Cyril Sweett has bought £7m-turnover consultancy Nisbet for £5.9m in shares and cash.

The group has 12 partners and 78 staff and is a specialist in the education sector, which accounts for 40% of its income. It was founded in 1964 by Building Hall of Fame member James Nisbet, 88, who pioneered cost planning in the fifties as a forerunner to modern day estimating and benchmarking.

Dean Webster, chief executive of Cyril Sweett, said: “The education exposure will further strengthen our market share in this fast growing and attractive area.”

Nisbet has nine offices across the Midlands, the South and South-west of England. Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were £1.1m in the year ended 30 September 2007.