A leading environmental consultancy has seen a key area of its business more than triple in the past 12 months after recording its highest increase in turnover yet.
GeoSmart Information has had to increase its detailed drainage design team by two members to cope with the 204% growth in demand from architects, planners and local authorities across England and Wales.
Its annual report has posted revenue of about £1.5 million in 2021-22 – about a 30% jump compared to 2020-21, making it the strongest growth so far in the company’s nine-year history.
The Shrewsbury-based specialist in flood risk, drainage, groundwater and contaminated land said local authorities’ increased sustainability awareness has resulted in initial sustainable drainage systems (SuDs) and detailed drainage design (DDD) being required earlier in the planning stage.
More stringent legislation in this area and the fact that qualified drainage officers are being consulted on planning applications more often has also led to a rise in business.
GeoSmart Information’s flood risk assessments department has also seen a significant 51% growth in the past 12 months.
Paul Ellis, managing director of GeoSmart Information, said its robust performance for 2021-22 had laid the foundations for it to achieve its short- and medium-term ambitions for growth.
Next year it is predicting 74% growth across all the business due to planning requirements becoming increasingly stringent and with the government, and therefore developers, focusing on sustainability and climate change.
He said SuDS is expected to become required more often in England, similar to how it is run in Wales currently where the local authorities employ SuDS Approval Bodies to enforce SuDS details on any planning application over 100m2. Councils across the UK are also encouraging developers to only build in flood zones 2 and 3 if absolutely necessary and unavoidable.
“As our revenue increases we can invest more money into the business, to innovate and bring new tools and ideas to market,” said Paul.
“In the past financial year we have developed and launched FloodSmart Analytics, which is a unique tool that helps mortgage lenders and banks to assess risk, and we have had an enthusiastic response to it.
“However, the biggest growth is in our detailed drainage design. These highly technical engineering drawings of a planned sustainable drainage scheme are vital for any development, ensuring there is a well-designed system in place to deal with foul and storm water drainage.
“To cope with demand, we’ve increased our team of experts who are working closely with planners, developers and architects to ensure proposed sites are properly assessed to meet the legislative needs.
“As local authorities are becoming more stringent about the possibility of flooding, due to climate change and the possible vulnerability of developments, we’ve also seen substantial growth in the flood risk assessments side of the business.
“Our strength in the market means we’ve been able to increase the number of team members, too, in these specialist roles. We’re confident about the coming year and the opportunities for growth.”