The bringing together of Atkins, Faithful+Gould and SNC-Lavalin into one fully integrated global company goes far further than just a new identity, writes Richard Robinson, CEO – UK & Europe, AtkinsRéalis

This week we announced the launch of AtkinsRéalis, bringing together Atkins, Faithful+Gould and SNC-Lavalin into one fully integrated, global company. It’s an exciting step forward that goes far further than just a new identity: we’ve created a truly end-to-end offering to help solve some of the most complex challenges facing our clients in the UK and around the world.

Companies like ours are tasked with addressing mega trends rising to the fore around the world, such as decarbonising the built environment and delivering the energy transition; mitigating the impacts of climate change; building sustainable communities amid growing urban populations; and, when it comes to programme delivery, untapping greater gains in productivity, efficiency and predictability.

Richard Robinson

Richard Robinson, CEO – UK & Europe, AtkinsRéalis

These challenges can’t be tackled through business-as-usual.

As a sector, we need to respond by embracing new ways of working and greater knowledge-sharing to accelerate innovation. As a 36,000-strong global company, we’re already at the front end of many of the world’s most significant infrastructure projects: our clients need a forward-thinking partner who will anticipate and solve their future problems as well as today’s most pressing issues. As AtkinsRéalis, we’ve structured ourselves in the best possible way to deliver on that.

Staying ahead of the curve

To truly drive innovation, we need to harness and share new ideas and draw inspiration from where technology or creativity is already delivering results. To do this, we need closer collaboration in every way, to learn from colleagues, partners and other sectors or regions as they develop solutions to tackle their own priorities.

>> Read more: Atkins and Faithful + Gould names to go as part of global rebrand

For example, the UK is leading on embedding social value into projects: what learnings can be applied in other regions to ensure the global net zero transition creates local benefits and opportunities? And take the R&D investment behind the mega projects in the Middle East: how can they influence the way we deliver major programmes here?

A more unified approach also enables technical expertise to be built upon and opens up opportunities to explore how individual solutions can be broadened to the benefit of all.

That could be exploring how a digital twin delivering a more reliable public transport system in Canada could be applied to projects on both sides of the Atlantic, or combining UK and US expertise to apply urban heat modelling and simulation tools originally built for regions already experiencing the worst effects of climate change. We’re also sharing world-class developments from inside the UK, like the progress being made by our UK robotics team to improve safety and deliver efficiencies in nuclear waste management and across the nuclear sector through virtual site access.

As AtkinsRéalis, our local delivery teams won’t change, but we’ve invested in cutting-edge technology and structured our teams to be able to plug in specialists and fast-track opportunities to innovate at any stage of a project, when and where it’s needed. And we’ll continue to collaborate with partners to build the optimum team around our clients’ toughest challenges.

It’s a hugely exciting prospect: trusted local experts working in the communities and sectors they know so well, combined with collective creativity to problem-solve and innovate at pace.

Collaboration at every level

It’s not just connecting across time zones. The fragmented nature of our construction sector with its extended supply chains means UK projects can undoubtedly benefit from closer links between delivery partners too. I’m hugely passionate about the role of technology in strengthening this and its potential is starting to be realised through digital interfaces that bridge the gap between design and construction to digital PMO tools that increase certainty and remove barriers to work as one project team. But we can build on that.

As Faithful+Gould and Atkins, we’ve already seen the benefits of closer integration between engineering, design and programme management, whether on major programmes like HS2 or through our work combining services and delivery on a major retrofit and decarbonisation programme for the Government Property Agency. Becoming AtkinsRéalis will make it easier to connect teams seamlessly and consistently, to the benefit of clients and projects as well as our employees.

Underpinning this cross-team collaboration has to be the technology and shared approaches to create a truly seamless experience. Over the last few years, we’ve also adopted common data standards and global design frameworks across the organisation so that we’re truly integrated as one company, from the mechanisms we’ve implemented to the way we’re structured and our ways of working. Combined, it creates the best possible way for us to connect people, data and technology and draw upon a breadth and depth of global capabilities across geographies and markets.

Engineering a better future

Being at the cutting edge of new technologies and practices is challenging but exciting. The role our sector plays in shaping the world around us is what fuels so many of us to come to work each day. And we’re a sector based on delivery: we problem-solve and we put plans into action. The scale and breadth of delivery required over the next few decades in the UK alone is unprecedented, so the opportunities are too, if we’re best-positioned for them.

I’m incredibly proud of the work our 12,500+ UK employees continue to deliver across many of the country’s biggest and most complex infrastructure projects, and I’m hugely excited about this next step of our journey: building on our heritage as Atkins and Faithful+Gould, unlocking the full benefits of our investment in technology and in our people, and forging ahead as AtkinsRéalis with a renewed purpose.

No one organisation has all the answers, but by building greater connections and striving to both enable and share innovation, we can create better solutions to the challenges our clients face now and in the future, and help to engineer a better future for our planet and its people.

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