The Kier Group of today was formed in 1992 but the roots of the business go back much further...
Olaf Kier, a civil engineer from Denmark, comes to the UK and forms J Lotz and Kier with fellow expatriate and engineer Jorgen Lotz. The company is one of the early pioneers in reinforced concrete design and construction.
J Lotz and Kier complete their first contract – a reinforced concrete bridge in Bath which is still in service and bears a Lotz and Kier plaque.
Kier’s first overseas project is a joint venture with Edmund Nuttall Ltd and Paris-based Hersent, to build a 15km section of the Trans-Iranian Railway located within the mountains of Persia. In total 18 masonry lined tunnels were cut into the landscape.
When the Second World War broke out, the company became actively engaged in defence projects. Kier helped to construct the Mulberry Harbour units which played a significant role in the D-Day invasions.
Immediately after the war, the company was also heavily involved in rebuilding projects. The first of which was the reconstruction of Rotterdam Harbour which, due to the extent of the damage, was undertaken by a group of eight contractors including Kier.
Kier acquires Caribbean Construction Co Ltd, Jamaica’s largest heavy construction company. For over 50 years the company has undertaken projects including bridges, marine works, industrial buildings and water supply & sewage works projects across the island.
During the 1960’s the company expanded rapidly prompting a move to new head offices at Tempsford Hall in Bedfordshire from which the company still operates today.
Charles Brand & Son, a heavy civil engineering and mining contractor, becomes part of Kier. The acquisition adds a new dimension by bringing its specialised civil engineering reputation to the tunnelling activities of the company.
Kier decides to reinforce its commercial and private building activities with the acquisition of Robert Marriott Ltd. Founded in 1939 and specialising in all types of building works, Marriott constructed many of the schools and public buildings in Northampton and the Home Counties.
Kier merges with W&C French to form French Kier Holdings Ltd. French has a long and successful history of its own being formed by Elizabeth French, an Essex farmer’s widow, who started contracting in roadworks and drainage in c.1860.
A joint venture between Kier, Gammon Construction and Lilley Construction is awarded two contracts to construct 15km long first stage of the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR). Most of the work is underground beneath the busy streets of Kowloon.
Kier in joint venture with Sir Alfred McAlpine and Conrad Zschokke is awarded the civil works contract for the Dinorwig power station in the heart of Mount Elidir close to Snowdon’s peak. The scheme is one of the world’s most advanced pumped storage schemes and the largest of its kind in Europe.
The William Moss Group PLC was acquired bringing over 160 years of comprehensive construction experience to the company, creating a dedicated building service to the Midlands and Thames Valley.
French Kier is acquired by the national house building company Beazer plc. Two main contracting divisions are formed for national and regional operations and both were rebranded with the Beazer name.
Kier is contracted to construct the Maentwrog new dam on Lake Trawsfynydd in North Wales to replace the original structure commissioned in 1928 as part of the Welsh hydroelectric power supply scheme.
The company is acquired by Hanson plc which triggers a buyout by management at Beazer, which leads to the forming of today’s Kier Group, creating Britain’s first major contractor to be employee-owned reinforcing Kier’s status as a true ‘people’ company.
Kier Group acquires Twigden plc, a well-established regional house builder operating in East Anglia to strengthen the company’s presence in the housing market. This was the first of a number of housing company acquisitions which included Allison Homes and Bellwinch Homes.
Kier Group diversifies with the acquisition of Cardiff-based Caxton Facilities Management. The move sees Kier enter into the fast-growing facilities management and building maintenance market for the first time.
Kier Group is successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange. The company goes on to become a member of the FTSE250.
Kier in Joint Venture with Edmund Nuttall is awarded Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) contract 103 to bring the UK’s first high speed railway line into London St Pancras station. The highly complex infrastructure project embraces almost all aspects of civil engineering including bridges, tunnels and viaducts.
Kier completes construction of Hairmyres Hospital in east Kilbride, the UK’s first hospital to be funded via Private Finance Initiative (PFI). The scheme is designed, built and financed by Kier in joint venture with Innisfree Partnership.
Kier Sheffield, a limited liability partnership (LLP) between Sheffield City Council and Kier Group is created. The partnership is responsible for maintaining 60,000 council properties and 1,100 other public buildings in a 10-year outsourcing deal.
The Ministry of Justice appoints Kier Property to convert the historic Middlesex Guildhall in Parliament Square for use as the UK’s new Supreme Court in one of the UK’s most prestigious construction projects.
Kier Property worked alongside Kier-owned Wallis Construction, with its strong portfolio in the renovation of historic buildings.
Team BFK, a joint venture comprising BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and Kier Construction, is awarded two major Crossrail contracts. The works include tunnel drives between Royal Oak and Farringdon, and early access shafts and sprayed concrete lining works for Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road station tunnels.
Kier enters the anaerobic digestion market with investment in Biogen which sees the company secure its position as one of the market leaders in waste and recycling. The deal sees Kier form a 50/50 joint venture with Biogen parent company Bedfordia Group.
Kier completes the acquisition of May Gurney to provide a strengthened Services division that not only has a greater scale, but which has added significant highways maintenance experience, a broader utilities offering and a greater spread of environmental services.
Kier continued its track record of working with prestigious clients on high profile developments. In March 2014, The Jockey Club appointed Kier as main contractor to deliver the £45m grandstand development at its flagship Cheltenham Racecourse in time for The Festival in 2016.
Kier completes the acquisition of Mouchel, the international infrastructure and business services group, positioning Kier as the sector leader in the growing UK highways maintenance and management market.