RSK Group plc acquires acoustics, noise and vibration consultancy Cole Jarman

December 01, 2017
  • This acquisition presents synergistic growth opportunities for both businesses.
  • It provides RSK with a wider service range to add to its fast-growing Environment and Planning business.
  • Cole Jarman principals together have more than 100 years’ experience in acoustics, noise and vibration investigation across all sectors.

London, 29 November 2017 – RSK has today announced that it has acquired the business, operating assets and employees engaged in the business of acoustics, noise and vibration consultancy Cole Jarman, working on projects throughout the UK and across Europe.

The acquisition sees the Cole Jarman business, including 19 employees at 2 UK sites, transferring to RSK, where it will continue to operate under the leadership of Managing Director Philip Hankin. Cole Jarman will become a key part of RSK’s Environment and Planning division, which is run by Sarah Mogford. The Cole Jarman brand will be retained and the business will continue to operate as Cole Jarman, a wholly owned subsidiary of RSK.

Permira Debt Managers has backed RSK in making the acquisition as part of a £140-million funding package agreed earlier this year, to include about 10 acquisitions for the group.

This latest acquisition expands RSK’s footprint as one of the biggest environmental consultancies in the UK. It also adds to RSK’s current acoustic capability, offering a wider and complementary range of skills and experience to its portfolio, including expertise in noise and vibration assessments as part of the environmental assessment process contributing to environmental statements. These services will provide additional layers of skills to the organisation to the benefit of its clients.

Cole Jarman has been carrying out acoustic, noise and vibration assessments since 1993 and has built a strong client base across culture, media and entertainment, education, healthcare, infrastructure, leisure, office, residential, retail and transport sectors in the UK and abroad. Its principal areas of work are in environmental noise and vibration, building acoustics and other specialist acoustic services.

With an annual turnover in excess of £2 million and with 19 members of staff, Cole Jarman is one of the top acoustic consultancy specialists in the UK. Its head office is in Surrey and its regional office is in Manchester.

Cole Jarman’s acoustic design, testing and consultancy services in the UK have been used in projects as diverse as the new courtyard development for the Royal College of Music; the redevelopment of Broadmoor Secure Hospital Facility; the award-winning scientific research building The Francis Crick Institute; noise studies at several UK airports including Stansted, Birmingham, Luton, East Midlands and Biggin Hill; and noise assessments for distribution developers and operators, house builders and retail clients.

Overseas projects include noise and impact assessments for the Armani Theatre in Milan, the Athens Metro in Greece, the Tsvetnoy Central Market shopping mall in Moscow, the giant commercial office project City Life in Milan, and over 200 projects for various multiplex cinema operators around the world.

Today’s announcement marks a significant and extremely positive step in the development of the RSK and Cole Jarman businesses that offers potential long-term benefits for clients and staff. The clients of RSK and Cole Jarman are complementary: both businesses are extremely strong and highly respected in their core markets and provide high-quality scientific consultancy and technical engineering advice to a wide range of clients in the private and public sectors.

According to the 2016 UK industry Market Trends report, RSK ranked as the ninth overall environmental consultancy, the second for contaminated land/remediation and the fifth for environmental management and compliance. This latest acquisition will likely see RSK’s profile grow in the industry’s important rankings. RSK has acquired 13 environmental and analysis firms across Europe and the Middle East in the past decade and has seen impressive growth during that time that has helped to create a £100-million-turnover business.

RSK’s advisers on the acquisition were Dow Schofield Watts Transaction Services LLP (due diligence), Dow Schofield Watts Corporate Finance Ltd (corporate finance) and Memery Crystal LLP (legal).

Dr Alan Ryder, Chief Executive Officer, RSK Group said: “I am delighted to join forces with Cole Jarman. The company has a world-class reputation for essential work on many high-profile projects and its skilled, experience and professional staff share our vision for the future. RSK and Cole Jarman believe playing an integral part in the delivery of the highest quality buildings from the planning stage onwards will enhance our environments and economies. We also put our customers first and establish a detailed understanding of what they want and need from the outset. So, this is a very welcome addition indeed to the group.”

Philip Hankin, Managing Director of Cole Jarman said: “Becoming part of RSK extends our influence and reach considerably, and is a great match. All of our clients stand to benefit from access to a wider set of complementary services and an even wider pool of experts to deliver outstanding projects that will enhance the way we work and live around the world for many years to come.”

Dan Hatcher, Permira Debt Managers investor said: “Permira exists to help ambitious businesses move forward with their growth plans. RSK is a business of significant scale built on a collection of niche expertise and with clear ambitions for the future of the company. The funding also demonstrates Permira’s appetite to continue supporting local companies with global operations.”

Notes to editors


RSK is a fully integrated, environmental, health, safety and engineering services company employing over 1800 staff in offices across the UK and worldwide. In 2016, RSK was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in international trade, one of the UK’s highest accolades for business success. With a turnover of over £100 million, the company was ranked the ninth largest UK environmental consultancy by Environment Analyst in its 2016 Market Assessment Report.

RSK provides independent environmental consultancy and technical services in the areas of the environment, health and safety, engineering and sustainability management to industrial, financial and public-sector clients in the UK and abroad.

RSK has a diverse client base but mainly services key accounts for clients in energy, property, manufacturing, water, government and transport.

The company is certified to the ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 international standards for quality, environmental management and health and safety management.

Cole Jarman

Vernon Cole established the practice, originally titled Vernon Cole Associates, in 1993. Neil Jarman joined Vernon Cole in 1994 and the practice became the partnership Cole Jarman Associates. The partnership steadily grew and, in 2005, became Cole Jarman Limited, with Philip Hankin and Tom Zarebski becoming directors. In July 2013, the company started on the next stage of growth: Philip Hankin replaced Vernon Cole as managing director and Tim Street joined the directorial team.

Cole Jarman operates across the UK, Europe and Asia, with its head office in Surrey and its regional office in Manchester. It provides acoustic design solutions and noise control strategies across a wide range of environment, building and specialist sectors, founded on robust analytical techniques, innovation and extensive experience, backed up with sophisticated computational and modelling tools and robust quality control procedures.

Its accreditations and memberships include Acclaim Accreditation Safety Schemes in Procurement member scheme, Association of Noise Consultants, Constructionline, Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment corporate membership, Investors in People gold accreditation, Institute of Acoustics (sponsoring organisation), ISO 9001 accreditation and part of the UK Register of Expert Witnesses.

Any press queries should be directed to James Eisen, +44 (0)7961 464154

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