Alliance between listed UK architect and Boston healthcare specialist will form £100m-construction value operation.
Listed architect Aukett is to launch a £100m-construction value alliance with US healthcare specialist The Ritchie Organisation next week.

The new organisation, Aukett + TRO Healthcare, will have up to 300 employees specialising in healthcare, biotechnology and pharmaceutical work across Europe.

The move offers Boston-based TRO the opportunity to break into the European market and gives Aukett the chance to improve its expertise in the emerging biotechnology and pharmaceutical markets.

TRO corporate development officer John Downes said Aukett's 15 offices in Europe, which include Berlin and Prague, would lead to work for the alliance throughout the Continent. He said: "The selling point of Aukett was that they are pan-European, and we wanted an alliance that didn't just focus on the UK."

Downes added that the alliance would initially focus on work valued in the £25-40m range. He did not rule out a formal merger of the two companies in the longer term. Aukett director Iain Macdonald said: "Sometimes, going straight into setting up a formal company, things can get strained. But we wouldn't rule anything out."

He said that the alliance was working on bids for two schemes, one in the UK and one in mainland Europe. He added: "We have set a conservative construction value target – £50-100m would be fine for the first year."

Macdonald said Aukett + TRO Healthcare's proposals for most healthcare projects would be mixed-use, with developments including research centres, primary care centres and biotechnology campuses. He said: "One of the reasons for the link-up is that the healthcare markets in the UK and the USA are converging."

The alliance will have a board of four directors: Downes and Macdonald, Aukett managing director Geoff Harwood and TRO chief executive officer Robert Hoye.

The alliance will be formally launched at the NHS Conference in Glasgow and the Healthcare conference in Montreal, Canada next Wednesday.

Aukett and TRO started their negotiations nine months ago. The parties met through mutual links with Harvard University's Center for Design Informatics.

A major scheme that TRO is working on independently is the £70-95m campus redevelopment of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.