1920: post-war and pre-depression. The year the British Empire hit its peak of 33 million square miles. Over on Neville Street in Newcastle upon Tyne, a quantity surveyor by the name of James William Summers began drawing the blueprints for his own empire.
To begin with, his company offered the sole service of quantity surveying. Providing accurate bills of quantities to enable architects and designers to seek competitive tenders. Now, the landscape of the industry is infinitely more complex. Cost planning, value management, BREEAM assessment, risk assessment and health and safety are just some of many facets involved in the delivery of a project today.
J.W. Summers’ firm continually adapted and evolved with each and every development within construction. Now, one hundred years, 4 monarchs and 20 prime ministers later, Summers-Inman is a recognised and respected name within the industry, with offices throughout the UK.
1920: James William Summers founded the practice (then known as J.W. Summers F.S.I. Building and Quantity Surveyor) on Neville Street, Newcastle upon Tyne.
1939: The practice moved into larger premises in Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne. It was during this year that all ten of the firm’s staff were conscripted to join the British armed forces at the start of World War 2.
1944: The firm resumed business, and J.W. Summers was joined firstly by his eldest son, and then gradually by previous staff as they returned home from war. At this point, the firm’s name was changed to J.W. Summers & Partners.
1965: Summers & Partners expanded, opening offices in Edinburgh and Leicester.
1996: Summers & Partners expanded further, opening an office in Leeds.
2000: Summers & Partners acquired Somers & Partners in Leeds.
2002: A merger with WC Inman & Partners (est. 1926) turned the company into the entity we know today as Summers-Inman Construction & Property Consultants LLP.
2019: The expansion continued, with offices opening in Birmingham and Manchester.
So, in an ever-growing and competitive industry, what sets Summers-Inman apart from its competitors?
Over our long history, Summers-Inman has adapted to an ever-changing marketplace, and continues to do so today. Although technologies and construction methods change, our business fundamentals remain. We are able to refer back to many former projects, learning from their processes, obstacles and successes. This knowledge and expertise continues within the business, passing through the management generations, for the benefit of our clients and their investments.
Throughout the course of the company’s journey, while our team of experts has grown and diversified, countless new skills and services have been adopted. The core services we now offer (Quantity Surveying, Project Management, Construction Management, Programme Management, Building Surveying and Health, Safety & Environmental) complement one another in a way that blends all aspects of a project together.
Not often do companies get to celebrate a centenary. As we stand at this monumental point, though we look back upon our successes, our focus is forward. A focus on sustainability and positive change. We are proud to build upon the strong foundations of the past 100 years, and, for the next 100 years and beyond, we work to care for and maintain the world in which we operate. Already ISO 14001 accredited, we work on developing environmentally-friendly solutions (such as projects at The Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics, Durham University), helping to make a positive contribution to carbon management and a reduction in carbon emissions. As we continue to grow, we will evolve with a priority around the protection of the natural environment; the use of sustainable materials; the reduction and reuse of resources; waste minimisation and the use of life-cycle cost analysis.
Being able to diversify and offer relevant experience across many sectors within the construction industry, both public and private, has stood us in good stead during the many challenging periods since 1920. Forging long-lasting relationships with our clients has enabled the business to continually grow to its largest and strongest position as we enter our centenary. We remain an independent company: big enough to deliver but small enough to care.
Here’s to the next 100 years.