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Project and cost management consultancy agrees deal

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

The deal will bring the combined turnover of the business to £55 million and create a well-positioned global player in the project management and cost management space, with over 270 employees in ten offices across two continents. RLF’s Midlands office is at 7th Floor, 1 Newhall Street, Birmingham, B3 3NH.

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 as the business enters a new and exciting chapter of growth. 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. MGAC specializes in project and cost management services including program and project management, project controls, cost management, schedule management, technology solutions, FF&E procurement, and relocation management.

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2021, MGAC has completed multiple projects for 35 Fortune 500 companies, including two in the Top 5. The firm is currently managing $15 billion in construction across North America; and has worked internationally for top law firms, real estate developers, and various U.S. government agencies.

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.”

Among the key benefits to RLF from the acquisition is the opportunity to expand and enhance sector expertise including the key areas of corporate end user, hospitality, and data centre work, where MGAC has deep relationships and a leading market presence. Upon closing the transaction, Sean Clemons and the existing RLF leadership team will continue to run the company on a day-to-day basis, and all its services will be delivered under the RLF brand for the foreseeable future.

Sean 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.”

Pictured: University of Birmingham health and innovation campus