Truro-based international construction consultancy Ward Williams Associates (WWA) has acquired another Cornish consultancy and announced the opening of a new office in Saudi Arabia.
The company, which also has offices in Plymouth, Bristol, Evesham and London, was the second to move onto Truro Business Park eight years ago. It has now acquired the neighbouring Baseline specialist project management and building surveying practice.
Martin Ayliffe, who was managing director of Baseline, has joined the WWA board as director of project management.
WWA has absorbed the latter’s seven staff and, together with six newly-created jobs of its own so far this year, now employs 93 people – double the figure of three years ago. It is currently rated the 11th fastest growing construction consultancy in the UK in a survey by Building magazine.
Its new Riyadh office consolidates its presence in the Middle East, where WWA is also handling projects in Morocco and Lebanon, along with the hope of new business soon in Syria.
The company’s overseas contracts now account for 45% of turnover, which totalled just under £5 million in the year ended November 30 – more than double the level of two years earlier.
This year WWA is targeting turnover of £7.5 million, with another ten new jobs. It hopes to hit £10 million turnover, with staff up to 150, within three years.
Chairman Roland Tiplady said the Baseline acquisition would strengthen WWA’s ability to deliver specialist project management services and enhance existing building surveying capability.
He added that WWA’s UK business had grown in parallel with its Middle East expansion, which reflected the company’s long-established relationships with world class signature architects and engineers such as Foster and Partners, Gensler, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, and Buro Happold.
WWA, formed in 1974, is currently involved with over £2 billion of construction work with these companies. This includes a major part of the five million square metres of space planned for the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh.
“The vast majority of this work is serviced from our offices in the Westcountry,” said Tiplady, “so while the Saudi Arabian economy benefits from the project the rewards for this success stay at home.
“The UK economic climate is particularly tough, but with our back-to-basics approach we are very optimistic that we can maintain our growth gradually and sustainably, at home and overseas.”
WWA’s Riyadh office is being run by Martin Roberton, a board member for ten years and most recently based at Truro and Bristol. He will shortly be joined by two assistants.
WWA has also welcomed two new directors. Nick Andrews has moved from Davis Langdon in Plymouth and is now responsible for cost management. Alan Gladwin, previously with Davis Langdon in Bristol, is now heading up WWA’s Bristol office.