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Halcrow Group Limited
Company type Subsidiary
IndustryDesign, construction, engineering and business services
Founded1868 by Thomas Meik
Headquarters London
United Kingdom
90 offices worldwide, of which 28 are in the UK
Key people
Tony Pryor, Chairman,
Peter Gammie, Group Chief Executive,
Revenue £238 million (2011) [1]
Number of employees
3377 (2011) [1]
Parent CH2M Hill (acquired by Jacobs in 2017)

Halcrow Group Limited was a British engineering consultancy company. It was one of the UK's largest consultancies, [2] specialised in the provision of planning, design and management services for infrastructure development worldwide. With interests in transportation, water, maritime and property, the company undertook commissions in over 70 countries from a network of more than 90 offices.

Established by Thomas Meik in 1868, the company quickly became involved in the maritime and railway industries across the British Isles. During the first half of the 20th century, William Halcrow led the business into new avenues of civil engineering, including deep tunnelling and hydroelectric dams. Its expertise was harnessed in many capacities throughout the Second World War, highlights include the construction of the Mulberry Harbours and consulting on the bouncing bomb. In the peacetime, Halcrow worked with the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board on a new generation of hydroelectric schemes to generate power for public consumption, such as the Glen Affric scheme, as well as numerous dams in Wales to regulate water levels and supply drinking water. It was also involved in the design studies for the Channel Tunnel as well as various other railway projects, such as the Woodhead Tunnel and the Victoria line.

By 2000, Halcrow Group's British-based projects accounted for roughly 60 percent of the company's turnover while the rest came from its overseas activities. During 2011, the company was acquired by US firm CH2M Hill, and in 2013 it was announced that the Halcrow brand would eventually be discontinued. [3] The parent rebranded the whole group to CH2M in 2015. Two years later, CH2M was subsequently acquired by Jacobs Engineering Group.



The company was founded in 1868 by civil engineer Thomas Meik, and originally bore his name, and later those of his sons, Patrick and Charles. It worked extensively on port, maritime and railway projects across the North of England, in Wales and in Scotland. During the 1890s, the business undertook the first of many international commissions. [4]

20th century

During the first half of the 20th century, William Halcrow (later Sir William) directed the company to diversify into other areas of civil engineering, including tunnelling and hydroelectric schemes. [4] The company was called on for various projects during the Second World War, this included the design and supervision of the construction of deep tunnel shelters, military ports, and the Mulberry Harbours (used in the D-Day landings). [5] [6] The company also consulted on the bouncing bomb developed by Barnes Wallis and on damage control measures during The Blitz. [7]

After the conflict ended, Halcrow's attention was soon focused upon upon various schemes in Scotland. For the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, a new generation of hydroelectric schemes to generate power for public consumption was developed. The Glen Affric scheme, started in 1947, was the biggest of these; [8] however, there were similar projects in neighbouring catchments, such as Glen Garry and Glen Moriston – the latter including one of the first underground power stations in the UK – and Strathfarrar and Kilmorack. [9] [10]

In Wales, Halcrow's largest works were typically related to water supply schemes, such as the Claerwen dam (completed in 1952) and the Clywedog dam (completed in 1967), which created reservoirs that controlled the water levels of various rivers as well as reliably supplying various towns and cities across the West Midlands. Halcrow also designed several railway tunnels, such as the Woodhead Tunnel (completed in 1954 [11]) and at Potters Bar (completed in 1955 [12]), as well as starting work on the new Victoria line underground line beneath central London. [13] Halcrow was also involved in the design studies produced for the Channel Tunnel. [14] [6] In the aftermath of the Aberfan disaster, Halcrow was engaged by the National Coal Board to monitor the condition of various colliery spoil tips across the country. [7] [15]

The company's overseas work at this time included a wide range of roads, bridges and harbours in countries such as Ghana, Libya and Mozambique. Halcrow also worked on multiple dams in Venezuela, [16] [17] as well as a power station in Buenos Aires. [18]

The firm had several names during the 20th century, including CS Meik and Buchanan (1920), CS Meik and Halcrow (1923), WT Halcrow and Partners (1941), Sir William Halcrow and Partners (1944), and, finally, Halcrow Group (1998). [19] [4]

21st century

Halcrow offices at Burderop Park, near Swindon, in 2013

By 2000, Halcrow Group's British-based projects accounted for roughly 60 percent of the company's turnover, while the remainder was derived from its undertakings outside of the British Isles. [4] By this point, the firm's consultancy work included a wide array of water, transportation, maritime, environment, power and property projects. Its customers included government departments, public sector authorities and utilities, industrial and commercial companies, international funding agencies and financial institutions.

