Building for tomorrow: Turner and Townsend’s tips on sustainable growth

Date: 31-07-2017

Tagged as: InnovationStrategyGrowthFundingInvestment


If learning how to thrive in a competitive global environment is on your agenda, Turner & Townsend CEO, Vincent Clancy, has some tops tips for sustainable growth.

As head of Turner & Townsend, a UK-headquartered global construction consultancy, Vincent Clancy has long since recognised sustainability as the key to growth.

For more than 70 years, the firm has been expanding across the world. Today it has 97 offices in 41 countries engaging in some of the most prestigious and diverse projects on the planet. These include Time Warner’s flagship headquarters in Hudson Yards, New York, a multi-billion dollar expansion programme for Abu Dhabi airports and the decommissioning of an oil platform in the North Sea. The secret to Turner & Townsend’s success? For Clancy, sharing insight is just as important as embracing new processes and technologies: these are his top tips for sustainable growth.

Diversify & deliver

Creating a flexible company architecture means global and local client needs are met through a combination of universal best practice and local knowledge, says Clancy.

Not being afraid of diversification can be important too. Turner & Townsend covers a range of end-markets such as property, infrastructure and natural resources. “This allows us to maintain success when markets are contracting and expanding,” he explains.

In fact, offering a full range of services can be a life-saver. Clients in many sectors are increasingly seeking to condense their own supply chains and have fewer partners, to reduce transaction costs and gain consistency. In being able to offer more of a ‘one-stop-shop’, Turner & Townsend is delivering for its clients.

Be a pioneer

Construction may be one of the oldest trades, but increasingly new technology is is playing a vital role in the success of construction businesses advises Clancy. Turner & Townsend’s programme of digitisation has been essential in improving productivity and providing optimal client solutions.

“Construction has been one of the slowest industries to respond to technology but I think it will be one of the biggest beneficiaries over the next decade,” he comments. “We’re keen to be pioneers.”

Engage the next generation

“You have to take the long-term view,” states Clancy on recruitment. There are some hugely exciting projects being undertaken all over the world, and the prospect of a career with global travel opportunities that can deliver genuine advancement and work pride should not be sold short in any sector, let alone construction. However, too often firms recruit with a short-term mindset.

Turner & Townsend’s commitment to providing a skilled future workforce which is representative of the communities in which it operates has seen it embark on a major programme of promotion and support for new entrants. It has full-time recruiters on the ground, and works with local schools and universities to encourage talent.

Earn client respect, and keep earning it

The UK is seen as a leader in successful project delivery (the Olympic project and Crossrail, for example). But there is no room for complacency, warns Clancy. “No matter how strong your relationship with the client, it will only ever be built on how well you respond to their issues. Those issues are stronger than ever. There is no slack in the system.”


  • Learn to be flexible: deliver what clients want, when and how they want it.
  • Consider becoming a one-stop-shop: cover as many client needs as is feasible.
  • Reach comfortably: build technical, process, and personnel structures that can support flexibility and diversification.
  • Keep your finger on the digital pulse: explore new technologies and use them if they help.
  • Sell the virtues of your industry to the next generation: help them become part of your future success.
  • Keep pushing for improvements: rest and you start going backwards.
  • Earn client respect. Keep earning it.
  • Be resilient: it’s for the long-term and there will be ups and downs.
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