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 2,200 employees. Today, just as then, innovation and ‘thinking differently’’ continue to be the hallmarks of Drees & Sommer.

As ‘intrapreneurs’, employees are customer-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 first project offices in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. 

1979: 30 employees generate sales of EUR 3 million.

1980s: 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 Partnership system is still in place today. Partners at the individual offices act as entrepreneurs in keeping with standard rules – and adapted to regional practices. Drees & Sommer founds new offices in Hamburg and Frankfurt.

1989: 180 employees generate sales of EUR 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 AG. Expansion to the East: The company opens new offices in Berlin, Dresden, Erfurt, Leipzig, as well as Vienna and Bucharest. 

1999: 560 employees generate sales of EUR 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. Dresos determine the life cycle costs of real estate for PPP (private public partnership) 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. In this way, the company has been 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.