Curtins collaborates with ACE to launch People First Charter at UKREiiF

Date: 19th May 2023

Curtins collaborates with ACE to launch People First Charter at UKREiiF

As an early adopter, we were invited to speak at the launch of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) and the Environmental Industries Commission’s (EIC) People First Charter at UKREiiF on 18th May.

Neil Parkinson, executive director, joined representatives from Atelier Ten, Ramboll, and BWB Consulting to speak on why we’ve become an early adopter of the charter, which aims to put the wellbeing of people at the heart of organisations involved in tackling some of the biggest challenges the world faces.

“We will get to where we want to be quicker as a consequence of being involved in this charter.”

That was Neil’s key message, as he took part in the launch.

Neil outlined a number of areas of best practice Curtins are implementing when it comes to equity, diversity and inclusion and explained how we are also looking to learn more from other organisations developing different ideas and initiatives.

“The reason we are an early adopter of the People First Charter is because we believe in it and the Charter reflects the way we run our business,” he said.

“In 2021, we changed the way we operate our business to become an Employee-Owned Trust, so everyone has a stake in our business and people clearly are at the heart of our business.”

Neil adds he has worked at Curtins for 30 years, starting out as an apprentice and progressing to director level.

“We really do put people first,” he said.

“What we like about the Charter – what resonates with us even more – is that it’s about turning words into deeds, which reflects the journey we are on in terms of the issues around equity, diversity and inclusion.

“The last few years has been about raising awareness and now we are starting to implement initiatives and take actions – and we are starting to make things happen.”

He added the People First Charter involved sharing those experiences with other organisations so everyone can learn from each other’s examples of best practice.

“We are really keen to do that and be a part of that,” he said.

Neil highlighted some of the great work Curtins has been doing around improving equity, diversity and inclusion in the organisation.

As one example, for the last four years, we have been running a reverse mentoring programme, enabling junior members to mentor senior leaders, which gives them greater visibility and exposure and enables them to be more involved with the running of our business.

“Each year, we have got different perspectives from junior members of staff in the business from a different generation,” Neil said.

“Each year I’ve done it, I’ve got something personally and professionally from it.”

We also expanded our board in 2021 and an outcome of this is that it is more diverse in terms of gender and ethnicity.

“It looks and feels a lot different than it did a few years ago and we are already seeing the benefits of this diversity.”

“We think we can share what we have learned along the way with other organisations and, equally, learn from other organisations about their particular areas of good practice.”

Expanding on Neil’s comments during the panel event, Rob Melling, our CEO, explains how organisations must work together to create lasting change.

“There is strength in numbers,” he says, encouraging more businesses to get involved and sign up to the People First Charter.

“Collaborating with our peers, even our competitors, to ensure the industry is more appealing to a broader range of people is important.

“We can share what we have learned on our journey and we are also keen to learn from other participants and signatories.

“In some areas, Curtins is ahead of the game, but in other areas, we need to catch up and that’s the benefit of being signed up to a charter.”

The People First Charter will provide member organisations with tailored support to implement an action plan putting people at the heart of their firms, offering guides and frameworks of best practice and templated policies.

The Charter will ensure organisations within the industry operate on the basis of four principles relating to their people and human resources; inclusivity for all, openness and respect, development and growth and recognition.

Nathan Spencer, Director of UKREiiF, said the launch of the People First Charter at the event in Leeds on May 18th was a, “critical move and a step in the right direction for the industry”.

ACE is working in partnership with Constructing Rainbows on the People First Charter.

Sharon Slinger, owner and director of Constructing Rainbows, said: “This Charter is focused on continuous improvement and by putting in place action plans with clear impact measures and accountability, companies will be able to focus on their key areas for improvement and track their ongoing progress.

For more information or to sign up to the People First Charter, click here.

Winners of UKREiiF Consultant of the Year 2023

Date: 17th May 2023

Winners of UKREiiF Consultant of the Year 2023

On the first day of UKREiiF 2023, we were crowned winners of Consultant of the Year in the Festival of Achievement.

2022 was our most successful year to date in terms of carbon impact measures, financial performance, and the investment in and development of our people, alongside continued examples of practical innovation for our clients, commitment to DEI and focus on H&S.

We’re incredibly proud to have these achievements recognised with at such a prestigious industry event.

World Earth Day: How bad is a banana?

Date: 20th April 2023

World Earth Day: How bad is a banana?

Last Saturday was World Earth Day and a year since we launched our Carbon Database, so why did we celebrate World Banana Day on Wednesday 19th April instead? Well… the question is how bad is a banana?

On World Banana Day we invited Dr Emma Fieldhouse from ‘Future We Want’ to lead us in an interactive session that got us thinking about the carbon footprint of our personal lives – from eating a banana to buying pair of leather boots.

