Mott MacDonald

The Mott MacDonald Group is a consultancy with headquarters in the United Kingdom. It employs 16,000 staff in 150 countries.[2] Mott MacDonald is one of the largest employee-owned companies in the world.

Mott MacDonald Limited
IndustryMultidisciplinary consultancy
PredecessorMott, Hay and Anderson 
Founded1902 (1902) (as Mott & Hay)
1927 (as Sir M. MacDonald & Partners)
United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Mike Haigh, Group Chairman
James Harris, Group Managing Director
Guy Leonard, Group Strategic Development Director
Number of employees
16,000 (2019)
WebsiteMott MacDonald Group website

It was established in 1989 by the merger of Mott, Hay and Anderson with Sir M MacDonald & Partners.


Mott MacDonald was formed in 1989 through the merger of Mott, Hay and Anderson, and Sir M MacDonald & Partners.[3] Mott, Hay and Anderson was a transportation engineering consultancy responsible for projects such as the London Underground[4] while Sir M MacDonald & Partners was a water engineering consultancy with projects that included the Aswan Dam.[3] The merger made Mott MacDonald one of the first international engineering, management, and development consultancies.[3]

Mott, Hay & Anderson

Mott, Hay and Anderson was founded as a private partnership between Basil Mott and David Hay in 1902, with the original firm name of Mott & Hay. Prior to forming the original partnership, Mott and Hay had spent time building London tube railways and Hay had worked on the Blackwall Tunnel. Both engineers had worked together since 1888 on the City and South London Railway under Sir Benjamin Baker and James Henry Greathead. Early projects included the reconstruction and extension of the City & South London Railway, the building and extension of the Central London Railway, the construction of lifts beneath St Mary Woolnoth church at Bank Underground station, the underpinning of Clifford's Tower, the reconstruction of Southwark Bridge and the widening of Blackfriars Bridge. Mott and Hay employed a young engineer called David Anderson as resident engineer for the latter project.

The firm also advised on proposals for underground railways in Sydney, Africa and Russia. David Anderson was made a partner in 1920 after returning from army service. The firm was thereafter known as Mott, Hay and Anderson. During the 1920s, it designed the rolling bridge over the River Dee at Queensferry, the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle and the Trent Bridge in Nottingham.[5] It also designed the enlargement of the City & South London Railway tunnels and their extension past Camden Town and Clapham South to form the Northern Line of London Underground.[4]

Both founding partners died in 1938, at which time most of the construction projects stopped. During the 1940s after World War II, it began expanding and working on additional projects, some of which including repairing of roads and bridges damaged or destroyed during the war, and, later, included the Victoria Line of the London Underground and Australia's Melbourne Underground Rail Loop. The firm continued in these fields until the merger with Sir M MacDonald & Partners in 1989, at which time it was also working on the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France beneath the English Channel.[4]

Sir M MacDonald & Partners

Sir M MacDonald & Partners was named after Murdoch MacDonald, a British civil engineer and later politician. The company formed out of affairs relating directly to British infrastructure development in Egypt between 1890 and 1930, in particular MacDonald's involvement with Aswan Low Dam, starting in 1898. MacDonald was involved in the original construction of the Aswan Dam and later became an advisor to the Egyptian Ministry of Public Works after the dam was completed in 1902.[6] He became closely associated with the development and first heightening of the Aswan Low Dam for the development of hydroelectricity.[7]

MacDonald retired from his service with the Egyptian government in 1921 and returned to Britain where he began a partnership with Archibald MacCorquodale. In 1927, the two were later joined by PH East (also an engineer in the Egyptian government from 1907 to 1926) and OL Prowde, at which time the name of the company was changed to Sir M MacDonald & Partners. One of the first major projects of the partnership included the second heightening of the Aswan Low Dam, which continued from 1929 through design and construction stages until 1933.[7][8] The firm continued on projects through its merger with Mott, Hay and Anderson in 1989.


