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ERM named NCE/ACE Global Consultant of the Year

Environmental consulting giant ERM has been named Global Consultant of the Year in the prestigious NCE/ACE Consultants of the Year awards.

Buro Happold has been named UK Consultant of the Year, Bridgezone has scooped the inaugural Specialist Consultant of the Year crown and GHA Livigunn SME Consultant of the Year.

Doug King - the man who coined the term eco bling - has taken the Outstanding Achievement Award for his passion for sustainability and Buro Happold structural engineer Phil Anthony Moutousamy is Young Consultant of the Year.

All winners were announced at a gala awards lunch at London’s Claridges Hotel on Friday.

The winners and why they won

ERM at a glance


The last year has been one of sustained growth for environmental consultancy ERM, with the number of staff, turnover and fees all increasing by around 15% on the previous year’s figures.

The company, which is 55% owned by Charterhouse Capital Partners and 45% by employees, has grown steadily since it was founded in the 1970s, and last year reported a turnover of 439.5M and a profit of £30.6M. Growth since 1971 has come both organically and through acquisitions and mergers, and the company says its growth strategy for the next five years includes “selective acquisitions” and joint ventures.

Although UK-based, around 89% of ERM business is done outside the UK, and the company’s 4,266 staff are dispersed across 140 offices in 40 countries. ERM says one of the reasons for its continuing success is a knowledge management system that enables staff to learn about the regulatory and cultural environments of all the territories they’re working in. Major growth areas include the Asia Pacific region and South America.

Buro Happold’s great year

When the economic crisis started to bite, the early casualties included firms whose fee income relied heavily on building structures. While some of those consultants are still feeling the pinch, Buro Happold, half of whose technical staff are involved in structural design, has already emerged from the downturn, stronger and reinvigorated.

The 1,424-strong company has had a very successful year, with turnover up 26% on 2010’s figures, and is actively recruiting to meet the demands of its bulging forward order book. More than 100 new civil and structural engineering staff joined Buro Happold last year, and the firm says it is “aggressively pursuing a graduate recruitment drive” that saw it adopting a high profile on last autumn’s university “milk-round”.

Bridgezone grows

Bridgezone has ambitious plans to grow by 140% between now and the middle of 2015. The consultant, best known for its roped access and diving expertise, saw turnover, staff numbers and fees all grow by around 60% between 2010 and 2011, so there is no reason to doubt it will achieve its impressive aims.

The company believes there are plenty of opportunities for expansion, particularly in the UK highways sector, although is aware that this is a highly competitive market.

The awards were judged by Association of Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin, ACE chairman and WYG chief executive Paul Hamer, FIDIC chairman Geoff French, independent analyst Francesca Raleigh, Manchester Business School’s Bruce Tether, NCE deputy editor Mark Hansford and NCE Consultants File editor Margo Cole.


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