Consulting Firm of the Year

This category will recognise the specialist geotechnical consultancy, or geotechnical division within a major consultant, that can demonstrate achievement of clear business milestones between January 2023 and January 2024.

The award will celebrate firms that have continually delivered innovation, quality and value during this period, while improving the business and making it more profitable.


Arup’s ground engineering skills network comprises over 1127 active members globally and our aim is to be a globally leading consultancy with wellbeing and development of our members integral to our business. In the year 2023-2024 we delivered growth in terms of revenue, profits, breadth, scale of projects and staff numbers and have greatly expanded our energy business including wind, solar, pumped storage, geothermal, nuclear and hydrogen. Our sustainability strategy, ‘a better way’ underpins our work across 4 focus areas: 1) Decarbonization 2) Circularity 3) Climate resilience &4) Geodiversity. We are proud to have led authorship in PAS2080:2023 Carbon Management in Infrastructure &Buildings, and continue to actively support research and development activities through intentional partnerships. We are leading in the development and implementation of geotechnical software and end-to-end workflows through both our Oasys software house and 173 digital tools developed by the GSN.


As a highly successfully practice within AtkinsRealis, our Ground Engineering & Tunnelling practice deliver exemplar projects across all markets. As technical specialists we are trusted to run a £32M business with over 330 staff across the UK. We have the scale to make a difference for our clients and society by delivery of more sustainable, affordable and reliable infrastructure, a fundamental part of an achievable Net Zero imperative. In 2023 our business revenue grew by 14%, our headcount rose to over 330 and our turnover dropped to below 8.5%. Our staff won multiple awards for their achievements as individuals, as well as for the work they have delivered on our projects for our clients. Finally we had our best ever staff engagement survey results – a positive endorsement of our culture and philosophy.


BakerHicks, part of the Morgan Sindall Group, continue to cement their place in the Ground Engineering sector, following the establishment of its in-house geotechnical design team in 2020. For the last four years the team has grown sustainably and profitably. The team delivers major infrastructure and building design for complex and sustainable projects. In January 2024 the success and strength of the team was demonstrated as the team is now a standalone discipline within BakerHicks rather than being embedded within another discipline as it previously was. The team has solved challenging ground engineering problems across the UK on nationally significant pieces of infrastructure. These include two nationally significant interconnector schemes, solving issues for problematic rail embankments and a Geohazards assessment for Scotland’s railway. Through 2023 the ground engineering team increased in number and turnover with a sustained profit margin.

Mott MacDonald

Mott MacDonald (MM) is a global employee-owned consultancy, with world-wide multi-sector ground engineering projects across transport, energy, water and buildings sectors. Our international, inclusive team of 700+ geotechnics specialists collaborate through a single Geotechnics Practice across our regions and sectors. Our UK team has grown by more than 10% in 2023 to ~300, and the team in Australia and New Zealand has grown by 30% to >50 staff. Our growth is built upon project accomplishments and client satisfaction of course – but also through our people, who are our greatest asset. We have recently launched our Graduate Accelerator Programme, designed to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and the practical application of geotechnics – where graduates are encouraged to connect, learn, share experiences and support each other throughout the programme.


In 2023, Sweco's ground engineering teams enhanced client and partner relationships, expanding services to major water industry clients including supporting Wessex Water's compliance with environmental standards. Sweco's involvement in the National Highways Regional Delivery Programme and progress in the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme underscored our engineering capabilities. Recognised for excellence, Sweco won awards for the M9 Winchburgh Junction and the innovative 'Rothera Wharf' project, while also being nominated for the Active Travel Scheme of the Year. Client satisfaction remained high, and sustainability was a focus, with office relocations to reduce carbon emissions, a major cut in domestic flights, and effective recycling initiatives. These efforts are part of Sweco's commitment to achieving net zero by 2030. Employee well-being was prioritised through initiatives such as Wellbeing Champions and flexible benefits packages, contributing to positive employee survey results and supporting Sweco's vision of a sustainable and people-centric future.


2023 was a transformational year for SYSTRA Ground Engineering following the appointment of a Charlotte Woodhall-Jones as Discipline Lead in December 2022. Embracing inclusivity and challenging traditional organisational structure Charlotte Woodhall-Jones connected and grew the discipline to a 40-strong team of motivated geotechnical engineers, engineering geologists and geoscientists. Reorganisation resulted in defined carer pathways and a focus on delivering our promises. Initiatives were implemented to improve wellbeing and engagement and focus on expanding technical excellence to motivate engineers whilst supporting market diversification. During 2023 SYSTRA ranked Top Ten in the Ground Engineering Top 50 Geotechnical Consultants ranked by UK turnover and the discipline grew with a 25% net increase in permanent engineers During 2023 the SYSTRA Ground Engineering team embraced the SYSTRA Values becoming a collaborative connected team that embeds technical excellence into project delivery to delight our clients and project partners.


TRC provides a comprehensive suite of technical services to the development sector. We support residential, commercial and corporate/industrial sectors across the UK and overseas. Our experienced technical team helps our clients navigate the varied geological conditions and geo-hazards. Our excellence and reputation are underpinned by the continuous management support and our technical working groups. These focus groups have been instrumental in delivering technical excellence in the ground engineering team. TRC takes pride in being a trusted advisor to our clients. We operate in a partnership philosophy integrating our staff within client teams to fully understand their goals and to work alongside them to successfully deliver projects. Staff retention is key to our success, and we have a very low staff turnover. TRC has numerous employee programs that strive to create a sense of community and provide a variety of opportunities for career growth.


WSP’s UK geotechnical team is a strong collective of civil engineers, engineering geologists and geologists. It has grown substantially in recent years to the point that it supports our own and multi-disciplinary projects in the UK and overseas. It delivers its work across multiple sectors including renewable energy, industry, water, rail, highways, and asset protection. The team advises a huge range of end clients but always with the mindset of providing clear ground risk advice to the project promoter. The scale of projects and designs that the staff can contribute to and develop their careers with is enviable from ground risk problem solving that lasts one day up to long term major project infrastructure commissions.