Mott MacDonald began to expand after the 1989 merger. Early acquisitions included the consultancies of Husband and Company as well as James Williamson & Partners. These acquisitions brought Mott MacDonald's total staffing to 3,300.[9] Its 1994 acquisition of Ewbank Preece expanded its reach into the power and telecommunication fields,[10] with its 2000 purchase of Cambridge Education Associates expanding its education consultancy.[11] Additional early acquisitions included India-based firm Dalal Consultants in 2001,[12] cost consultants Franklin + Andrews in 2002[13] and health practice HLSP in 2003.[14] In 2007, Mott MacDonald bought Dutch firm Euroconsult BMB who specialized in international development and natural resource management.

2008 marked the first year that Mott MacDonald earned more internationally than it did in the United Kingdom, earning it recognition by New Civil Engineer as the International Consultant of the Year.[15] Its top two international projects for that year were the Delhi Metro in India and Macau City of Dreams in China. The same year, the firm had 7,021 staff assigned to overseas projects, with 6,669 working overseas.[15]

Mott MacDonald purchased Fulcrum Consulting in 2009 as a way of expanding its sustainable energy consultancy in the building sector.[16] Fulcrum was a building services engineer consultancy and a founding member of the UK Green Building Council, specializing in green and eco-friendly engineering and design. Fulcrum was responsible for projects such as the Darwin Centre and considered a pioneer of low-energy building techniques.[16] MacDonald also expanded to open principal offices in Turkey, Kazakhstan, Albania, and Serbia while opening smaller offices in throughout Africa.[17] It also purchased Merz & McLellan, a South African electrical engineering consultancy.[16] 2009 also marked the opening of Mbombela Stadium, a stadium in South Africa for which Mott MacDonald designed the roof.[18] In 2010 it added South African healthcare and development specialist HDA, and Australian engineering consultancy Hughes Trueman to its portfolio.[19] In 2011 Mott MacDonald purchased Australian firm Mortimer Project Management and opened an office in Auckland, New Zealand.

Mott MacDonald continued to expand their international presence in 2013 with the purchase of Habtech Engenharia Ambiental.[20] The purchase of the Brazilian-based environmental consultancy added 80 people to Mott MacDonald's staff.[21] It also purchased PD Naidoo & Associates nine days after the purchase of Habtech. PD Naidoo was a consultancy based in South Africa which added 550 personnel for Mott MacDonald.[20] The acquisitions added to the company's previous year purchases of Canadian consultancy Engineering Northwest, oil and gas firm Procyon, and the oil and gas operations of Mouchel.[21]

In 2014 Mott MacDonald acquired AWT, a specialist water technology and consulting company based in New Zealand and Australia.[22]

In 2015 Mott MacDonald and Hatch have announced that the Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM) joint venture will be separated into two distinct businesses. HMM’s Canada business will become part of Hatch while HMM’s US business will become part of Mott MacDonald. HMM’s pipelines business, which operates in both Canada and the US, will also join Mott MacDonald.[23]


Mott MacDonald has worked on many notable projects. It was the design engineer for London Heathrow Terminal 5 sub-structures and foundations, as well as providing rail assurance services, tunnelling advice and project and program management.[24] The project began in 2002, with construction being completed in 2008.[25]

Mott MacDonald was the engineer and worked with Denton Corker Marshall on the design of the Manchester Civil Justice Centre which was completed in 2007.[26] The Centre was the largest court complex in the United Kingdom for a century and has won 26 awards for its design, including the Major Project of the Year Award in 2008 from[26] The Centre was designed and constructed to have minimal impact on the environment and included a narrow form, acoustic privacy, and natural ventilation.[27] It was also featured in the book Microgeneration: Low Energy Strategies for Larger Buildings for its sustainability features.[28]

In 2012, Mott MacDonald was chosen as the concept designer for engineering the New Mosaic Stadium, scheduled to be completed in 2017 and be the home for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.[29]

