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Inverness planning and architectural firm becomes part of Glasgow-based group

By Gregor White

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The GHJ team.
The GHJ team.

A year after being acquired by a Glasgow firm an Inverness-based company has been fully intregrated into its parent enterprise.

GH Johnston Building Consultants Ltd (GHJ) was acquired by Glasgow-headquartered Mabbett & Associates Ltd (Mabbett) in 2022 and now becomes the company's Planning & Design division.

It will be headed up by Kenny Shand after a year in which GHJ’s workforce has increased by over 25 per cent and its client base has also grown, driven in part by the opening of a further new office space in Forres, Moray.

The launch of a new Aberdeen office is also imminent.

Mr Shand, who was previously senior planning consultant with GHJ, said: “After a planned period of integration, from March 4 GHJ has been fully absorbed into the Mabbett group.

"The move marks the end of an exciting transition for GHJ.

"Reflecting on the last 12 months, from our roots in the Highland capital where we have serviced clients for over 40 years, we have witnessed growth in our client base, welcomed new colleagues and been able to better service our existing client base.

"Furthermore, we have grown our capabilities with the support of the wider group, working collaboratively on several complex planning and architectural projects.”

One recent high-profile collaborative project is that of Acorn Bioenergy which has a planned investment of around £150 million in the Highland region which it says will contribute significantly to the Scottish Government’s target of a net zero future.

Acorn is currently developing anaerobic digestion sites across the Highlands with GHJ and Mabbett providing planning, design and other support services.

Another recent high-profile engagement has seen GHJ deliver planning services at Nigg Energy Park (part of the successful Opportunity Cromarty Firth Green Freeport), owned by Global Energy Group, founded by GEG Capital investment principal, Roy MacGregor.

Andy Lee, part of the Mabbett senior management team said: “Firstly, I’d like to thank retiring GHJ founder, Gary Johnston, who has played a key role in integrating GHJ into the Mabbett group in the last 12 months.

"Gary is hugely respected in the industry and we were honoured that he chose Mabbett to help drive the next chapter in GHJ’s impressive history.

“The acquisition of GHJ last year considerably enhanced the combined group’s offering of comprehensive planning and design services bringing together the extensive depth and technical expertise of GHJ and Mabbett’s team of safety, environment, engineering and planning professionals, scientists and project managers.

“Now, we are really starting to see the benefits of offering a truly one-stop shop to clients, with increased geographical and sectoral coverage.

"As well as the energy sector, the last 12 months has seen us look to position ourselves to make real progress in the space and distilling sectors, with our office in Forres giving us a real strategic advantage.

"The acquisitions of GEP Environmental and Nevis Environmental have strengthened the group further, as has the ability to sell services to other companies under the umbrella of Mabbett parent company, GEG Capital.”

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