Capita Symonds has bought M&E engineering consultancy Pearce Buckle to strengthen its total engineering offering in the custodial and health care sectors.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, is part of the Capita Symonds strategy to acquire leading niche market businesses to add high value to Capita’s clients, said Chris Green, a board director and former managing director of Capita’s building services division.

Pearce, to be known as Capita Pearce Buckle, has 40 staff in Sheffield and will work closely with Capita Symonds’ 30 building services staff, also Sheffield-based. The acquisition brings Capita’s building services division to around 380. “But acquiring Pearce Buckle makes us one of the strongest northern building services firms in the north,” said Green.

Pearce, which was formed in 2000 and went through a management buy-out in 2002, has focussed on the custodial sector with key alliances on the HM Prison Service Constructor Framework Agreement. More than 20 HM Prison schemes are under way, including the conversion of RAF Coltishall to a Category C Prison. In other sectors, Pearce is working on the Gateway Plaza mixed-use development in Barnsley and the refurbishment of the Portobello Centre at the University of Sheffield. In healthcare, Pearce has worked for a large number of NHS Trusts and as a partner on the ProCure21 framework.

“The deal is not about adding volume work for us. We already have strong architectural presence in the custodial sector and taking on Pearce Buckle will help us with our framework appointments,” said Green, who has been with Capita for 20 years and is a quantity surveyor by profession.

The acquisition is the third for Capita Symonds in the past four months. It follows the acquisitions of land planning consultancy Lovejoy in March and civil and structural engineering consultancy NRM Bobrowski in April.