Founded in Glasgow in 1902 as F A McDonald and Partners, the firm began as an agent for “Ferro-Concrete Constructions” also known as “reinforced concrete” (which was ground-breaking technology in the UK in the 20th century), providing design and construction expertise. As the technology advanced, so did the firm, expanding its scope to include the design of buildings, industrial structures, dams, tanks, and jetties.

Preluding to World War II and the post-war years, bridge design became a significant aspect of the firm’s portfolio. Dr William Fairhurst CBE, a renowned bridge designer and well-accomplished chess player (achieving the title of UK Chess Champion in 1937), joined the firm in 1931. In 1963, the firm was renamed in his honour, reflecting his significant contributions to the Tay Road Bridge, one of the firm’s biggest and most beloved projects at the time.

Having its headquarters firmly rooted in Glasgow, the firm’s growth in both size and reputation led to regional and national expansion, now operating as a multi-disciplinary consultancy with over 500 technical staff in 18 UK offices.

Stemming from our tradition of bridge-building, our commitment to building lasting solutions uniquely positions us to bridge the gaps between our client’s needs and our firm’s delivery of excellent engineering services. This commitment, coupled with our adherence to core values, has propelled Fairhurst to over 120 years of industry success.

Our Timeline

1902F A McDonald establishes the firm as specialists in the use of Reinforced Concrete for Buildings
1907F A McDonald supervises the construction of Lion Chambers in Glasgow, which is often referred to as the first reinforced concrete building in the city


1914The firm are the structural engineers for the Usher Hall in Edinburgh


1923The firm acts as the engineers for the refurbishment of the Scottish National War Monument at Edinburgh Castle
1931The firm designs the Tower Burn Bridge in Dunfermline

Dr William Fairhurst joins the firm


1933The firm designs the Arbroath Swimming pool


1946The firm moves their office premises to Woodside Terrace where they were to remain for the next 60 plus years
1949The firm designs the Milton Water Tower in Glasgow, one of many such projects carried out


1954The firm design numerous pit head structures at Seafield Colliery in Fife
1956Fairhurst Aberdeen office is established
1960Fairhurst Edinburgh office is established


1963Fairhurst Dundee office is established
1964Dr Fairhurst is interviewed by Building Magazine. At the time the firm employs 194 staff with 50% being based in the Glasgow office with a turnover of around £6m.
1966The firm designs the Tay Road Bridge, which at the time was the longest river crossing of any road bridge in Britain.
1970The firm designs the Kingston Bridge in Glasgow to carry the M8 motorway over the Clyde, bypassing the city centre
1972Fairhurst Elgin office is established
1973The firm ventures into England by opening the Newcastle office
1978Fairhurst Leeds office is established
1979The firm are the engineers for the electrification of the Tyne & Wear Metro and design and administer the construction of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge
1981Fairhurst is actively involved in the 1980’s in inspecting and supervising repair works to oil platforms in the North Sea
1982Fairhurst London office is established
1985Fairhurst collaborate with local firms to design St James Hospital in Dublin, Ireland
1986Fairhurst design the Marks & Spencer’s store in Oxford Street encompassing a vast reinforced concrete basement raft slab.
1987The firm designs their first store for Tesco, a client who we are still extensively working for to this day
1990Fairhurst Watford office is established
1993Fairhurst Bristol office is established
1996The firm designs the new Headquarters building for Scottish Widows in Edinburgh
1998The firm wins the BCIA Supreme Engineering Award
Forth Rail Bridge
2001The Glasgow Science Centre opens, Fairhurst being the engineer for the Imax Cinema and Exploratorium, both of which feature a titanium clad shell roof

Fairhurst Inverness office is established

2006The firm acquires Gary Gabriel Associates
2007Fairhurst wins The Saltire Society Awards for Civil Engineering
Stob-Cross On-Ramp Refurbishment, Kingston Bridge
2009Fairhurst wins The Saltire Society Awards for Civil Engineering
Upper Forth Crossing at Kincardine
2010Fairhurst wins International Project of the Year at Ground Engineering (GE) Awards
Jamestown Wharf rockfall protection works, St Helena
2012The firm is rebranded as “Fairhurst”

The firm acquires JWH Ross

2013The firm carries out the design works for the O2 Greenwich Peninsula Hotel
2016The firm acquires Sanderson Associates

Fairhurst wins What House Awards for Best Apartment scheme in the UK – Gold Award
Rushworth Street


2018Fairhurst wins BCI Skills Impact Initiative of the Year (Jointly won with A9 JV Partners and Transport Scotland)
2020Fairhurst wins RICS Award in the category of Infrastructure
The Helix District Energy Centre
2022Fairhurst becomes Fairhurst LLP

Fairhurst wins Structural Timber Awards for Stressed Laminated Timber Footbridge
Doune Castle Footbridge 


Fairhurst wins Consulting Excellence North East Awards in the category of Sustainability and Net Zero
Dogger Bank Wind Farm Facility

Fairhurst wins the 2023 Ground Engineering Awards shared with QTS, Network Rail, COWI and MHB
UK Geotechnical Team of the Year Award