Dr Emma Fieldhouse is a career environmentalist, inspirational sustainability leader and practitioner of low carbon solutions. A Women in Innovation award win in 2021, has helped Emma to pivot her small but mighty business, Future We Want to focus fulltime on low carbon engagement using innovative games.

Our Carbon Database has allowed us to record and analyse the carbon impact of our projects, with the ability to segment data by building type and sector. Through this we engage in meaningful discussions with our clients about the carbon impact of designs, especially during concept design stages.

Between Dr Fieldhouses’ insight and our data analysis, we’ve learnt that there is over a million times less carbon in a single banana than our operational carbon emissions as a business for 2022.

We continue to act for a better future.

As part of the session, Niamh McCloskey and Stephen Beggs from our sustainability team announced the targets we’ll be setting as a business to reach Net Zero Carbon, and how we have used our Carbon Database to set embodied carbon targets for future projects, based on analysis of our work to date.

We will share our findings and data publicly in due course, so please stay connected with us for updates on our sustainability journey.

Cardiff embraces new ways of working in modern office move

Date: 4th April 2023

Cardiff embraces new ways of working in modern office move

With a history spanning 4 decades in Cardiff under our belt, we have moved our growing team into brand-new premium office premises in the city centre. They have been custom designed to provide great, flexible working spaces suitable for the varying needs of our innovation-driven engineering team.

Central to the design has been ensuring a comfortable and inspiring environment that encourages collaboration. Our new office dedicates only a proportion to computer desk space, and unlike traditional desk-per-square-meter models, most of this open-plan office is given over to flexible collaboration areas, breakout booths for focused time and virtual meetings, 1-2-1 spaces and a welcoming area for visitors to stay and work.

Sustainable and recycled materials have been used throughout the design to minimise the environmental impact, while soft furnishings, plants and natural tones create warm and inviting spaces for Curtins’ team and visitors alike. The sense of a home-work space is delightfully akin to Curtins’ founding in the back room of Bill Curtin’s home in Liverpool in 1960.

It continues to be an exciting time for our team in Wales. The Cardiff team are working on prestigious projects including Pentre Awel for Bouygues Construction, the Pathology unit at Morriston hospital for Kier, a state-of-the-art Satellite Radiotherapy Unit at Nevill Hospital, a new special school at Ysgol Cedewain for children with additional needs, Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llyn y Forwyn Primary School for Wynne Construction, Canolfan Lleu for Faithful+Gould and the Cardiff University Healthcare Relocation Project with AECOM.

Director in Cardiff, Dean Saxton comments, “The last couple of years has seen a significant shift in how employees work and use the office. We recognise this at Curtins and set up our Future Workplaces group to take a fresh look at how we can reimagine our workspace to respond to our evolving needs.

“I’m proud to say that as part of this work, our new home in Cardiff has been designed as Curtins’ pilot future office space, and we look forward to seeing what works well and future adaption.

“The key requirement for our office move was to provide a multi-functional space that supports dynamic and hybrid working. With the mantra, working better together, we wanted to provide a work environment that fosters organic collaboration with improved opportunities for mentoring and teaching.

“By utilising effective zoning, we’ve created a space that not only improves interactions and promotes team bonding, but also offers individual areas for enhanced focus and flow.

“To reflect our carbon journey, sustainability was at the heart of the design. It also promotes healthy working and wellbeing, providing an office that we can all be proud of.

“Our new home is testament to our success and I’m excited that we continue to work on some of Wales’ most prestigious building projects. We look forward to welcoming our clients and peers into our new home over the coming weeks and months.”

Our new office is located in Atlantic House, Tyndall Street, Cardiff, CF10 4AZ. Why not contact us to arrange a visit!

Curtins turn industry heads on embodied carbon conversations

Date: 4th April 2023

Curtins turn industry heads on embodied carbon conversations

Event roundup

Early project engagement in lower embodied carbon solutions was the topic of conversation our recent event on ‘Measuring and Reducing Embodied Carbon in Construction’; and the message to “use less stuff” was heard loud and clear.

The Place Hotel’s conference centre in Edinburgh was filled to capacity on Wednesday 29th March for our sold-out breakfast seminar, delivered in partnership with Scottish Futures Trust.

We invited industry guests to join the discussion on embodied carbon, led by Curtins’ experts Niamh McCloskey (Sustainability Coordinator), Scott Prichard (Digital Delivery Manager) and Gordon McPherson (Associate Engineer in Edinburgh).

Between the three Curtins’ speakers, our team illustrated the significance of the carbon emergency and Curtins’ plan of measurement and reduction. This, as was explained to the audience, has included the development of our carbon calculator that reflects IStructE data, bespoke automation for project carbon data capture and analysis in Revit, and more recently the development of our Carbon Database.

