Date: 15th May 2020

The importance of embodied carbon data analysis

The threat of climate change and the impact caused by buildings and the built environment has been acknowledged since the 1990’s, but recently, in 2019, architects and engineers declared a Climate Emergency.

The industry has seen significant work in recent years to improve and reduce operational carbon in buildings through improve design, driven largely by regulatory requirements.

When the Government talks about ‘Zero Carbon’, it is referring mainly to operational carbon in use. It is acknowledged however, that by 2030 the vast majority of the carbon impact associated with buildings will be embodied carbon.

It is critical, therefore, that to truly achieve our sustainable development needs and fully realise a decarbonisation vision, embodied carbon within the building structure and fabric is evaluated and minimised.

On Earth Day 2020, we announced the climate action measures we are undertaking as a business and made changes to the way we work. We now analyse the embodied carbon in our structures, measure the tonnage of carbon and appraise low carbon design options.

Through measuring the amount of carbon in our designs, we are looking to raise awareness of our impact and to offer low carbon solutions that can be considered; appraising their impact against other key drivers.

As part of this initiative, we are offering CPD workshops to raise awareness of the climate emergency, the importance of embodied carbon for sustainability and to introduce our 7 steps for managing the issue.

We have developed an embodied carbon assessment toolkit that calculates the carbon in our principal construction materials (e.g. steel, concrete, timber, etc.). This embodied carbon data has been embedded into our REVIT models, so the carbon tonnage can be presented visually. The models highlight the carbon hot spots in our structure, so that our engineers can make informed decisions on where further engineering effort should be focused to minimise the impact of the particular solution. Our holistic approach includes an overview of other sustainability considerations, such as transportation and geotechnical considerations.

Our approach can extend to the civil elements of design, measuring carbon in roads and hardstandings, combining this innovation with our Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) designs.

We have already begun using embodied carbon data to inform our designs, providing lean, low carbon, low waste options. We hope it becomes one step of many to meeting our decarbonisation vision.

Podium webinar on Modern Methods of Construction

Date: 27th April 2021

Podium webinar on Modern Methods of Construction

On 22nd April, we went live with our webinar on Modern Methods of Construction in Healthcare. More than 550 people registered to attend the event, which forms part of our webinar series.

In the session, Director at Curtins, Andy Macfarlane discussed what the UK government’s “presumption in favour of Modern Methods of Construction” means for the design of healthcare projects.

The construction industry and healthcare are both in a period of transformational change. The principals of standardised design, pre-manufactured value and MMC are quickly becoming key drivers in how healthcare projects are designed, manufactured and assembled, partially led by the UK government’s announcement to favour tenders comprising offsite construction.

This webinar provided the background to MMC and discussed what it could mean for the design of healthcare projects.

To watch the webinar recording, please click here

Curtins presents at AUDE Conference 2021

Date: 25th March 2021

Curtins presents at AUDE Conference 2021

We are pleased to confirm that Curtins will be exhibiting at the annual AUDE Conference and speaking on the topic of Modern Methods of Construction during the week.

The Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) conference, which is taking place virtually this year from 12th – 16th April, comprises an exciting programme of informative speakers from the estates and facilities world.

Our presentation: 

On Thursday 15th at 11am – 12pm, Andy Macfarlane, Director in our Liverpool office and Dan Evans, Executive Director in London will be presenting on How Modern Methods of Construction can add value to HE developments.

The construction industry and education are both in a period of transformational change. The principals of standardised design, pre-manufactured value and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) are quickly becoming key drivers in how projects in the education sector are designed, manufactured and assembled.

The talk will introduce the background and terminology around MMC, explore how it can applied to modern education projects and discuss Curtins’ MMC Options Appraisal toolkit. It will also consider how design options can be compared to MMC categories, and how additional technologies can be integrated into traditional construction techniques to add value to the scheme.

To find out more about AUDE and view the speaker programme, click here.

Niamh McCloskey shares her experiences with the IStructE

Date: 10th March 2021

Niamh McCloskey shares her experiences with the IStructE

In a recent blog, Niamh McCloskey, who is currently on a path towards chartership with the IStructE, spoke to the institution about some of the people and experiences that have shaped her career and shared her thoughts on bias and inclusivity within the engineering profession.

Click here to read her blog.

Billboard Spring 2021 | A Focus on Healthcare

Date: 3rd March 2021

Billboard Spring 2021 | A Focus on Healthcare

The latest updates and insights into the healthcare sector from our team at Curtins are available to view in our newsletter here.

Our spring issue of Billboard covers Modern Methods of Construction, sustainable modes of transport, low carbon design, upcoming webinars and some of our exciting and current healthcare projects.

Read the newsletter

If you would like to discuss any aspects of the below further, please contact your nearest office.

Laces tied for a 1428 mile Curtins Care challange

Date: 2nd March 2021

Laces tied for a 1428 mile Curtins Care challange

The challenge has commenced! A team from our Leeds office have set themselves the ambitious target to collectively walk or run the distance between all of our 14 offices around the UK and Ireland – a total of 1428 miles – to raise money for Samaritans, our Curtins Care charity this year.

Thank you to Kimberly Dunning-Philp, Richard Osbond, Matt Young, Tom Audsley, Niamh McCloskey, Will Jeeps, Suzanne Cocker, Usaama Yate, Tom Leighton, Nic Webb, Jordan Steel, Kevin Egan, Emma Scholes and Rob Hampson who are taking on the distance together.

