Contractor Mace intends to more than treble the size of its cost consultancy arm by 2006
The division, called Sense, was set up at the start of this month under managing director Chris Goldthorpe, a former partner in QS Gardiner & Theobald.

The team, based in Camden, north London, employs 19 people but the intention is to boost that to 70 by the end of 2006. Goldthorpe intends to have 30 in the team by the end of this year and 50 by the end of 2005.

Goldthorpe said that Sense currently has 10 clients, one with 14 projects valued at £25m. At least one is based overseas.

As the firm's client base grows, Sense intends to expand its geographical presence. Goldthorpe said: "We hope to set up an office in Manchester in the first quarter of next year."

Sense has four directors; all but one, Steve Mason, have come from outside Mace. Goldthorpe said the number of directors might grow to six by the end of 2007.

Goldthorpe dismissed criticism that it was difficult to combine a cost consultancy with contracting.

He said: "Some people argue: 'Chris, you're mad to work for a contractor!' but Mace is a multidisciplinary firm. It has a construction management arm, a programme manager, a project manager, and it employs more architects than a lot of architects do."

Bob White, chairman and chief executive of Mace, said: "Our vision is to develop a totally integrated broad consultancy and the launch of Sense is pivotal to that.

"Many of us at Mace have worked with Chris over many years on major projects in the UK."

Goldthorpe worked for Gardiner & Theobald on several projects, including the Swiss Re tower in the City of London, designed by Foster and Partners, and the headquarters of pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Other clients included Walt Disney and chemicals group ICI.