Hutton + Rostron sold to SOCOTEC

BCMS has advised historic and contemporary building surveyors Hutton + Rostron Environmental Investigations Ltd (H+R) on the sale of the business to the SOCOTEC Group, a global provider of Testing, Inspection, Certification and Compliance (TICC) services for infrastructure and construction.

With its origins dating back to the 1960s, H+R is a long-established, specialist firm of independent building professionals, providing an extensive range of remedial surveying and investigative consultancy services, for buildings of all sizes and construction dates.

“Having an experienced advisor on board was essential, so we were so glad to have access to the expert advice and guidance of the BCMS team” – James and Tim Hutton, H+R

H+R is a noted specialist in investigating problems in building, building materials and building occupancy. Widely recognised as a pioneer in the field of Building Pathology, the business is headquartered near Guildford, Surrey, and operates additional offices in Nottingham, Manchester, and Oxford. H+R has particular expertise in the heritage sector, and can demonstrate a prestigious portfolio of work with a wide range of high-profile clients and building types, including Windsor Castle and Blenheim Palace.

The acquirer, SOCOTEC, is the UK’s leading provider of TICC services in infrastructure, safety compliance and sustainability, environmental compliance, environmental science and building control and fire consultancy. Headquartered in France, the group is a major player in TICC services in the construction and infrastructure sectors in Europe and the United States. With consolidated revenues of €1.2 billion in 2022 and 200,000 clients, SOCOTEC has presence in 26 countries and employs 11,000+ staff globally.

Transaction perspectives

This strategic move establishes SOCOTEC as the sole UK company offering end-to-end solutions for all building types, including commercial, residential, industrial, and listed buildings. Nicolas Detchepare, CEO of SOCOTEC UK, emphasised the significance of this acquisition: “H+R, Building Pathology experts, are a perfect addition to our existing building expertise, from building control to engineering. This acquisition not only solidifies our leading position in the Building and Real Estate market, spanning commercial and residential sectors, but also supports our expansion into the dispute and advisory market, offering expert witness services for various disputes. H+R, with their unique expertise, empower us to achieve our ambition of becoming the number one integrated player in the UK Built Environment market.”

James and Tim Hutton of H+R said: “We’re incredibly proud of the business we have built over the years, and of the exceptional colleagues who have helped make Hutton + Rostron a leading specialist in its field. Taking the decision to sell a business is never easy, especially when that business has been in the family for decades. However, we knew that in order for H+R to reach its full potential, new ownership and strategic direction was required – and what better partner to deliver this than SOCOTEC, an international player with the resources to take the company to the next level?

“We had never sold a business before, but we did know that any transaction brings its own challenges and complexities. For us, having an experienced advisor on board was essential, so we were so glad to have access to the expert advice and guidance of the BCMS team, led by Andrew Sims, throughout. BCMS prepared us extensively for the sale process, identified a range of potential acquirers, led the negotiation process, and maintained momentum at all times. Thank you, we have highly valued your input, professionalism and support.”

Alongside corporate finance advice from BCMS, the shareholders of H+R received legal advice from DMH Stallard.

This is the latest in a wide range of TICC transactions led by BCMS, and the second in 2023, following the sale of Evolution Water Services to Phenna Group.

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