Taking 1840 as a significant point in a century of enormous, even revolutionary change – both socially and industrially – It is not surprising that there were those with the foresight and integrity to recognise a public need for their services and to establish and maintain an ethic of business practice and principles. Thus Henry T. Northcroft created one of Britain’s larger and longer established firms of chartered quantity surveyors.
As the population of Britain exploded, capital in new industries of engineering and manufacture was invested. At this time Northcrofts was gaining wide experience in preparing Bills of Quantities and pioneering methods of measurement contemporary quantity surveying practice was given the force of law in one of the most famous cases concerning quantity surveyors when in 1889, Northcroft Son & Neighbour fought and won against the then London School Board. That thread of interest in disputes has developed into a key area of the firm’s portfolio today.
With Britain’s interests stretched across the globe and the threat growing to commercial trade routes, there was a major investment in the late 1800s and early years of the 20th century in naval bases. Northcrofts’ international business developed with appointments as quantity surveyors for harbour works at Simons town, Madeira, Tenerife, Bermuda. Aden, Malta, and at home, Dartmouth and Dover. It is of no small coincidence that Northcrofts were also at work in Hong Kong too.
If dedication and continuity are also to the credit of the profession, the construction of Liverpool’s famous Gothic-style cathedral provided the firm with continuous cost management for an unprecedented 75 years, from start of work on Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s designs in 1905 to the recent completion of the final phase.
The effects of major conflicts and international recession constrained development of the practice but reparation work from the mid-1940s brought a formidable acceleration in demand, with the major conurbations of Britain being prime centres of investment.
The skills demand widened and deepened. The major schemes of housing in the 1950s gave way in the 1960s to longer, even more exacting projects, with the heavy national investment in major infrastructure development including nuclear power stations and motorway construction. While new works blossomed, so too did rehabilitation.
Northcrofts became increasingly involved with historic buildings – which included the City of London’s Guildhall, extension and refurbishment of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, and a widening involvement in the University Colleges of Oxford, Durham and London.
The boom in property development in the 1960s – in offices, hotels and housing – was a major factor in establishing the practice as it is today. Involvement in projects ranging from commercial developments in the City of London, banking, building society and insurance buildings as well as major hospital and other extensive government schemes proved Northcrofts capabilities. At the same time as Britain’s overtures to the Common Market, Northcrofts services were being offered into the wider Continental European theatre, especially in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
The 1970s also saw Northcrofts involved in cost management of new universities – such as Warwick – and revitalisation of major London and provincial hospitals and advising on a wide range of commercial, industrial and heavy engineering developments both in the United Kingdom and overseas.
The opportunities offered by the worldwide boom in oil and chemical related industries were also seized by Northcrofts, being closely involved from the late 1970s with the rigorous controls and deadlines sought for oil production platforms as well as gas pipeline laying and refinery and chemical plant construction.
Growth in demand was matched by the creation of new teams of specialists within the firm. The opening of strategically placed offices and by joining with like-minded partners overseas to develop an extensive network of associated practices in the Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and The Far East. Such has also enabled Northcrofts to continue the story of association with Hong Kong, started 100 years ago. Today Northcrofts area major consultancy whose worldwide practice grasps the commercial realities of the 1980s – a professional, highly motivated team of 37 partners and associates, and over 200 surveyors and general staff operating from regional centres in London, Cambridge, High Wycombe, Leamington Spa, Leeds, Oxford and Southampton. They maintain a continuing proof of a quality of service and of belief in the tradition of high principles and value for money established by the founding partner Henry T. Northcroft.
Northcroft Middle East has operated offices in Doha, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, UAE continuously since 1976 and 1978 respectively. Northcroft Middle East were originally majority owned by Northcroft UK operations, in March 2012 Northcroft’s UK business was acquired by a larger engineering consultancy company Capita Symonds part of Capita PLC (Capita).
Northcroft Middle East currently operates and serves its local and international clients from its Doha office and is celebrating 40 years of continuous services in Qatar. The company is registered in Qatar as ‘Northcroft Middle East L.L.C’, a 51% Qatari owned company. It holds a ‘Grade A’ Registration to provide Quantity Surveying Services, issued by the Professional Engineers & Accreditation Committee of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment.