The new division, Cyril Sweett Consulting, is headed by director and Building columnist Andrew Hemsley. It will provide a one-stop shop for clients that need advice not directly linked to specific construction projects.
Hemsley is supported by a 40-strong team. It includes directors Patrick Waterfield, who provides expertise on the private finance initiative and partnering; Tony Chiorra, who is the company's expert on benchmarking, whole-life costing and risk management; Hannah Fox, who consults on insurance valuations and capital allowances; and legal expert Victoria Balogan.
Cyril Sweett chairman Francis Ives said: "The creation of a new division resulted in a realisation that more than 15% of the company's turnover was directly linked to the provision of strategic advice." Ives said the new division would bring existing skills within one department and should allow better cross-selling of services. He explained that employees providing a specific service have been surprised to discover that the company provides complementary services.
Ives said setting up the new division did not signify a move away from quantity surveying and project management.
The move is the latest in a series of re-branding exercises undertaken by QSs in the past 12 months. Currie & Brown has formed a partnership with management consultant Ernst & Young, EC Harris has re-branded itself as a capital project and facilities consultant, and Franklin + Andrews is about to re-brand as a capital project consultant.
Ives said: "We keep an eye on what the market is doing, but it is not a reaction to our traditional rivals." He added that the move was inspired by less traditional rivals, such as Mace, which now brands itself as an international property and construction consultant, and management consultants such as Arthur Andersen, both of which increasingly employ construction and property specialists.
Hemsley has been with Cyril Sweett for 19 years and is a legal expert, working with the Joint Contracts Tribunal and the RICS' administration and practice panel.