To match their miles, they are hoping to raise a target of £1428 for the charity, who are there, round the clock, for anyone experiencing emotional distress or a mental health issue.

The team would love to have your support to motivate them on their way. To donate in aid of Samarians, please click the link below for our Just Giving page. Thank you.

Newport Transporter Bridge receives project funding

Date: 25th January 2021

Newport Transporter Bridge receives project funding

One of the world’s last remaining transporter bridges, with the largest span of its type, has been granted significant funding for restoration and construction of a new visitor centre.
The Grade I listed Newport Transporter Bridge will receive £8.75m to preserve and tell its 114-year-old story, the social history of the area and the River Usk’s tidal environment. The investment represents the third largest National Lottery Heritage Fund grant in Wales to date and will ensure the structure is protected for future generations.
Curtins have played a major role in leading the Conservation Heritage Team, alongside Austin-Smith:Lord, Hoare Lea, Cass Hayward and Newport Norse. This milestone is the culmination of many years work developing a conservation strategy tailored to meet the requirements of this iconic structure. 
Curtins welcomes Janice Smith as director in Scotland

Date: 11th January 2021

Curtins welcomes Janice Smith as director in Scotland

Janice Smith, formerly of Stantec, is appointed as head of Scotland branches

We are delighted to announce that Janice Smith, with 20 years’ experience as a qualified civil and structural engineer, has joined our team as our new director of the Scotland region.

Janice’s appointment has begun the region’s transition from leadership under Executive Director, Phil Richardson, who is due to retire in the spring after almost four decades in the industry.

The new position sees Janice heading up our teams in Glasgow and Edinburgh, whilst working from our Edinburgh office on Belford Road.

Janice is supported by Paul Porter (Edinburgh) and Gordon McPherson (Glasgow), who have accumulated over 35 years with Curtins between them.

Janice said: “I have lived and worked in this beautiful part of the country for many years and I’ve become increasingly aware of Curtins’ positive impact on Scotland’s built landscape. I’m delighted to have become part of their story.

“There are certainly challenges ahead of us this year, but through Curtins long-lasting partnerships with clients, coupled with an ability to deliver both multimillion-pound schemes and the attention to detail required for smaller projects, I am confident that the business will continue to see success in 2021.

“I am looking forward to building on the relationships that will bring about this growth and stability.”

During Janice’s time at Stantec she contributed to transformative projects in Scotland. They include the library refurbishment and Tennis Centre for Heriot-Watt University, feasibility for The University of Edinburgh’s Main library and The Advanced Forming Research Centre for the University of Strathclyde.

Prior to that Smith provided expertise on landmark projects including the V&A Museum in Dundee.

Early in her new role, Smith will oversee Curtins’ continuing involvement in projects that include the new Nucleus Hub at The University of Edinburgh, the Cancer Bridging Project at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital and Boclair Academy in Bearsden. Her role will also oversee the Integrated Ophthalmology Unit and three-storey extension, which accommodates six orthopaedic operating theatres, at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank.

Phil Richardson, executive director said: “In the 23 years that I’ve had the privilege of being part of the Curtins team, the business has come a long way.

“I joined the Edinburgh office in 1997 with the young Rob Melling, who has since become our Chief Executive in Liverpool, and we’ve seen Curtins grow from 11 offices in the early nineties to 14 today. This expansion has included Curtins new office in Glasgow in 2016, as a reflection of the growing market in Scotland.

“Janice brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership to Curtins and I am delighted that she is joining the team.”

As a SER certifier, Smith possesses experience certifying a wide range of structures across the residential, commercial and education sectors. These include new build projects as well as alterations, refurbishments and extensions to existing properties.

Her broad sector and project experience compliments Curtins’ portfolio of projects, which range in value from £1M to £300M.

Executive Director at Curtins, Neil Parkinson adds: “Janice joins us at an extremely important time for Curtins. She brings extensive knowledge of the region and an ambition to build Curtins’ reputation in the area. I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits of her approach.”

Lee Barnett is Guest Speaker at Graitec Roundtable

Date: 14th December 2020

Lee Barnett is Guest Speaker at Graitec Roundtable

Curtins’ Digital Delivery Manager, Lee Barnett will be the guest speaker at Graitec’s Rountable on Wednesday 16th December, 10.00am – 12.00pm. The roundtable discussion is on the topic of ‘Implementing BIM 360 During the Covid-19 Pandemic’ and will cover:

  • Working from Home (multi-location)
  • Administering a Project
  • BIM 360 Docs, BIM 360 Coordinate and BIM 360Design
  • What is available to help your team be the most productive they can be

Tickets for the event are free. Click here to register.

Curtins named People Development award winner

Date: 10th December 2020

Curtins named People Development award winner

Curtins are delighted to have been awarded People Development at the Construction Excellence South West (CESW) Awards on 4th December.

“People are our greatest asset and this award recognises organisations that appreciate and nurture their workforce to ensure they maximise the value of everyone’s contribution to the business,” comments the CESW Awards.

Whilst this year hasn’t been easy, nurturing talent and supporting the wellbeing of our staff has remained central to the way we have operated. From launching our Curtins Academy online that ensured no delay to graduates’ progression towards chartership, to enhancing our wellbeing programme, we have continued to keep the development of our people at the forefront of our values, despite outside challenges. We are thrilled to have accepted this prestigious award in recognition of this.