It is through the latter that we have now gathered enough real project data to set targets for carbon reduction in our projects.

During the session, Gordon McPherson demonstrated how our projects in Scotland are benchmarking against others in the carbon database, and illustrated how innovative engineering can achieve a balance between embodied carbon reduction and meeting building requirements.

Steven Anderson of public sector infrastructure body, the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) also joined the panel to share the standards and key drivers it is setting on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Central to his talk was the multi-billion-pound Learning Estate Investment Programme, which has operational and embodied carbon targets for schools that are tied to funding through an innovative outcomes-based funding model.

SFT’s call to action to the industry was clear: share project data with them so that they are able to build a picture of Scotland’s impact.

This fed through into the closing Q&A, which centred around room-wide acknowledgement that we must bring discussions of embodied carbon solutions in as a design driver during early concept phases.

We must be honest, we must be data-centred to ensure clients are informed on the design decisions of the three key project drivers: cost, time and carbon.

With our Carbon Database, and its ability to present sector and material impact trends, this could now be possible.

If you would like to find out more about our approach to sustainability and carbon toolkits, please get in touch with our Sustainability Coordinator, Niamh McCloskey.

Thank you to STEGTA for their apprenticeship support

Date: 8th February 2023

Thank you to STEGTA for their apprenticeship support

We are committed to offering an apprenticeship programme across all our disciplines, which is achieved with the support of our training providers.

We have had a strong relationship with STEGTA since 2014 when we recruited our first civil engineering apprentices. From our initial meeting to present day, STEGTA have supported us every step of the way, with the team that have worked hard to support us across the whole recruitment and onboarding cycle.

Their assistance doesn’t stop there. Once in role, our apprentices have a dedicated STEGTA Training Officer, who is there to help guide and support them throughout their studies through to their end point assessment.

The impact of recruiting apprentices has been a pivotal experience for Curtins. It is embedded in our culture to nurture people to become the best they can be, and apprenticeships give us a platform to maintain that culture.

From day one, our apprentices become valuable members of our teams, impacting local and national landscapes, with many going on to complete higher level or degree apprenticeships.

As a business, we champion apprenticeships and take immense pride in providing social mobility and career opportunities for anyone, at any age, to start their career in engineering. STEGTA is an integral part to making Curtins’ apprenticeship strategy a success and we look forward to working in collaboration for many years to come to ensure that we future proof our industry and continue to positively impact society.

Andy Macfarlane appointed to our Board of Directors

Date: 6th February 2023

Andy Macfarlane appointed to our Board of Directors

From graduate engineer to board director, Andy Macfarlane brings wealth of expertise to our leadership team 

We pleased to share that Andy Macfarlane has been promoted to our Board of Directors, with overall responsibility for civil and structural engineering in both our Liverpool and Birmingham offices.

Andy joined the Curtins’ team as a graduate engineer in 2002, and over the past 20 years he has progressed through to Business Unit Leader in our Liverpool office, whilst also supporting our Birmingham team in the West Midlands.

Andy is passionate about research and development, and is invested in pursuing efficiencies through innovative working practices in the ever-evolving construction sector.

He is a recognised thought-leader on modern methods of design and construction. In recent years, Andy has shared his expertise during speaker slots at the Education Estates, Healthcare Estates, Digital Construction and AUDE conferences, as well as our own technical webinars, such a Podiums.

Rob Melling, Chief Executive comments:

“In the last couple of years, we have seen positive adjustments made to our board’s structure, which have brought a wider thinking and approach to our leadership team at Curtins – and Andy’s appointment is the natural next step in this progression.

“Andy has always been focused on finding new and better ways of doing things, supporting Curtins’ aims to be thought leaders and pioneering in our approach. I am certain that having his forward-thinking outlook as part of our Board of Directors will be an asset to our future growth.

“Alongside Andy’s search for continual improvement is his commitment to helping people achieve their potential and become the best version of themselves. There are many people inside (and outside) of Curtins who would say that Andy had been a key part of their own development, through his support and encouragement.

“I have no doubt that his recent promotion to our board will provide him with an even greater platform to do that; and he’ll no doubt continue to have a significant and positive impact on many people within our company.”

Andy Macfarlane, newly appointed Board Director adds,

“Since my first day of work experience whilst at university, Curtins has supported and guided me in developing my career.  I have had the opportunity to work as part of teams delivering many exciting and challenging projects across the country, and a platform to influence change in our evolving industry.

“I am excited in this new role as a Board member to contribute the ongoing success and leadership of Curtins, to be involved in the development and progression of our industry, and to play my part in ensuring that Curtins continues to provide the support and opportunities which were available to me.”

