Consultant Precept targets PFI projects and large-scale capital schemes in bid to beat US rivals and build first UK programme management company.
Fast-growing new consultant Precept Programme Management has announced ambitious plans to take on US construction giants Bechtel and Fluor Daniel in overseeing large-scale capital projects.

It is targeting PFI projects and large-scale capital schemes planned by big commercial clients. It claims it already has 42 clients, including Railtrack and several major telecommunications companies and contractors.

The Sussex-based firm, formed in 1998, wants to quadruple its workforce of 25 in two years and increase turnover from £2m to £10m by 2008.

Principal David Barry, former European head of US project management giant O'Brien Kreitzberg, said the firm was inspired by the example of American firms.

He said: "One of the crystallising moments for us was when Railtrack was looking for project management firms, the only ones it looked at were the Americans.

"Our ambition is to build the first proper homegrown programme management company in the UK."

A crystallising moment for us was when Railtrack only looked at American project managers

David Barry, Precept

Programme management is a US term applied to managing a series of construction projects rather than just one. Barry said that the firm aimed to combine the best practices of the UK, where projects are generally done to budget, and the USA, where projects are completed on time.

Barry said: "We are taking the best of both sides. We are getting rid of the chaff and keeping the wheat."

Precept is also run by Brian Norton, former managing director of EC Harris-owned Value Management, and former Currie & Brown director Andy Wheaton.

Barry said: "We have all probably spent over 50% of our careers in the States. A lot of US practice is now integrated into what we do in the UK."

Wheaton said the firm had more to offer than QSs which have expanded their services to include a similar consultancy.