History of Drees & Sommer

History of Drees & Sommer

In 1970, Gerhard Drees founds a small engineering firm in Stuttgart. He and co-founder Hans Sommer never dreamt that the three-person team would one day become a company operating internationally with more than 3,700 employees. Today, just as then, innovation and thinking differently continue to be the hallmarks of Drees & Sommer.

As entrepreneurs, employees are client-oriented, responsible, and make full use of their freedom to make decisions independently. Everyone who works on projects with them feels the special Drees & Sommer spirit.

1970s – Pioneering spirit

At the beginning of the 1970s, Drees & Sommer succeeds in applying the new technique of critical path analysis to construction projects. This is a breakthrough for the industry, allowing much more precise scheduling. It also makes construction processes more reliable and economical. The first office in Stuttgart is followed by offices in Düsseldorf, Munich and Cologne, as well as the first project offices in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. 

1979 – 30 employees generate sales of €3 million.

1980 – Boom times

Thanks to software-based schedule and cost planning, Drees & Sommer experiences a real boom at the beginning of the 1980s. The engineers now take a close look at building operation and advise principals on energy and cost efficiency. Started in 1988, the company’s partnership system is still in place today. Acting as entrepreneurs, Partners manage the individual offices in keeping with standard rules – adapted to regional practices. Drees & Sommer founds new offices in the German cities Hamburg and Frankfurt am Main.

1989 –180 employees generate sales of €20 million.

1990s – Growth

The projects and tasks become ever more complex. Drees & Sommer advises users, coordinates with authorities, and organizes architectural competitions. New services in this period include development management and project management for infrastructure projects. Drees & Sommer AG (stock corporation) is founded in 1992. The formerly separate limited liability companies are integrated and the former managing directors become Partners and shareholders in the new stock corporation. Expansion to the East: The company opens new offices in the German cities of Berlin, Dresden, Erfurt and Leipzig, as well as in Vienna (Austria) and Bucharest (Romania).

1999 – 560 employees generate sales of €85 million.

The Noughties (2000 – 2009)

International investment, focus on return on investment, and business with large property packages increase sharply. There is a boom in technical due diligence projects. Drees & Sommer consultants determine the life cycle costs of real estate for private public partnership (PPP) projects.

Sustainability becomes increasingly important. Drees & Sommer is one of the first players in the marketplace to develop comprehensive, economical solutions in the areas of sustainable building, reduction of energy consumption, and energy optimization of established buildings. This makes the company a pioneer in the area of Green Building – including as a founding member of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB).

During this period, Drees & Sommer opens new offices in Bremen, Hannover, Kiel, Nuremberg, Dubai, Beijing, Shanghai, Budapest, Warsaw, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Barcelona, Basel, Brussels, Istanbul, Copenhagen, Milan, Luxembourg (Munsbach), and Zurich.

2009: 1,120 employees generate sales of around 145 million euros.

The 2010s:

In the second decade of the new millennium, the emphasis is on sustainability issues and, above all, digitization. Drees & Sommer is at the cutting edge of innovative methods and technologies such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), Lean Construction Management (LCM®) and circular economy approaches for the construction and real estate industry. In addition to the major issue of urban mobility, another focus of our work is the increasing demand for healthy, customized buildings and city districts that cater for the specific needs of the individual. With further locations within Germany as well as in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the Gulf region, the company is steadily growing, both nationally and internationally.

2017: Around 2,800 employees generate turnover in the region of EUR 380 million.