An established north east architecture practice has attracted a new six-figure investment into the firm as it gears up to take advantage of the upturn it is starting to see in the construction industry.
The ID Partnership-northern has begun a planned programme of business development work which is targeting both new and existing clients along the M62 corridor and inside the M25, as well as across the north east.
A series of strategic investments in computer hardware and software are also planned to provide the practice with the technologies they need to carry out client tasks, alongside associated investment in skills development and the recruitment of junior staff who can be trained up in the ways that the company works.
The firm is also partnering with quantity surveyors and cost consultants to create a housing consultancy service that will open up more new business opportunities for all of them, especially within the affordable social housing sector.
To support the implementation of this wide-ranging process, ID Partnership has now secured a £150,000 investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund that is administered by regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers.
Established as Ian Darby Partnership more than 25 years ago in Newcastle, the Group has other offices in Coventry and Glasgow.
The Newcastle practice has been responsible for many landmark projects across the north east, including the Sage Group plc headquarters in Newcastle Great Park, Northumbria University’s Squires Building and the Tyne Staiths regeneration scheme in Gateshead.
It’s the second time that the company has worked with NEL, having secured a £100,000 investment from them in 2009.
Mark Massey, managing partner at ID Partnership’s Newcastle practice, says:”The last three years have been incredibly tough for anyone associated with the construction industry, and whilst times are still clearly tough, we’ve felt a gradual upturn coming to the market over the last few months of which we’re now looking to proactively take advantage.
“A lot of the capacity that there was in the market before the recession has disappeared, which creates a clear opportunity for the companies like us that have battled through the tough times to find new openings on the back of this increasing demand.
“The whole development process is being implemented in a carefully planned and strategic manner – we’re making sure we have the right people in the right places and ensuring they have the right equipment they need to fulfil their roles.
“Training up our own staff in ‘the IDP way’ and giving them their first entry into the profession is a crucial part of this – we’ve already taken on our first new recruit and have several more appointments planned for the coming months.
“Having worked successfully with NEL before, we were well aware of what they could offer us, and their support for our plans gives us the flexibility we need to deploy resources in ways which secure us the best possible commercial returns.”
Simon Johnson, senior investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “ID Partnership has shown significant resilience in battling through the economic downturn when so many of their industry peers have fallen by the wayside, and they have robust plans in place to grow the business on the back of the construction sector’s gradual recovery.”
Chris Robson, partner at Ryecroft Glenton in Newcastle, who advised IDP during the investment process, says: “Securing this investment in the business is extremely good news for ID Partnership and the North East region as a whole, as the architecture sector has traditionally been a leading indicator of recovery in the economy.”
Aimed at regional businesses which are at a development and growth stage, the Growth Fund forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund.
Managed by North East Finance, it will see £125m of investment capital injected into the region by the European Investment Bank, the European Regional Development Fund 2007-13 and the regional development agency over the next five years.
NEL is looking to make around 130 investments over the five-year life span of the Growth Fund, and is actively looking to speak to ambitious north east companies with robust business plans.
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0845 111 1850.
The ERDF 2007-13 programme is bringing over £300m into North East England to support innovation, enterprise and business support. It will help create and safeguard 28,000 new jobs, start 3,000 new businesses and increase the region’s productivity by £1.1bn per annum.