QS’ high-tech unit pays dividends as it agrees venture to oversee global roll-out of microchip facilities.

Cost consultant Turner & Townsend has formed a joint venture with technology giant Siemens to oversee £300m of construction a year. The new outfit, Siemens Industrial Building Consultants, will manage the expansion of the German firm’s microchip facilities worldwide. The move comes after the creation of a high-technology unit at T&T to take advantage of the demand for QS services by global clients.

Tom Harrison, managing director of Turner & Townsend International, said the venture would allow the firm to penetrate markets such as China and the USA. Harrison said: “Our growth has always been about going overseas with existing clients – it is how we first got into South Africa. That is our strategy.” He said the microchip market in South-east Asia was picking up, and that T&T’s Malaysian office may become involved in the joint venture’s work.

Siemens Industrial Building Consultants will be staffed with 15 T&T staff and the 35-strong architectural and project team of Siemens’ building subsidiary, Siemens Immobilien. Siemens will take a 51% stake and T&T will own 49%. Harrison and T&T chairman Tim Wray will be directors of the firm, which starts trading on 1 July. Harrison said that more firms in the manufacturing and technology sectors wanted a worldwide one-stop-shop service. He aid: “Clients on the technology side want greater access to a database of technological knowledge under one roof. The key for us is to get involved at a pre-concept stage of any project. It’s about building a rapport with the client and his technological team so as to follow them around the world.”

Harrison said the deal would also give T&T better access to other divisions within Siemens, which has a turnover of £43bn and 443 000 employees worldwide. He said: “If we can say to Siemens’ power division that we are exclusive consultants to another division of the firm, it is that much stronger. To associate with the Siemens brand name will do us no harm as well.”

It is the first time T&T has formed a joint venture with a client. In April, it formed CTT, a joint venture with rival Capita, to concentrate on rail work. T&T first worked for Siemens on the refurbishment of its microchip plant in North Tyneside in 1995. Nine months of negotiations were carried out before that deal was struck.

The firm is working on Siemens projects in Dresden and Portugal, both of which are extensions to existing microchip facilities.