Mott MacDonald was chosen to be part of the design-build team for a $41 million bridge rehabilitation project announced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in January 2014.[30] The project is scheduled to repair bridges in Niagara County in the western part of New York.[31]

The $125 million contract for engineering the single bore tunnel segment of the Silicon Valley BART extension was awarded to a joint venture bid placed by Mott MacDonald and San Francisco-based PGH Wong Engineering in January 2019.[32]

Since 1998, Mott MacDonald has been providing waste water management for Union Pacific Railroad.[33] In January 2018, a Mott MacDonald employee distracted by a cell phone call left a tank unattended for an hour while working at the railroad's Albina Yard in Portland, Oregon, United States.The tank overflowed and released several thousands gallons of oil into the environment according to US attorneys. 1,800 gallons of the released oil was estimated to have been lost into the Willamette River. The former employee Robert LaRue Webb II was convicted with violating the Clean Water Act in October 2019 and was sentenced to a probation and a fine for negligently causing the oil release. The clean up and emergency response cost the railroad over $500,000.[34][35] United States Coast Guard, EPA and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality assisted with the clean up.[36][37]

Awards and recognition

Mott MacDonald has won more than 550 international awards since 2007. It was named Global Consultant of the Decade (2003–13) in 2013 by New Civil Engineer and the Association for Consultancy & Engineering.[2] It was listed in the ranking table in the annual league tables published by Building, Engineering News Record and New Civil Engineer.[38]

Select list of awards

  • International Consultant of the Decade at the NCE/ACE Consultants of the Decade Awards 2013.[39]
  • Global Consultant of the Year 2014 at the NCE/ACE Consultants of the Year Awards for the fourth time in seven years.[40]
  • Building Awards – Mott MacDonald was named Engineering Consultant of the Year for the second time in three years.[41]
  • International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) Centenary Awards – The Channel Tunnel won a Major Civil Engineering Project Award.[42]
  • International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) Centenary Awards – Hong Kong International Airport won a Major Building Project Award.[42]
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) – Mott MacDonald received a Gold Medal Award having won Gold Awards for six consecutive years.[43]
  • Infrastructure Journal (IJ) Awards – Mott MacDonald won all three technical advisor categories (Overall, Energy and Infrastructure), and topped IJ’s global technical advisor league table.[44]
  • Light Rail Awards – Mott MacDonald was named Consultant of the Year for the second year running.[45]
  • National Construction Computing Awards – Mott MacDonald won the BIM Project of the Year Award for Casement Stadium, Belfast.[46]
  • Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Building Services Awards.[47]
  • British Council ELTons – English in Action won the Local Innovation Award.[48]

Further reading

  • Newman Neame Ltd. (1965), Mott, Hay & Anderson, Consulting Civil Engineers
  • Mott MacDonald (2002), One hundred years of transportation


