Bennett + Bennett eyes Sunshine Coast boom with Skyline Surveyors merger

Bennett + Bennett eyes Sunshine Coast boom with Skyline Surveyors merger

Bennett + Bennett's Corey James (from left), Mark Billsborough and Ben Madden-Holmes.

Gold Coast-based surveying and town planning group Bennett + Bennett has sealed its biggest acquisition to date following a merger with Skyline Surveyors in a move that beefs up its presence on the Sunshine Coast.

The acquisition more than doubles Bennett + Bennett’s presence on the Sunshine Coast which managing director Mark Billsborough says positions the group to take advantage of emerging development opportunities in the region.

“We’re very bullish about the area and see a lot of growth ahead,” Billsborough tells Business News Australia. “It’s set to take off like the next Gold Coast.”

The merger more than doubles Bennett + Bennett’s team to 18 on the Sunshine Coast, where the company opened an office more than a decade ago. This boosts its workforce to 150, making Bennett + Bennett one of the largest privately owned surveying services groups in Queensland. It also takes it closer to an ambitious plan to grow the team to 200 through future acquisitions by 2026.

Skyline Surveyors, established 41 years ago, was led by Corey James who joins the Bennett + Bennett team as project manager.

“This new partnership will allow our businesses to pool skills, resources and technology, which will only benefit our customers,” says James.

“It will also free up capacity across Bennett + Bennett’s offices on the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Northern Rivers.”

Bennett + Bennett, which was established on the Gold Coast in 1968, has boosted revenue by 30 per cent over the past year, driven by south-east Queensland’s residential development boom. While the company has a solid portfolio of infrastructure projects, including the inland rail project, Gatton prison and MacIntyre Wind Farm at Warwick, a third of the company’s revenue comes from residential subdivisions and a third from high rise developments.

“High rises and land development on the Sunshine Coast are the projects we are trying to target,” says Billsborough, who sees the region as a long-term strategy for the group.

“Through synergy benefits and being able to service our clients better, we’ll be able to take on larger jobs. The perception from locals about (not wanting to be) the next Gold Coast will have to change, but development will happen anyway without it necessarily being the same as the Gold Coast.”

Bennnett + Bennett’s mixed-use portfolio in south-east Queensland includes The Lanes Residences at Mermaid Waters, Citiswich at Ipswich, and the Bulimba Barracks redevelopment and Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane.

Bennett + Bennett director Ben Madden-Holmes, who heads up the Sunshine Coast office, says the Skyline merger brings a wealth of experience and consulting expertise to his team at a critical time.

“We’ve added another layer of consulting knowledge to our business, which will be invaluable on small and large projects alike,” he says.

With 220,000 people tipped to relocate from interstate to Queensland over the next five years, Madden-Holmes says the Sunshine Coast will play a key role in accommodating this growth.

“The Sunshine Coast’s population alone is expected to increase by 40 per cent, or 150,000, in the next 20 years,” he says. “The growth trajectory is huge.”

Bennett + Bennett is looking to grow its footprint further, a move that has been driven by the challenges of growing the team in a tighter employment market.

“We started talking to Corey at Skyline and there was an instant alignment there,” Billsborough says.

“We have observed all the great things Skyline has done and we identified it as being that perfect mix of a great cultural and professional fit, in a key region for us.

“We want to continue to have these conversations with other like-minded companies both in Brisbane and along the eastern seaboard.”

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