As an independently owned business, we are known for our agility and ability to evolve to seize opportunities. Andy has joined our 14-strong-board 18 months after our transition to become an Employee-Owned Trust in 2021.

The promotion also follows the board’s 2022 expansion to include wider representation from our specialisms, as well as seven new business functions.

Curtins’ Board of Directors now comprises Andy Macfarlane, and Rob Melling as chief executive; alongside Alex Vogt, Dan Evans, David Price, Helen Salt, Jon Moister, Neil Parkinson, Oliver Delucia-Crook, Paul Menzies, Phil Bruford, Philip Hughes, Rebecca King, and Rhiannon Carss.

The diverse and dynamic capabilities of Curtins’ Board mean we are well positioned as a business to deliver the best for our clients and employees, with ample agility to respond quickly to market demands.

We’re partnering with Alzheimer’s Research UK for 2023

Date: 2nd February 2023

We’re partnering with Alzheimer’s Research UK for 2023

Our staff pledge to support ground-breaking dementia research

We are proud to announce that we will be supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK as our nominated Curtins Care Charity of the Year. Over the course of 2023, we will aim to raise at least £15,000 to help fund the charity’s dedicated work towards the treatment, diagnosis, prevention and cure of dementia.

Alzheimer’s Research UK is committed to changing the lives of everyone affected by dementia. Without action, one in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime, and sadly there are currently no treatments available in the UK today to slow or stop dementia. The charity supports scientific research into life-changing discoveries to prevent, treat and, one day, cure the diseases that cause dementia.

Last year, Curtins raised a total of £18,672.89 for Cancer Research UK, and we are hoping to achieve a similar target for the year ahead with Alzheimer’s Research UK.

In addition, and to help encourage fundraising activity, we provide every member of staff with the opportunity to spend a day in aid of charitable endeavours, either fundraising or donating their time. In previous years, this has included painting facilities at Samaritans’ centres, gardening for Marie Curie hospices, or taking part in cycle rides.

The charity partnership was officially launched across our offices on Wednesday 1st February.

Rob Melling, Chief Executive at Curtins comments: “Our mission will always be to positively impact the communities we serve, with an ethos that has shaped the work we have done since we were founded in 1960. In truth, it wouldn’t matter if we were still just one office in our Liverpool hometown, or the 14 offices we have grown to today – our purpose continues to encourage our staff to do more to support those around us.

“As a business, we have proudly partnered with dozens of worthy charities over the years, raising more than £90,000 in the past 5 years alone.

“Our team are always keen to support our charity partners, and other charities close to their hearts, in any way they can. In past years they’ve done everything from Mad Hatter’s Tea Parties and bold (or should I say bald) head shaves, to marathons and office walks. We are all looking forward to this year’s plan of events and activities, and supporting the incredible work of Alzheimer’s Research UK.”

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK comments: “We’re thrilled to see Curtins choose to support Alzheimer’s Research UK, and we can’t wait to see how they raise funds and awareness to help bring us closer to life-changing dementia treatments. Dementia is one of the biggest health challenges we face, with almost one million people in the UK living with dementia right now. Despite this, there are no treatments available in the UK to slow or stop the diseases that cause dementia. The support from everyone at Curtins is vital if we’re to make the life-changing discoveries that people with dementia desperately need.”

For more information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, visit

Rebecca King shortlisted in Northern Power Awards

Date: 10th January 2023

Rebecca King shortlisted in Northern Power Awards

We’re immensely proud that Rebecca King MCIPD MBA, our Board Director responsible for Learning & Development, has been shortlisted for Levelling Up Leader in the Northern Power Women awards.

Rebecca is at the forefront of delivering the training and development opportunities that enable our staff to achieve their professional goals, and her enduring effort to deliver the best in terms of diversity and inclusion continues to make waves.

We know there will be a lot of people rooting for her. Rebecca sits on committees for both the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), and is an active member of the CIPD Merseyside and North Cheshire branch to boot.

We’re looking forward to supporting her at the awards ceremony on 20th March.

Curtins signs the Yorkshire & Humber Climate Action Pledge

Date: 15th December 2022

Curtins signs the Yorkshire & Humber Climate Action Pledge

We have proudly become signatories on the Climate Action Pledge for Yorkshire and Humber. It is the first regional pledge of its kind in the UK to require businesses and organisations to make a commitment across four areas of action: becoming climate resilient; reducing carbon emissions; enhancing nature and biodiversity

Its aim is to help the region become “climate ready,” and is a commitment to tackling the climate and ecological emergency.

The Pledge has been developed by the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, an independent body set up to support and guide ambitious climate action in the region, and we are pleased to be able to support its aim of achieving net zero.

You can read more about the Climate Action Pledge at