Engineering consultancy snaps up counterpart AcousticAir

03 April 2018

Engineering consultancy M-EC has acquired counterpart AcousticAir for an undisclosed fee. The purchase will see M-EC absorb AcousticAir into its main business, acquiring a new office in Brighton in the process.

With a weakened pound amid Brexit uncertainty meaning that previous pricing premiums have been reduced, the UK engineering consulting space has been a lucrative prospect for investment over the past 12 months. In 2017, British professional services firm Atkins announced that the SNC-Lavalin Group had completed its £2.1 billion acquisition of the firm, allowing the Canadian firm a stake in the international infrastructure, transportation and energy sectors.

In the latest acquisition in the UK industry, AcousticAir has been absorbed into rival engineering consultancy M-EC’s main business, combining this firm’s expertise with that of the existing M-EC team. M-EC is one of the leading consulting development engineers in the UK, operating nationwide for both the private and public sectors including residential, commercial, industrial, retail, leisure, education and healthcare clients. The firm currently employs over 90 people, including highly qualified engineering and environmental professionals and 20 apprentices across all disciplines.

Neil Forsdyke, Rosie James, Alex Bennett and Eddie Mewies

Following the acquisition of Acoustic Air, the expanded team has been re-branded as M-EC Acoustic Air. As part of the acquisition M-EC has also acquired AcousticAir’s offices in Brighton; a key location for the company’s ongoing expansion plans and further geographical spread across the UK. The new location for M-EC follows hot on the heels of the firm’s opening of its new Hugglescote, Leicester headquarters in 2017. The firm also has offices in Nottingham; a recently launched Leeds locale; relocated, larger Birmingham spaces and recently expanded hubs in Milton Keynes, as the firm continues to expand.

The Southern UK’s M-EC AcousticAir team will be headed by noise and air quality consultant, Neil Forsdyke, undertaking noise, vibration, acoustic and odour consultancy services, alongside Associate Director (Noise and Air Quality) Rosie James . In the near future, it is anticipated that the office will expand the services it offers in line with the company’s key capabilities which presently include infrastructure design; structural engineering design, transportation planning, flood risk and hydrology services, among others.

M-EC Managing Director Eddie Mewies said of the deal, "When the opportunity to acquire an established business to augment our existing team of experts, including a strategically located office in the south presented itself, we decided the time was right to take that leap of faith. We are more than happy to bring this project forward, as the current expansion of the business coinciding with the opportunity to launch in Brighton seemed too good to miss."

Related: Engineering consultancy Howard Ward Associates opens Nottingham office.

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SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

19 April 2019

UK consulting firm SQW Group has completed its first acquisition since it completed a management buyout in January 2019. BBP Regeneration joins the company having collaborated with SQW for more than 20 years.

Established in 1983, SQW Group now operates all over the world. Comprising SQW, Oxford Innovation, Oxford Innovation Services – one of the UK’s leading innovation centre operators – and Oxford Investment Opportunities Network, the organisation’s origins can be traced to Britain’s two ancient university cities: Oxford, through Oxford Trust founders, Martin and Audrey Wood, and Cambridge, through SQW’s work in producing The Cambridge Phenomenon.

The consultancy specialises in public policy, working with entities from the public, private and voluntary sectors to research, develop, implement and evaluate social and economic development interventions. It now employs over 250 people across regional offices in London, Oxford and Edinburgh, and provides business support to over 4,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses each year. At the start of 2019, SQW secured its independence in a management buyout, advised on by M&A experts from Liberty Corporate Finance and Penningtons Manches.

SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

SQW has strengthened its position as a provider of services across the business spectrum with the acquisition of BBP Regeneration. Founded in 1994, the consulting firm specialises in land and property-based regeneration and growth schemes, and is a leading social and economic development consultancy. 

The two firms first worked together over 20 years ago, when SQW and BBP collaborated to develop the first Regional Economic Strategy for the South East. More recently, they developed an economic strategy for Thanet and are now working together in locations stretching from Cwmbran via Oxfordshire to London.

With the addition of BBP, SQW can now provide an integrated advisory service for organisations developing property schemes which deliver economic benefit to their local area. By joining SQW, meanwhile, BBP hopes to further enhance its ability to support clients in delivering property and place-making ambitions. 

Speaking about the deal, SQW CEO David Crichton-Miller commented, “The UK more than ever needs solutions to the challenges of places – of high streets under threat, of meeting housing delivery targets, and of both economically over-successful and economically challenged towns and cities – and the combination of SQW and BBP is uniquely suited to developing those solutions. [This deal] brings together critical and complementary services relating to places to serve our clients with leading edge and practical advice.”

Andy Smith, Director of BBP Regeneration, added, “SQW shares with BBP the same values of seeking to provide outstanding, practical, real world advice that helps get buildings built and places developed.  We greatly look forward to the opportunities that come from joining our two organisations together.”