Division now employs more than half of firm’s 7,500 staff

A booming consultancy business helped lift Mace to a record pre-tax profit last year with the division now employing well over half of its 7,500 staff.

The firm said consult’s revenue grew 7% last year to £366m with the business expected to post 20% growth this year to take turnover close to £450m.

Mace wants turnover to be £500m by 2026 under a five year plan but group chair and chief executive Mark Reynolds said the figure could be reached two years early and was likely to end up north of £550m.


Mace said it does not count income from its construction management jobs such as its work at Battersea Power Station in its overall revenues

Consult now employs 4,700 people at Mace – around two-thirds of its group staff – a rise of more than 80% from the 2,600 it employed just two years ago.

The business has been growing on the back of winning work overseas such as a deal to build 75 schools in Peru, a contract to revamp rail links in Ontario, Canada, as well as increasing amounts of work in Asia following last year’s partnership with Tenman Project Management in which it has a controlling stake.

“I can see [the] £500m [target] being surpassed in 2024 with a fair wind,” Reynolds said. Operating profit at the consulting business jumped 44% to £35m last year.

Mace’s overall group revenue was up 12% to £1.9bn with pre-tax profit more than doubling from £16.7m to a record £38m.

Its biggest arm by turnover remains construction with £1.5bn of income, up from £1.2bn last time, making it responsible for just over three-quarters of its business. Operating profit also was on the up, by 62% to £56m.

The firm said the value of its construction management contracts last year, which included the second phase of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment, dropped 15% to £382m although the firm does not include the figure in its revenues.

But Reynolds said some jobs its construction arm, which employs nearly 1,600 people, that had been expecting to get the green light had stalled because of rising costs. “Between March and June [this year] we had five major tenders worth £500m delayed or cancelled.”

He said one scheme, worth upwards of £150m for a private client, had been pulled completely after failing to agree a price.

He added: “Some clients have asked us to go back and look again at the price. Some projects have slipped undoubtedly because of inflation.” Reynolds admitted that the uncertainty meant its projected turnover this year of £2.15bn was being revised down to just over £2bn but said its 2026 target of £3bn was still within reach.

The fallout from last week’s mini-budget will test developers’ nerve to stick with schemes, he added, with the prospect of further currency fluctuations and interest rate rises to come.

“We’re in for a bumpy few weeks but we went through this after the Brexit vote and it calmed down eventually.”

But he added clients and funders were running the rule more than ever over how proposed schemes stacked up financially. “There is lots of money in the market, with things like private equity, but funds will only be deployed if the appraisals work. If it doesn’t work, they won’t do it.”

Mace improved its average payment time by a day to 29 days last year and said 94% of invoices, including those in dispute, were paid within 60 days.

The firm said exceptional items totalled £12.5m last year which included a software expense of £2.5m. Mace also received a £2.1m covid loan handed to its US business that was later written off by the US government. Its year-end order book stood at £2.8bn.