Multidisciplinary consultant Waterman has predicted an upsurge in commercial work.
The firm said it received increasing demand for pre-planning services. Chairman William Mathieson said: "It is an encouraging early sign of renewed activity."

The firm's workload includes the Chelsfield White City retail park in west London, the Grosvenor Paradise Street scheme in Liverpool and an environmental role on the Greenwich Peninsula redevelopment.

Despite the positive position on future work, the firm's pre-tax profit fell £170,000 to £861,000 for the six months to 31 December. The consultant attributed the drop partly to increasing insurance premiums and National Insurance payment. Turnover rose £1.3m to £31.8m.

Managing director Bob Campbell remained optimistic about the firm's future. He said: "Although margin pressures still remain, the future prospects for the group are encouraging. We have a substantial order book and a strong balance sheet."