During 2008, the company reported a turnover of £468 million; by this point, projects undertaken outside the UK accounted for 48% of total turnover. [19] It was long owned and managed by its employees and staff shareholders, Halcrow was operated as an independent concern up until late 2011.


During September 2011, CH2M Hill announced it was set to acquire the company, [20] and on 10 November 2011 CH2M Hill announced that it had completed the acquisition of Halcrow in exchange for £124m. [21]

It was subsequently reported that Halcrow was effectively rescued by CH2M Hill, having incurred a pre-tax loss of £71m in its last year of independent trading (to 31 December 2011), on a turnover of £238m, down from £331m in 2010. Accounts lodged with Companies House showed that CH2M Hill's financial backing was crucial to Halcrow’s survival; the US firm agreed a secured loan to the company in December 2012 without which there would have been doubt regarding the firm’s ability to continue as a going concern. [1]

Jacobs Engineering Group

On 2 August 2017, CH2M agreed to be purchased by Jacobs Engineering Group in a US$2.85 billion cash and stock deal. [22] Shareholders approved the deal in December 2017, [23] and the completion of the acquisition was announced on 18 December. [24]

Notable modern projects

As designer, Halcrow Group delivered the ‘Clyde Arc’ across the River Clyde in Glasgow. [25]
Toronto Pearson International Airport: Halcrow Yolles was the structural engineer of record for the passenger terminal facility. [26]
The 1260m long Medway Viaduct carries the high-speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link across the estuary of the River Medway. The viaduct is the largest bridge on the CTRL route and it has become a symbol for the new high speed railway. [27]
  • Second Severn Crossing (UK; completed 1996) - Halcrow, in partnership with French consultant SEEE, designed the crossing on behalf of the Laing-GTM joint venture that won a £330 million contract to design and build the bridge. [28]
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport ( Toronto, Ontario, Canada; completion c. 2006) - Halcrow Yolles was the structural engineer of record for the passenger terminal facility. It was involved in the early concept design of the Central Processor roof structure in collaboration with Ove Arup and Partners; all remaining concept design, and all final administration services were provided by Halcrow Yolles. [26]
  • Clyde Arc Bridge ( Glasgow, UK; completed 2006) - Halcrow designed this landmark bridge structure across the River Clyde in central Glasgow. The bridge provides access to the Pacific Quay development. [25]
  • One King Street West (Toronto, Ontario, Canada; completed 2007) - Halcrow provided full structural engineering services to this slender 51-storey condominium-hotel linked to the existing 14-storey Toronto Dominion Bank building (c. 1915). [29]
  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (completed 2007) - Halcrow were commissioned in 2001 to fulfil the role of construction supervisor working closely with the contractor, Impregilo of Italy, for the first phase of the project: the structural shell of the building. Following completion of the concrete structure Halcrow acted as the project consultant for the second phase up to completion of the project late in 2007 when the mosque was first opened to worshippers. [30]
  • Channel Tunnel Rail Link (High Speed 1) (UK; completed 2007) - Halcrow, as part of the Rail Link Engineering consortium, was responsible for all design and project management services on this project, delivering the £5.8 billion system on time and within budget. [31]
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport ( Abu Dhabi; completed 2008) - Halcrow was commissioned to carry out planning, design and site supervision for a second runway at Abu Dhabi International Airport. [32]
  • Al Garhoud Bridge ( Dubai; completed 2008) [33]
  • Yas Island Development (Abu Dhabi; completed 2009) - Halcrow acted as the client's appointed lead consultant responsible for the design and construction supervision of the primary infrastructure for this mixed-use 2500ha island development. [34]
  • Busan-Geoje Fixed Link ( South Korea; completed 2010) - Halcrow TEC JV was appointed Technical Advisers to Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd, who were leading the consortium which had been awarded the concession to design, construct and operate this US$1100m transport link. [35]
  • Bond Street Station Upgrade (UK; detailed design 2010-12) - Halcrow was part of the design team, along with consultants Atkins appointed by Costain Laing O'Rourke Joint Venture for the upgrading of the existing Bond Street Station in Central London [36]
  • Thames Hub (UK; concept 2011) - Halcrow provided technical advice to architects Foster + Partners for its Thames Hub proposal for integrated infrastructure development in the Thames Estuary in the UK. [37]
