Capita Architecture to be formed out of three subsidiaries, with more purchases on the cards

Capita Symonds, the consultancy branch of FTSE 100 company Capita Group, has set up an architecture arm in preparation for an expansion drive in the sector.

Capita has three architecture subsidiaries: Capita Percy Thomas, Capita Norman + Dawbarn and Capita Ruddle Wilkinson. These will be brought together to form Capita Architecture, which will be the fifth biggest architect in the UK, with 465 staff in 10 offices.

The business will be run by Rob Firth, who joined Capita from Austin:Smith-Lord. Viv McKelvay will be operations director, Clifford Martin will be in charge of the north and west region and Norman Taylor will be in charge of south and east.

The company has also poached two senior managers. Andrew Pryke, who was previously a board director at John McAslan + Partners, will head the London office, and Ed Burton, who was head of architecture at Amec, will run the Cambridge office.

Capita Architecture will be split into 14 sectors, including defence, education and healthcare.

Firth said the reorganisation was the start of a plan to expand Capita’s architecture division.

He added that this was likely to be fuelled by acquisitions in the near future. “The company is looking at two or three targets at the moment, and because of the financial weight of Capita, deals tend to go through quickly.”

Capita is particularly interested in extending its reach in masterplanning, Urban Design and landscape design. Firth said it hoped to launch separate brands in these areas.

The company is also planning to set up Capita Creative, an interiors division.

Firth added that the company aimed to be on a Stirling prize shortlist within five years.

Capita Group this week reported an 18% rise in pre-tax profit for the six months to 30 June, up to £104m from £88m in the corresponding period last year. Turnover rose 17% to £985m across the period.