Family firm celebrates award shortlisting

A family-run construction company is celebrating after a high profile project was shortlisted for the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize.

The University of Greenwich’s Stockwell Street development, located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Maritime Greenwich and designed by architects Heneghan Peng, is one of six finalists for the Royal Institute of British Architects Stirling Prize, the winner of which will be announced on 15 October.

Contractor for the project was Osborne, founded in 1966 in Chichester by the late Geoffrey Osborne. The company, which now has its headquarters in Reigate, continues to be family-owned and run, something it says that, rather than being driven by share prices or investor returns, gives it the “the freedom and flexibility” to take a different approach.

Palmers’ partner BJ Chong, whose expertise includes advising family businesses, said: “Osborne has clearly found a way of working that is enhanced by a family-run structure.

“While family-run businesses have many advantages, they do face unique challenges. Although these are likely to involve common issues – such as governance, disagreements about the direction the business should be taking and succession – these will be unique to the business and the closeness of family members to it and each other can make it difficult to take an objective view.

“Our experience in working with family businesses means we are ideally laced to provide independent, constructive advice to help firms develop and growth, on issues including succession planning, shareholder and partnership agreements and family dispute resolution. For more information, please contact us.”