  • Tottenham Court Road tube station Upgrade (UK; completed 2017) - multi-disciplinary lead designer for London Underground with architects Acanthus and Hawkins Brown. [38]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Pitt, Vern (10 April 2013). "Halcrow was £71m in the red before CH2M Hill takeover". Building. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  2. ^ For example, it was ranked 5th in the New Civil Engineer 2009 Consultants File listing: Top firms by number of civil and structural staff, with 6275 staff - Archived 2015-05-18 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed: 27 June 2012.
  3. ^ Pitt, Vern (18 April 2013). "Interview: Jacque Hinman". Building. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d "Improving the quality of life across the world". 18 November 2002.
  5. ^ "Mulberry Harbours: marine engineers' biggest challenge". New Civil Engineer. 11 November 1999.
  6. ^ a b "Obituary: Mr Horace Morgan". Daily Telegraph. 27 February 1971.
  7. ^ a b Angelini, Daniel (5 June 2024). "D-Day: Memories of working at Swindon's Burderop Park".
  9. ^ Roberts, Cyril Mitchen; Wilson, Edgar Burke; Wiltshire, James Gordon (March 1965). "Design Aspects of the Strathfarrar and Kilmorack Hydroelectric Scheme". Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. 30 (3): 449–487. doi: 10.1680/iicep.1965.9522. ISSN  1753-7789.
  10. ^ "A real gem in hydro history". SSE plc. 30 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Nostalgia on Tuesday: Tunnel vision". 12 December 2017.
  12. ^ Terris, Alexander Key; Morgan, Horace Denton (April 1961). "New Tunnels Near Potters Bar in the Eastern Region of British Railways". Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. 18 (4): 289–304. doi: 10.1680/iicep.1961.11442. ISSN  1753-7789.
  13. ^ Dunton, Cedric Ethelwulf; Kell, Jasper; MORGAN, Horace Denton (May 1965). "Victoria Line : Experimentation, Design, Programming, and Early Progress. (Includes Plates.)". Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. 31 (1): 1–24. doi: 10.1680/iicep.1965.9551. ISSN  1753-7789.
  14. ^ Wood, A. M. Muir; Grange, A. (January 1970). "The Site Investigations for a Channel Tunnell 1964-65". Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. 45 (1): 103–123. doi: 10.1680/iicep.1970.7207. ISSN  1753-7789.
  15. ^ Maliphant, Paul; Reeves, Helen; Leeming, Bob; Bryant, Darren (October 2016). "Aberfan's engineering legacy". The Geological Society.
  16. ^ Goolsarran, Anand (14 March 2022). "Amaila Falls Hydropower Project revisited".
  17. ^ "OBITUARY". Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. 34 (2): 312–313. June 1966. doi: 10.1680/iicep.1966.9001. Retrieved 10 June 2024.
  18. ^ Haswell, Charles Kenneth; Sancha, Luis (29 September 1964). "The new Buenos Aires power station". Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. 29 (1): 101–136. doi: 10.1680/iicep.1964.9627. ISSN  1753-7789.
  19. ^ a b "Halcrow - About us home page". Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2007.
  20. ^ "CH2M Hill to take over Halcrow". The Construction Index. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  21. ^ "Completion of Acquisition of Halcrow / CH2M HILL". 10 November 2011. Archived from the original on 11 November 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  22. ^ "Jacobs to Acquire CH2M to Create Premier $15 Billion Global Solutions Provider". 2 August 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  23. ^ "CH2M shareholders back merger with Jacobs". The Construction Index. 15 December 2017. Archived from the original on 9 January 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  24. ^ "Jacobs completes acquisition of CH2M". The Construction Index. 18 December 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  25. ^ a b "Halcrow - Project - Clyde Arc". Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  26. ^ a b "Halcrow - Project - Toronto Pearson Airport - Terminal 1". Archived from the original on 14 March 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  27. ^ "Halcrow - Projects - Medway Viaduct". Retrieved 26 February 2010. [ permanent dead link]
  28. ^ "Halcrow - Project - Second Severn Crossing". Archived from the original on 10 March 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  29. ^ "Halcrow - Project - One King West". Archived from the original on 25 November 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  30. ^ "Halcrow - Project - Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi". Archived from the original on 6 March 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  31. ^ "Halcrow - Projects - High Speed 1 page". Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
  32. ^ "Halcrow - Project - Abu Dhabi International Airport". Archived from the original on 6 March 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  33. ^ "Gulf Building Awards 2008: Infrastructure Project of the Year". 1 January 2008.
  34. ^ "Halcrow - Project - Yas Island". Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  35. ^ "Halcrow - Project - Busan Geoje fixed Link". Archived from the original on 10 March 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  36. ^ Pearson, Andy (19 June 2015). "Action station: Bond street tube station".
  37. ^ "Thames Hub: An integrated vision for Britain". Foster+Partners. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  38. ^ Willoughby, Michael (13 January 2009). "First glimpse of Tottenham Court Road Crossrail station".

External links