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As Inverness Chamber CEO visits refurbished Mabbett Inverness HQ, company announces doubling of Highland workforce since 2022 GH Johnston acquisition

16th February 2024 - Written by Derek J. McNab


  • Inverness Chamber of Commerce CEO Colin Marr visits refurbished Mabbett Inverness office.
  • A second dedicated ecology office opened in Inverness in November 2023.
  • Workforce has doubled across Highlands since GH Johnston acquisition.


As it welcomed Inverness Chamber of Commerce’s Colin Marr (CEO) and Paula Nicol (Deputy CEO) to their recently refurbished and relaunched Inverness HQ to mark the two-year anniversary of acquiring planning and architectural design specialist, GH Johnston Building Consultants Ltd (GH Johnston) – Glasgow-headquartered consulting firm Mabbett & Associates Ltd (Mabbett) has announced that it has doubled its Highland workforce since acquiring Inverness-based GH Johnston.

Driven by the opening of a new Moray office (at the Horizon Scotland Business & Innovation Centre, Forres), a second office in Inverness (dedicated to the Mabbett Ecology team) at Lyle House, Fairways, and the refurbishment and relaunch of the former GH Johnston office at Willow House, Stoneyfield Business Park, Mabbett now employs 22 people in the Highlands, up from 10 in 2022.

It has been a busy couple of years for Mabbett, which has gone from strength-to-strength in the North. In March 2023, 12 months on from acquiring GH Johnston, the company was fully integrated into Mabbett as a new division, Planning and Development Group.  Since then, the company has added its other core consultancy service lines in Environment, Engineering and Safety.

Speaking about a whirlwind two years as part of the Mabbett Group, the leader of their Highland offices, James Forbes, said:

Reflecting on the last two years, we have witnessed significant growth in our Highland client base and the addition of new technical services. These new services include: Environmental Engineering, Ecology, Flood Risk Management, Contaminated Land and CDM Safety services, to name a few. Through this diversification, we can better service our existing client base through an integrated approach to planning, design, environment, engineering and safety consulting. I am proud of what we have achieved in a short space of time, and more importantly, excited for our long-term future in the Highlands!

During his visit to the Mabbett Inverness office at Willow House, Inverness Chamber CEO, Colin Marr, commented:

It was a real pleasure to visit the newly refurbished Mabbett offices in Inverness and to meet the team. Over the last few years Mabbett have invested in the Highlands and Moray which has led to an impressive growth in the number of skilled jobs in our area. They have also diversified and can now offer a range of services including architecture, planning, engineering and environmental and health and safety consultancy. They are looking to the future by working closely with UHI on a range of graduate apprenticeships and Inverness Chamber of Commerce looks forward to supporting their further growth from the opportunities that will come from the development of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport.

Significant scope for long term growth in the Highlands

Speaking about the successful growth of Mabbett in the Highlands, Derek J. McNab, Managing Director remarked:

Our investment in the acquisition of GH Johnston, together with our organic growth in the market, has allowed us to spread our geographical reach in the Highlands and enhance the services available locally to our clients, many of which would have previously been contracted from other parts of Scotland.

We have received a warm reception in the Highland market as we build our business with local talent.  Our team has also engaged with UHI to help us develop a local talent pipeline for the future including our first graduate apprenticeship. The support of Inverness and Moray Chambers of Commerce has also been invaluable to our firm in our growth journey.

At Mabbett, we see significant long-term opportunities in the Highland market to include: the government investment in the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeports, the continuing expansion of the brewing and distilling sector, the fast growth of the space sector, future investment in housing, and much more. We are committed to serving these opportunities through creating local Highland-based jobs in our national consultancy.

Finally, I wish to thank our staff, clients, and partners for their support in the Highlands and beyond, we wouldn’t be where we are without your assistance.



About Mabbett

Established in 1996, we are a leading consultancy offering Planning, Design, Environment, Engineering and Safety services with a focus on helping our clients to “See a Difference”. Our team support clients through the planning process; deliver innovative design solutions; and achieve their Net Zero goals.  We save our clients’ money; reduce risk; and enable compliance. For further information on Mabbett, please visit our website at or alternatively, please contact Derek J. McNab, Managing Director, T: +44 (0) 141 227 2300, Mobile: +44 (0) 773 336 6848, E:

Derek J. McNab

I have a down-to-earth approach to assisting clients achieve regulatory compliance, implement good practice, realise cost reductions and succeed at reducing business risk so they See a Difference!