Architect SMC Group has continued its aggressive expansion policy by merging with 20-strong south London-based practice Urban Research Laboratory.
Set up just five years ago, the SMC Group comprises 11 offices in London, Leeds and Warwick and employs 217 staff. The company's chairman, Stewart McColl, said he was in negotiation to acquire two more practices, which will add a further 170 staff.

Urban Research Laboratory director Jeff Kirby said: "We can add value to the group through our specialisation in brownfield regeneration. We are hoping to attract big clients like Land Securities, British Land and Arlington Securities."

Urban Research Laboratory's largest project is the development of 167 flats in east London.