We’re a partnership of equals: around half of our people are Partners, but with transparency, collaboration, and democratic decision-making as core principles, all our people can voice their opinions and contribute meaningfully to the running of the business.

A group of more than 200 people standing in a garden smiling at the camera


Max sought a partnership approach to running the business, to encourage shared responsibility and a feeling of ownership. To this day, all our Partners and employees share this sense of commitment and duty towards each other, our collaborators, and our projects. 

The first iteration of our partnership was in 1974; Max Fordham & Partners. The partnership grew and led to a second partnership, Max Fordham Associates, being formed the next decade. In 2001, with the creation of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs), we became the very first LLP in the UK construction industry. The principles of the first partnership agreement from 1974 formed the basis of the 2001 partnership agreement and still remain to this day.

In essence, we’re an employee-owned business and our culture thrives on open, honest, collaborative relationships based on mutual trust and respect. We strive to build a diverse partnership that is truly representative of the society we live in. Our commitment is not only to eliminate and avoid discrimination but to create an environment where our differences are celebrated and valued. We see all employees as “Partners-in-waiting” and offer all employees the opportunity to join the partnership after four years.

Max handed over the running of the business to his fellow partners in 2000 and retired fully from the partnership in 2020. In January 2022, Max sadly passed away peacefully at his home. Read more about Max’s legacy on the partnership and the wider industry.


The foundation of the practice


The first partnership agreement


We became the first LLP in the industry

"It's a responsibility-sharing scheme, not a profit-sharing scheme.”

Max Fordham

Our unique structure

Our practice numbers nearly 300 engineers, designers, consultants, and business administrators across our five offices: Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, London and Manchester.

Our partnership structure means everyone is invested in the success of the practice and brings with them the commitment, responsibility, ambition, and commercial awareness of business co-owners.

Our partnership of nearly 120 people is the highest decision-making body in the practice. They elect a board of Managing Partners to oversee the running of the business who, in turn, appoint engineering, consultancy, and business administration Directors to lead the various areas of the practice.

Information about our business is shared with complete transparency with everyone in the practice. We all know what each of us is paid, all minutes from Managing Partner meetings are freely available, and everyone is asked for input into practice-wide consultations.

Partners' Meetings take place three times a year: these are open to both Partners and employees, and we encourage everyone to participate in discussions, ask questions, and engage in the successful running of our business. 


The practice was founded in London


We opened our Cambridge office


Our Edinburgh office opened its doors


We expanded with an office in Manchester


We opened our fifth office, in Bristol

"If they're fit to be an employee, then they're fit to be a Partner."

Max Fordham

Our values

  • We believe in building open, honest, collaborative relationships based on mutual trust and respect, both with one another and our collaborators in the industry.

  • We are passionate about everything we do and are driven by a genuine desire to make a positive difference.

  • We believe in sharing information, knowledge, and insight to stimulate the development of great ideas and to foster strong relationships with each other and our external collaborators.

  • We are not swayed by ill-conceived fads, but endeavour to find the most appropriate solution in any given situation, thereby ensuring high-quality results every time. 

  • We strive to build on our heritage as innovators and leaders in truly sustainable building design.

  • We believe in delivering the most sustainable outcomes, both for our projects and in the way we run our business.

Young children playing in garden at Woodlands Day Nursery and Forest School, Staffordshire University.

We are Max Fordham.

We are a partnership of engineers, designers and consultants, working with the built environment, to deliver a sustainable future and a thriving planet.

Read more about our purpose