US firm swoops for property and construction consultancy

Birmingham Health Innovation Campus

Property and construction consultancy RLF, which has a strong presence in Birmingham with clients including University of Birmingham and Bruntwood SciTech, has been snapped up by a US firm.

MGAC, a North American-based project and cost management consultancy, has completed the acquisition of RLF for an undisclosed, all-cash purchase.

The deal will bring the combined turnover of the business to £55m.

The company will have over 270 employees in 10 offices across two continents.

RLF’s Midlands office is at 1 Newhall Street in Birmingham.

The acquisition will retain RLF’s existing staff and 136-year heritage.

Current RLF managing partner David Thomson has used this as an opportunity to announce his retirement with RLF executive partner, Sean Clemons, unanimously being elected by the existing RLF partners as his successor.

With the acquisition, Clemons will take on the role of managing director in the UK.

All RLF partners will remain in place as directors with Chris Barker, Andy Dedman, and Dorothy Robertson becoming executive directors, overseeing the Midlands, London and the South East, and Scotland regions, respectively.

Founded in 1885, RLF has 100 staff across four UK offices in London, Birmingham, Brighton, and Glasgow. RLF’s core services include cost management, project management, construction management, health and safety, and building surveying. A selection of their longstanding, key clients includes University of Birmingham, Bruntwood SciTech, BAM Properties, Solum, The Institute of Cancer Research, and Hyde Housing.

Founded in 1996 and privately owned, MGAC has over 170 employees and is headquartered in Washington, DC with further offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Toronto.

Mark Anderson, president and founder of MGAC, said: “We quickly realised RLF shared a common vision with our company and there was a real opportunity for a strategic transatlantic expansion. We have been working in the UK for more than 20 years and we saw RLF as the ideal firm for us to establish stronger roots in the country and across Europe. Our expanded business will create a formidable organization across two continents helping bring the most ambitious project visions to reality. We believe, by combining tools and resources, we can add jet fuel in the form of investment and energy to the UK business to provide greater opportunities to our professionals globally, and to better serve our clients. We are hugely excited to welcome RLF to MGAC.”

Clemons said: “I would like to thank David Thomson for his excellent stewardship over the past 10 years. David strengthened our business in many ways and positioned us to excel in the future. Today is an incredibly exciting day for RLF, and we very much look forward to working together with our new MGAC colleagues in North America as we continue to move forward and prosper. The additional investment, resources, experience, and infrastructure will enhance our offering to clients and broaden our sector expertise.’’

Chris Barker, RLF executive director, Midlands, said: “This announcement represents an important step in our continued growth on both a regional and national level. There is a lot of cultural synergy between our two businesses and the additional investment, experience, resource, and infrastructure comes at a time when we are carrying out several key projects at the heart of the Midlands’ thriving economy. It will help to strengthen our reputation as one of the region’s most reliable and successful construction consultancies and broaden our scope of sector expertise. We look forward to delivering some of the most transformative projects in the Midlands.”

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