ACS Construction Group continues its long legacy of success with a new renewable energy partnership and major nationwide industrial developments 

People-first construction and civil engineering company, ACS Construction Group (ACS), is celebrating 25 years of national success. As Matt Cummings, Head of Business Development, begins: “The business was founded by Paul Grady and Danny Doohan in 1997. It started out primarily as a partnership between two brothers-in-law, and then grew into subcontracting for the likes of Keir, Galliford Try, Balfour Beatty and VINCI. That’s where the company was really formed. Gradually, over the past 25 years, we’ve grown into a £30 million turnover business. We employ 65 permanent members of staff, which we supplement with local labour, and we work all around the United Kingdom.” 

ACS is made up of five key operating units. As Matt explains: “In 2008, the first recession hit. The company made the conscious decision to adapt the way in which we operated. Rather than continue, predominantly, as a subcontractor, we wanted to operate as a principal contractor in our own right. So, we took a lot of the good practices that we’d learned from working with larger organisations, and we applied to join National Grid’s Minor Civils framework, which we were awarded a place on. From there, we started to look at the company and branch out into divisions. Obviously, working on the National Grid framework tied in very nicely with the energy sector. 

“We decided we wanted to further our offering in this sector and spent a lot of time investing in that side of the business. It soon became the fastest-growing unit within ACS. We work for clients such as Siemens Energy, Mitsubishi Electric, Omexom, Burns & McDonnell, delivering a variety of projects, including battery energy storage solutions. We recently won our largest contract ever with Siemens Energy, worth over £15 million.  

Collaborative working 

“We also have an earthworks and remediation unit, which is based out of our Birmingham office. It manages remediation, civils and muck shifting projects for large developers. Like the rest of ACS, our earthworks division operates as a contractor or subcontractor, depending on the job. We’re quite well known within the industry now and we like to form relationships with reliable partners that share our values. This means we can work collaboratively with our clients and the contractors that we work for. We’re not really in it for a one-off project, it’s more about repeat work and developing strong relationships. 

“Another primary focus for our business is in the industrial and manufacturing sector, constructing large units for clients and developers. We have constructed facilities within the pharmaceutical, manufacturing, logistical and storage sectors across the country. We’ve worked with local and national developers to build units up to 100,000 square feet in size. Quite significantly, we built a 60,000 square-foot manufacturing facility for a company called WFEL Ltd. They had recently won a contract to build over 500 new military vehicles for the Ministry of Defence. It was a major project for us. We delivered the construction of the unit and all associated civil engineering elements. Following on from this, we are now building a large pharmaceutical salt facility for British Salt at their site in Middlewich, Cheshire.”  

The enduring success of ACS is the result of its people-first attitude toward business. As Matt affirms: “We invest heavily in our people and are proud to haveRoad building infrastructure project retained some of our staff for over 20 years. We are a people-driven business, and it shows. Several of our board members are long-standing employees who have risen through the ranks and acquired shares in the company. We also have an excellent apprenticeship scheme for people interested in construction and civil engineering as a career. We’ll help put them through university and accelerate their career as quantity surveyors or engineers. We are really trying to help build up the next generation of young people and give them the skills they need to thrive in this industry. It may sound a bit corny, but people are the basis of our business. That’s what matters to us.” 

Key partner 

Building strong relationships with other businesses has also helped ACS continue to grow and develop in new and exciting directions. Another of the company’s significant accomplishments is its partnership with Dutch renewable energy company, Fastned. As Matt details: “As Fastned’s construction partner in the UK, we help them deliver a network of HV electric vehicle charging stations nationwide. This partnership was a huge accomplishment for us at ACS. We had to undergo quite a big tender exercise with pre-qualification stages, as well as interviews in Amsterdam with the Fastned board. But all our hard work paid off, and soon after that we were awarded the position of UK construction partner. 

“So far, we’ve delivered on several projects for Fastned, helping them build their state-of-the-art network of HV EV charging stations across the UK. One of our flagship projects was the Oxford Energy Charging Hub, which involved a huge number of companies within the sector. We’re still working with Fastned all over the country; we’re currently working up in Scotland and down the East Coast, as well as extending our sites in London and Oxford. Fastned are one of our key partners and we are very proud of the work we are doing with them.”  

With such a long and varied history, it’s exciting to think what ACS will do next. As Matt concludes, the business and its people will be taking things one step at a time: “There’s so much happening right now. We are looking at potential acquisitions, organic developments, and exciting new projects are always on the horizon. The main goal is to maintain steady growth, retain the core members of our team, and grow our specialist skills into new areas. We are on the lookout for talented civil engineers to expand the scope of our capabilities. Other than that, this is a family-owned business. We want to look after our people and continue doing what we do.”