ownership heralds the start of a vibrant new chapter in the White Ink story. Our team now have a mammoth incentive to continue to drive forward the performance of the practice, helping our clients and improving lives through the buildings we create. This is going to benefit clients who, under the leadership of the existing directors, have a team of employee owners more connected to their success than ever before,” said White Ink Architects Director, Joan McCoy.

White Ink Architects turnover in 2020 reached £2,419,097, a 2.7% increase on the previous year. This was despite a challenging period from March to July 2020 due to lockdowns. The company anticipates they will improve these figures for 2021 and are targeting a 10% increase for 2022.

The practice has worked on high-profile projects across the UK. These include the £50m RIBA Award Winner Brentford Lock West Phase, and projects for Hilton Hotel and Taylor Wimpey London.

“We’re very proud of the company we’ve built and the strong client relationships we have formed over the last 20 years. It was important that we protect White Ink’s legacy whilst acknowledging the contribution of our team to White Ink Architects’ success. We are delighted to be placing the future of the company into the hands of our employees. The new ownership structure removes barriers to succession, ensuring that the choice of future leaders will be determined solely on talent, ability and the drive to deliver White Ink’s vision,” added White Ink Architects Director, Claude Maguire.

As part of the transition, White Ink Architects has made several appointments to strengthen the existing management team and nurture talent. Claire McAteer, Pearse McCann and Shane McCrory step into a management role as Associates, with a combined 13 years of experience at the company. The three architects represent the trend for high staff retention rates at the practice. They also boast higher-than-average gender diversity for the profession, with a 40% female workforce.