As CMS Group today celebrates it’s 35th anniversary as a company, we’ve taken a look back over the years to see just how far we’ve come. What a journey it’s been! Let us share it with you…

CMS Group celebrates 35 years

Where it all began

Starting as a one-man-band, Construction Management Services was founded on 1st November 1988 by Paul Coleman. Following this, Paul spent a couple of years running the business solo, working out of his front room.

In 1992, the team began to expand to include 6 people and CMS moved to The Institute on Box Hill, a former scout hut. A few of the team back then are still at CMS today, three decades later! Our Finance Manager Sara joined in 1993, shortly followed by our Group Managing Director Peter in 1994 (not that they’ll appreciate a reminder of this!). We searched deep in the archives to find the photo below!

Peter Blake, CMS Group

Back then, Peter was a trainee architectural technician. He has a particular memory of printing out A3 drawings on an A4 printer and having to cut and tape them together in order to print them… thank goodness for modern printers!

He also recalls “the old pen plotter”, which served as a printer before big plan plotters existed. This device had a carousel of 6 pens in it and would create a line drawing on tracing paper. He then put the tracing paper onto photoreactive paper, which he would put through a dye line machine, after which it would go through a not-so-nice smelling solution of ammonia. Peter would spend hours in a back cupboard repeating this process… how grateful we should be for today’s technology and all the time it saves us!

Sara and Peter also recall how the staff kitchen had the most incredible view looking out onto By Brook Valley, and an epic-sounding snowball fight which began outside and made its way into the office!

Our very first office on Box Hill

Our High Street days

In 1997, the team moved to a new premises in Smith’s Yard on Corsham High Street. Before we moved in, the building was a hardware store and rear barn storage facility. Needless to say, it needed some work, but thankfully our team had the knowledge and skills to see it through to its transformed appearance! 

CMS Group's old office on Corsham High Street

Whilst at Smith’s Yard, our numbers grew from 6 to around 10. One thing that would amaze many of us newer to the profession is the sheer amount of paperwork the office held back then! The entire top floor of the office was taken up by a products library, which held as we needed to have hard copy information of anything we were specifying. Now, of course, this is all online! Gone are the days of searching through endless files, thank goodness!

If you’re wondering what this building is used for now, it is now occupied by Previous, one of the many independent shops we’re fortunate to have in Corsham. Today, unrecognisable from its previous state (see what we did there!).

Ten years later in 2007, the company was incorporated and renamed CMS Bath Ltd. At this time we also bought the property next door, converting it from three apartments into office space, and expanded CMS into a larger office.

CMS Group celebrates 35 years

One of team’s standout memories from this time was the filming of Poldark in 2014, which saw the high street double as 18th Century Truro for a week! A rather exciting novelty, we would be in our office watching the filming of a famous drama series, with sand-covered roads, transformed shop fronts, and all signs of modern technology disguised. What a contrast to our world today. Any trips out of the office had to be carefully planned!

In 2013, the company underwent a major restructure. CMS Bath Ltd rebranded to CMS Group and two subsidiary companies were created: CMS Architects Ltd and CMS Project Managers & Surveyors Ltd. This gave both sides of the business their own identity, allowing for some separation between them and their respective growth and development.

The move to the Martingate Centre

Not long after that in 2015, we made the move to where we are now, 26 Martingate Centre. With an increasing workload and a growing team, this move gave us more space and the potential to develop further.

CMS Group's current office in Corsham's Martingate Centre

Some incredible projects also followed this move, including the development of a new airbase for Wiltshire Air Ambulance. How fortunate we were to have this opportunity, and how amazingly it turned out! This was a highlight for many of the team who were part of it.

Then came our 30th company anniversary in 2018, which we celebrated with a party at the stunning Roman Baths accompanied by dinner and dancing in the stunning Bath Pump Room. We had over 130 guests join us to help celebrate, made up of colleagues, clients, friends and family.

CMS Group's 30th Anniversary at The Pump Rooms, Bath

We have always been a Wiltshire-based company, and this has opened up a lot of opportunities for us geographically. Based on the outskirts of Bath and the Cotswolds, a short drive from the M4 and a train ride away from London, we have been able to service our clients across the whole of the southwest and beyond.

What a journey we’ve been on from a team of one in Paul’s home to the talented, diverse team we’re lucky to have today. We also can’t thank our clients and fellow professionals in the industry enough for their ongoing support and collaboration. Here’s to many more successful years ahead!

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CMS Group celebrates a wonderful 35 years