EC Harris, Cyril Sweett, T&T and G&T seek reassurances that they will not be frozen out of work
A string of large QSs have sought assurances from Aecom that its £204m acquisition of Davis Langdon will not damage their relationship with it, or mean they lose future work.
Their anxiety was triggered by the announcement of a deal between the £3.8bn American multidisciplinary consultant and the £208m-turnover UK QS last week, which has boosted Aecom’s in-house cost consulting capability. Building understands Aecom will hold talks with concerned firms before the deal completes in October.
We’ve got umpteen contracts with QSs and we won’t lose those relationships
One senior Aecom source said: “We’ve received calls from Turner & Townsend (T&T), Gardiner & Theobald, EC Harris and Cyril Sweett, all wanting some clarity over what it means for them.”
The source said the firms had been told it would be business as usual for the foreseeable future, although Aecom employees are themselves uncertain over the full implications of the deal.
“We’ve got umpteen contracts with these firms and we won’t lose those relationships because of this deal. Things may change over time but the impact shouldn’t be too large.”
DL is undertaking a series of roadshows to explain the deal to staff. Rob Smith, the firm’s senior partner, has also been at pains to explain its merits to clients, who have given a mixed reaction.
Meanwhile, some of DL’s rivals have said its loss of independence could be a boost to them. One senior figure at a large rival said: “There’s a mischievous delight that DL is no longer independent. It’s like taking Manchester United out of the premier league.”
While he conceded that DL would have first refusal on more jobs on which Aecom was involved, he added: “Aecom has 45,000 staff compared with DL’s 2,000, which means it can’t provide resources for all the opportunities out there.”
Steve McGuckin, the UK managing director of T&T, who was formerly a senior director at Land Securities, added: “Some large infrastructure projects tend to use one-stop-shops, but in my experience clients in the property sector still value independent advice from a standalone QS.”
The Aecom source said he expected DL to operate as a separate entity in the short term, which tallies with comments made by Smith that the DL name would not immediately be consigned to the history books.