Several companies have been kicked out of a new London office after a beam came loose and left the property unsafe.
The property in question, 10 Finsbury Square, is just eight months old and located in the heart of London’s Square Mile. It is home to over 300 Cisco employees, The London Metal Exchange, startup space provider Runway East, lawyers Fox Williams, at least one trading firm, and several other companies.
The disruption caused isn’t insignificant, with some of the larger businesses forced to put their emergency business continuity plans into action. The London Metal Exchange, for example, has temporarily relocated itself to a business park in Essex, according to The Financial Times.
Tenants of 10 Finsbury Square were told on Sunday July 18 that they would not to be able to enter the property — built by construction firm McAlpine — until the loose beam on the fourth floor (occupied by Cisco) has been fixed.
“We haven’t been able to go in since last Saturday (17 July),” startup founder and CEO Rich Pleeth told Business Insider on Monday. “They first said we would be back in on Wednesday (20 July) but we’re still not in now (25 July). And they may not have us back in until mid-August. You cannot be building offices that are not structurally sound. Imagine if it had collapsed.”
Tony Aikenhead, the CEO of McAlpine, resigned shortly after tenants were kicked out, Building.co.uk reports. He’d been in charge for less than a year.
Some of the technology startups that were based in Runway East have relocated to friends’ offices and other coworking locations in the city, including WeWork and Google Campus.
“Runway East have honestly been amazing at finding alternative office space and kept the community going,” said Pleeth. “They have personally come and checked in on us all once a day, sent us cake, and hosted a picnic for all of us.”
An email from Runway East’s COO to Runway East tenants on Sunday outlines the state of affairs:
A spokesperson for 10 Finsbury Square provided the following statement:
“Temporary works to address the structural issue identified over the weekend are underway and a thorough assessment of the building is ongoing by a team of experts to determine the cause of the issue.
“To date our contractor team has determined that a single structural component on one floor of the building has created localised movement. Safety remains our top priority and until a comprehensive investigation is complete and a permanent solution determined, the building will have to remain closed. The building is unlikely to reopen before early August. An independent consultant team has been appointed to advise on when the building is safe for occupation. We are doing all that we can to reopen the building as soon as possible.”