Not being an avid watcher of the world of quantity surveying, I only recently caught up on news last month that 32-strong UK QS firm Needlemans had been acquired for an estimated £1m in shares by Mott MacDonald, where it will apparently become a specialist unit within the group’s existing QS company Franklin + Andrews.
Why should I be interested? Well, Needlemans established a sister business, MPS, that developed contract change management (CCM) software to support the implementation of New Engineering Contract family of construction contracts – an activity that brought it into competition with construction collaboration vendors such as BIW Technologies [my employer] who also deliver contract administration functionality. A Mott MacDonald spokesperson told me that: “MPS did not form part of the acquisition”, so presumably MPS directors will soon be enjoying running an independent business.
Needlemans was founded in the 1970s and established a new company Needlemans-MPS Ltd in August 2000. This then dropped the Needlemans prefix altogether in December 2003 to become Management Process Systems Ltd. However, Needlemans retained a 25% stake in the MPS business (at least up to 3 August 2007); MPS also shared Needlemans’ offices in Royston, Hertfordshire and London; and Needlemans and MPS continued to share some personnel (eg: CEO Barry Trebes and FD Adrian Morter had the same roles at both Needlemans and MPS; former BAA construction chief David H. Williams was non-exec chairman of both), until recently.
QS Week reported that Needlemans MD Barry Trebes will become ‘team leader’ of a Needlemans unit within F+A, and both he and Morter disappeared from the staff listed on MPS’s website. I did email MPS’s Robin Wilkin with a few questions earlier this week, but he has not (yet) got back in touch (I will, of course, update the blog if and when he does).
MPS is also a member of Constructing Excellence.
Update (17 March 2008): MPS’s Robin Wilkin has been in touch, but his email is essentially a long-winded ‘no comment’:
“I am not in a position to comment on the changes that may result in Needlemans as a result of the Mott MacDonald situation. Comments should be sought directly from them. MPS will continue to operate on an as normal business basis. Any changes to their business operations will continue to be driven solely by the increasing demand of customers for additional services. Requests for company information are always referred to our web site or to Company House Records.”