Atkins (company)

Atkins (member of the SNC-Lavalin Group) is a British multinational engineering, design, planning, architectural design, project management and consulting services company headquartered in London, UK. It was founded in 1938 by Sir William Atkins.

Atkins – SNC Lavalin
IndustryConstruction, design, engineering and business services
FounderSir William Atkins
HeadquartersNova North, London, United Kingdom
Number of locations
Offices in 28 countries
Key people
Philip Hoare (President)
ServicesConsultancy services
Revenue£2.081 billion (2017)[1]
£171.5 million (2017)[1]
£164.6 million (2017)[1]
Number of employees
18,300 (March 2017)[1]

In 2016, Atkins was the UK's largest engineering consultancy and the world's 11th largest global design firm.[2] It employed approximately 18,000 staff based in 300 offices across 29 countries and had undertaken projects in over 150 countries. Its motto is "Plan, Design, Enable".

The company was acquired by Canadian company SNC-Lavalin in July 2017.


The original company, WS Atkins & Partners, was established by the late Sir William Atkins in 1938 with offices in Westminster in London. In its early years the practice specialised in civil and structural engineering design work but expanded rapidly after the Second World War into specialist services in town planning, engineering sciences, architecture and project management.[3]

In 1996, WS Atkins was admitted to the London Stock Exchange and began trading as WS Atkins plc. In 1996 it also acquired Faithful+Gould, a cost and project management consultancy firm.[4] In the late 1990s WS Atkins worked on the Burj al Arab hotel, which was completed in 1999.[5]

The company has been trading under the Atkins name since 2002. In that year it also bought Hanscomb, construction consultants.[6] The company experienced a number of financial difficulties in 2002, with the share price falling to 50p, the Chief Executive, Robin Southwell, resigned, along with Finance Director Ric Piper, who was also told his new job at Trinity Mirror was no longer open to him.[7] Keith Clarke replaced him, joining from Skanska.[8]

Atkins was one of the five shareholders in Metronet, the London Underground maintenance company that failed in 2007 leading to Atkins having to write off its investment.[9] In 2009 Atkins was selected as the official engineering design services provider for the London 2012 Games. The company provided building services design, civil engineering and structural engineering, acoustics, fire protection engineering, and accessibility services.[10]

Atkins staff levels declined as a result of the global recession, with losses of approximately 3000 staff between April 2009 and February 2011, although the overall headcount remained relatively stable with the acquisition of the American company known as PBS&J in August 2010.[11][12] PBS&J, founded in 1960, was a Florida-based, nationwide provider of engineering, planning, architecture, construction, environmental, and program management services.[13]

In June 2011, Atkins announced it was buying the oil and gas business of Finnish global consulting firm, Pöyry for €17.25 million. As a result of the acquisition, around 130 staff from Pöyry's Perth, Stavanger and Aberdeen offices integrated into Atkins' Energy business unit.[14] In 2014, Houston-based oil and gas offshore engineering business, Houston Offshore Engineering, was acquired for £45 million. This acquisition added another 150 people to the business and increased the headcount of oil and gas specialists to over 1,000 from its operations worldwide.[15] In 2014 Atkins were in the running to purchase Parsons Brinckerhoff from Balfour Beatty, but were outbid by WSP Global.[16]

The company announced in April 2016 that it had acquired the Projects, Products and Technology (PP&T) segment of EnergySolutions for £206 million therefore strengthening Atkins’ nuclear multidisciplinary capability to a 2,000-strong global team.[17]

Acquisition by SNC-Lavalin

In early April 2017, the company received a £2.1bn bid from Canadian company SNC-Lavalin. On 21 April, it was announced that the takeover deal had been agreed;[18] the move was approved by shareholders in June 2017. This step coincided with news of 92 redundancies in the company's infrastructure division.[19] The deal was completed on 3 July 2017, with Atkins becoming SNC-Lavalin's fifth business sector.[20] Atkins was delisted from the London Stock Exchange with effect from 4 July 2017.[21]


Atkins provides engineering and design consultancy services in various regions:[22]

  • United Kingdom: water, environment, education, aerospace, security, defence, communications, infrastructure design, urban planning and transportation planning
  • North America: infrastructure planning, engineering, construction management, environmental consulting, urban planning, architecture and program management services
  • Middle East: design, engineering and project management services for buildings, transportation and other infrastructure programs
  • Asia Pacific: engineering, planning, urban design, architectural and rail design services
  • Hong Kong: urban rail development

