Cundall Johnston and Partners sets up acoustics division

ENGINEERING consultant Cundall Johnston and Partners has set up an acoustics division as its strategic move to expand upon the range of services it offers develops further.

ENGINEERING consultant Cundall Johnston and Partners has set up an acoustics division as its strategic move to expand upon the range of services it offers develops further.

The Newcastle-based international firm has added options such as IT services, planning and lighting in the last few years.

The company said this diversification continues a strategy laid down several years ago, and it plans to add more services in future if appropriate.

The firm employs more than 450 staff in total, 100 of which are based in the North East.

Partner Gordon Reid said: “In the last few years, we’ve added services such as planning, lighting and geotechnical services. I think there’s still a place for single discipline business, but we think there are advantages to our approach because it’s easier to set up for the client and for co-ordination on our side of things.

“The market is certainly tough at the moment, but the strategy for increasing our skill base was a decision that was taken a few years ago.”

The company’s focus on sustainability – which includes home energy challenges to encourage employees to reduce energy and an increasing focus on reducing travel in favour of videoconferencing – won it the nebusiness award this year for Corporate Social Responsibility and Environment.

It also picked up the Sustainable Consultant of the Year award at the 2010 Building Sustainability Awards last week.

Anderson said: “Sustainability is important not just from a global perspective but also to our clients on a financial level. Energy is an increasingly expensive commodity.”

Cundall announced in March that its turnover for the year ending June 2009 rose from £30.2m to £31.8m, with pre-tax profits dropping from £4.7m to £2.99m. Reid said he estimated current turnover in the UK at £18m, and projected it would remain much the same in the year to come.

He said: “We would be quite happy to maintain the same turnover, particularly in view of the public spending cuts and their effect on school developments.”

The company recently completed its work on the St Andrew’s Way mall development in Newcastle, which was given a gold award at the BCSC awards dinner. It also finished design work on the roof of the Gateshead International Stadium in July, and the media centre is 20% complete. Cundall is employed by main contractor Willmott Dixon. However, it is wary about the effect of the Government’s spending cuts, especially with regard to school projects.

Anderson said: “We’ve got quite a lot of education projects going through the office at the moment and we don’t see anything coming out of the public spending plan to replace that work.”

Cundall operates out of 11 offices outside the UK, including four in Australia and bases in areas such as Madrid, Dubai, Tripoli, Shanghai and Hong Kong. It expects the Far East to be a growth market in future, and is also planning to grab more work in its international markets.

Reid said: “We started off doing environmentally sustainable design in Australia and we’ve really created a niche in the market out there.

“We win a lot of work locally and people know who we are. However, we have skills that are useful in niche markets in the UK, and an increasing share of work will come from overseas markets.”

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