  1. "Arup, Mott MacDonald and Tony Gee named Britain's top consultants". New Civil Engineer. 20 March 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  2. "About Us". Mott MacDonald. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  3. "Britain's biggest private companies: Expertise at your service". The Telegraph. 15 August 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  4. Anderson, G (2003). The Channel Tunnel Story. CRC Press. ISBN 9780203362297.
  5. Scott, Richard (2001). In the Wake of Tacoma: Suspension Bridges and the Quest for Aerodynamic Stability. ASCE Publications. ISBN 9780784405420.
  6. "Eminent Scottish Engineer – Sir Murdoch Macdonald". The Glasgow Herald. Google News. 25 April 1957. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  7. Howell, P.P. (1994). The Niles: Sharing a Scarce Resource: A Historical and Technical Review of Water Management and of Economical and Legal Issues. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521450409.
  8. Murdoch MacDonald
  9. "Husband and James Williamson Join Mott MacDonald Group". Construction News. 25 January 1990. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  10. "World desalination targeted by U.K.'s merged M. Macdonald, Ewbank Preece". Desalination (subscription required if accessing more than 3 articles). 14 April 1994. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  11. Philips, Deborah (2013). The Trojan Horse: The Growth of Commercial Sponsorship. A&C Black. ISBN 9781472508386.
  12. "CARE sets A+/PR1+ ratings on Mott MacDonald's bank lines". ADP Debt News. High Beam (subscription required). 16 December 2010. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  13. Clark, Phil (2002). "Mott MacDonald to merge with Franklin + Andrews". Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  14. Clark, Phil (2004). "Mott MacDonald targets L500M". Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  15. "Mott MacDonald "stunning year" earns it NCE/ACE International Firm Award". New Civil Engineer. 20 March 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  16. Boyd, Olivia (11 December 2009). "Mott MacDonald buys Fulcrum Consulting". Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  17. "Mott MacDonald: the global pioneers score a hat trick". New Civil Engineer. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  18. Reina, Peter (3 March 2010). "Firms See South Africa Prospects Differently". Engineering News Record (subscription required). Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  19. "Mott MacDonald buys Australian consultant Hughes Trueman". New Civil Engineer. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  20. Withers, Iain (17 April 2013). "Mott MacDonald snaps up Brazilian engineer". Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  21. Hansford, Mark (7 May 2013). "Mott MacDonald hits global acquisition trail". New Civil Engineer. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  22. Hackley, Randall (2 April 2014). "Mott MacDonald Expands in Australia, New Zealand With Water Deal". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  23. "New direction for Hatch Mott MacDonald - Mott MacDonald". Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  24. "On the fly". FM World. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  25. Doherty, Sharon (2008). Heathrow’s Terminal 5: History in the Making. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470754535.
  26. "Major project of the Year". 2008. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  27. "Manchester Civil Justice Centre / Denton Corker Marshall". Architect Daily. 25 October 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  28. Parker, Dave (2011). Microgeneration: Low energy strategies for larger buildings. Elsevier. ISBN 9780080942292.
  29. "Mott MacDonald releases concept for $278M stadium in Regina". On-Site Magazine. Canada. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  30. "Cuomo announces $41M bridge rehabilitation project". NBC WGRC. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  31. "Governor Cuomo Announces Western New York's First Design-Build Project in Niagara County" (Press release). Governor's Office, State of New York. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  32. Meacham, Jody (11 January 2019). "VTA awards general engineering contract for BART subway in San Jose". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  33. "Union Pacific wastewater treatment - Mott MacDonald". Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  34. Bernstein, Maxine (28 October 2019). "Former Union Pacific plant officer who allowed gallons of oil to seep into Willamette River gets probation". oregonlive. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  35. "Ex-railroad plant operator who allowed oil spill sentenced". AP NEWS. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  36. "News Release: Oil release from Union Pacific Railroad property impacts stormwater outfall, Willamette River | 2018 News Releases | The City of Portland, Oregon". Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  37. Staff, KATU (23 January 2018). "Oil spills into Willamette River from Union Pacific rail yard". KATU. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  38. "22 Firms Lead $27.4 billion Global Environmental Consulting Industry". Environmental and Energy Management News. 13 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  39. Hansford, Mark (19 September 2013). "Arup, Mott MacDonald, Tony Gee & Partners and HR Wallingford star as NCE announces its Consultants of the Decade". New Civil Engineer. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  40. Oliver, Antony (21 March 2014). "Mott MacDonald and Atkins top the 2014 NCE/ACE Consultants Awards honours". Infrastructure Intelligence. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  41. "2013 Winners". Building Awards. 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  42. "FIDIC Centenary Awards reflect UK's global standing". Ace Net. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  43. "Gold Medal Awards". Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  44. "Winners 2013". Infrasctructure Journal Awards. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  45. "Worldwide Winners at the 2011 Light Rail Awards". Tranways & Urban Transit. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  46. "4Projects Triumph At Construction Computing Awards". Computer Construction Software. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  47. "2013 Awards". CIBSE. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  48. "English in Action, Bangladesh - ELTons 2013 winner of the award for local innovation". British Council dot org. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
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