One of the most aggressive architectural practices in the UK has set its sights on the education market.
The SMC Group - which spent most of last year snapping up smaller practices around the country - has set up an entire division to focus solely on the government's Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.
It is targeting the initiative because the government has committed an incredible £60 billion over 10 to 15 years to upgrade and replace secondary schools throughout England.
The move to focus on the education sector will be seen as yet more evidence that Stuart McColl, the company's chairman, is determined to make his company one of the largest architectural firms in the UK.
McColl floated the company for £25 million last summer, partly in a bid to raise cash for further expansion plans.
Discussing the new division, McColl said SMC Education & Community was ideally placed to win BSF bids.
He vowed that the group would align itself strategically alongside the various bidding consortia rather than simply awaiting approaches. by Ed Dorrell