Atkins also has an Energy business providing engineering and project management services.[22]

Notable projects

Atkins’ notable past and current projects include:

Asia Pacific

Europe (ex. United Kingdom)

  • Architecture and design services for the Capital Fort mixed use development, Sofia, Bulgaria [28]
  • Baku White City, Azerbaijan
  • Signaling and telecommunications work for the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), Denmark
  • Rail network planning and design for the Mälaren Line project, Sweden
  • Partnering with Assystem to develop offshore wind, wave, and tidal energy production, France
  • M50 Motorway upgrade, Ireland

Middle East

North America

  • Engineering, design, ITS, planning, and program management services for Florida's Turnpike Enterprise toll and asset management systems, Florida
  • Runway design and planning services for the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Construction and program management services for the Hoover Dam Bypass bridge project, Boulder City, Nevada
  • Masterplanning, urban design, and sustainability services for the Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point Urban Plan, San Francisco, California [35]
  • Program management and construction services for the Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant, Howard County, Maryland [36]
  • Construction, design, and program management services for the MARTA bus and rail transit system, Georgia
  • Architecture, A/E, and construction services for the Miami Dade College Culinary Institute, Miami, Florida
  • Oasis of the Seas Cruise Liner, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Ecological, environmental, and program management services for the Post-Hurricane Katrina Storm Damage Risk Reduction Program, Louisiana [37]
  • Construction management services for the upgrading of the Statue of Liberty, New York, New York
  • Architecture, A/E, and construction services for the Texas A&M International University Student Success Center, Laredo, Texas
  • Architecture, A/E, and geomatic services for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando, Florida
  • Project management and cost estimating for the construction of the World Trade Center Memorial and Visitors Center, New York, New York

United Kingdom


  1. "Results for the year ended 31 March 2017". Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  2. "Atkins at a glance". Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  3. "Sir William Atkins". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  4. Atkins to buy out Faithful+Gould Construction News, 25 January 1996
  5. "September 2000 CE Article & Questions – Designing with structural fabrics". Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  6. Hanscomb recommends shareholders accept W.S. Atkins offer Orlando Business Journal, 28 May 2002
  7. "Personal finance – How to grow your wealth and spend less money – Telegraph". Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  8. "Atkins poaches Clarke". Building. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  9. Terry Macalister. "Metronet woes cost WS Atkins dear". the Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  10. LOCOG appoints Atkins
  11. "Atkins reveals workforce fell by 2,500 in 18 months". Building. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  12. "300 more jobs to go at Atkins". Building. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  13. "WS Atkins buys into US with $280m PBSJ deal". The Independent. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  14. Atkins acquires additional expertise in the oil and gas sector
  15. Atkins acquires Houston-based oil and gas engineering business
  16. Failed Parsons Brinckerhoff bid cost Atkins £4.5m
  17. Atkins creates world leading nuclear services consultancy with acquisition of US nuclear business
  18. Prior, Grant (21 April 2017). "Atkins agrees £2.1bn takeover by Canadian group". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  19. Prior, Grant (1 July 2017). "Atkins announces job cuts days before Lavalin takeover". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  20. "Atkins now under Canadian ownership". The Construction Index. 4 July 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  21. "DELISTING AND CANCELLATION OF TRADING OF ATKINS SHARES". London Stock Exchange. 4 July 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  22. "WS Atkins PLC, ATK:LSE profile -". Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  23. "Centaurus". Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  24. "Regatta Apartments". Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  25. "Projects". Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  26. "Trivandrum International Airport Landside and Airside Development". ATKINS Global. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  27. "Atkins reveals design for Asia Aerospace City in Malaysia – 15 July 2014". Atkins. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  28. "Capital Fort – Offices for rent". Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  29. "Bahrain World Trade Center". Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  30. "Burj Al Arab". Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  31. "Dubai Metro". Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  32. "Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro". Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  33. "High potential (Interview with Rod Steward)". 16 January 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  34. "The Address Project". Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  35. Hunters Point Shipyard Archived 21 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  36. "Howard County – Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant". Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  37. Hurricane & Storm Damage Risk Reduction System Archived 14 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
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