Date: 3rd July 2019

Our Kendal office relocates!

Curtins moves to larger premises in Kendal’s K-Village

After 4 decades in converted office spaces in Kendal’s town centre, Curtins have moved to brand new, contemporary and fit-for-purpose premises at the riverside K-Village. The move comes nearly 45 years since we first opened its Kendal office in 1977, during which time our team and specialisms have grown to offer 7 built environment services.

The new office features a large meeting room with views over the river, modern workspaces, accessible facilities and car parking.

The new office location at Units 24-25 Riverside Place, K Village, Lound Road, Kendal, LA9 7FH is just over 5 minutes from the previous spot on Lowther Street. The K-Village workplace will not only provide accommodation for the growing team, but also level access for all – a significant improvement on the 4-storey Lowther Street premises.

Long-standing team member, John Sutcliffe joined the firm as a school leaver in 1979 and can recall our office’s original location at 45 Highgate in Kendal, most recognisable as the space above family-owned Boyes, the homeware store.

The office branch was launched in the 1970s in response to work developing through the English Industrial Estates Corporation (EIEC). The EIEC were building industrial facilities in rural locations to encourage business growth outside of cities. With prospective developments in Barrow-In-Furness and other parts of Cumbria, Curtins took the opportunity to set up an office in Kendal and make use of the countryside location’s potential. Now, almost 45 years later, the office is firmly rooted in the Cumbrian community and is one of our most desirable places to work – set just minutes from the UNESCO World Heritage English Lake District.

Chief Executive, Rob Melling commented, “The office in Kendal has been long established in Cumbria, allowing us to serve clients across the North West and provide employment opportunities for people wishing to work in the beautiful Lake District location.

“I’m pleased to now share the news of our office expansion. It’s an excellent development for all of us here at Curtins, which will facilitate the continued growth of our business in Cumbria and Lancashire.”

The office is led by director Andy Roberts who took over as office lead in 2013, growing the office from 5 technical staff to a team of 13.

Andy Roberts commented, “Curtins are privileged to be based in the Lake District and we are extremely enthusiastic about working in this unique area.

“Since we opened in Kendal in 1977, we have contributed to some memorable projects across Cumbria, including the National Trust’s Fell Foot Park, a new £30m school in Whitehaven, Cumbria County Council’s new offices in Carlisle and schemes at Glaxosmithkline and BAE Systems. On all projects, we always use our local knowledge and technical expertise to engineer the best solution available.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to build close relationships with our clients and contributing to a diverse range projects from our new office in K-Village.”

Contact the office here. 

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Curtins appointed as C&S Engineer for Gorton Community Hub

Date: 11th July 2019

Curtins appointed as C&S Engineer for Gorton Community Hub

Manchester City Council has appointed Morgan Sindall Construction to build a new health and community hub in Gorton, who in turn has selected Curtins as Civil and Structural Engineer.

Discussions are on-going around what services will be available at the hub, but the ambition is to bring together a partnership of public sector organisations, including Manchester City Council, health and social care partners and housing and community service provider, One Manchester.

The purpose-built facility on Garrett Way would create a one-stop resource for local people to access a range of health, social and public services in a single location, all of which are currently delivered by several different providers in different parts of Gorton. This will include moving the Gorton library from its current site close by, with the existing library remaining open until construction is completed.

The demolition of the vacant properties on Garratt Way, formerly offices and a pub, is already under way to make way for the hub

The proposals were presented to tenants at a series of consultations in June. A planning application is expected to be submitted in July, with a start on site planned by late 2019 and completion anticipated in Spring 2021.

Shaun Jones, North West area director for Morgan Sindall Construction said:

“This is precisely the type of development we have a real passion for delivering and we are very pleased to have the opportunity and responsibility to provide these new facilities to the people of Gorton. We look forward to working closely with the city council to ensure the project has a positive community benefit during the construction process.”

Councillor Bev Craig, Manchester City Council’s executive member for adult health and wellbeing, said: “An approach like this is the embodiment of our belief that you can’t just treat health and social care in isolation – as all the other key elements of life like housing, having a good job, and having fulfilling things to do in our free time are all interconnected with our wellbeing.

“We want to help Manchester people live happier and healthier lives. Accessing services should be easy and joined up, and that’s why we are making public services like health and care work more closely, to provide better support to help people when they need it, to stay fit and well, access good quality jobs and enjoy all the rich social and cultural elements of where they live.”

The hub in Gorton sits alongside several regeneration projects taking place in the area. Manchester’s Housing Investment Fund has backed the development of more than 400 homes, including 183 homes for sale at Connell Gardens in West Gorton and 67 homes for sale and rent at Gorton Monastery.

Image: Artist’s impression provided by Manchester City Council

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David Hammond contributes to new CIRIA guidance on Construction Impact

Date: 11th July 2019

David Hammond contributes to new CIRIA guidance on Construction Impact

David Hammond, Associate in our London office, is providing ongoing specialist geotechnical advice on the steering committee for new guidance by the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) on ground movement. The project will deliver good practice guidance on prediction, assessment and control of damage from ground movements, which will be disseminated through the industry.

Ground movements caused by construction activities such as basement excavation or tunnelling have the potential to cause damage to neighbouring structures or services. The guidance will identify the principal sources of ground movements and the methods for their prediction using empirical and analytical methods. Information on commonly adopted control measures to control ground movements from initial design through to construction will be included. The project also aims to provide guidance on permissible movement for different structure types, dependent on their condition and structural characteristics, and how this might be achieved by monitoring.

It is hoped that the guidance will enable those with a role in managing construction impact from ground movement to better understand the impact and good practice mitigation strategies.

For more information, visit CIRIA’s website here.

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Alison Horton is named as an Inspirational Women

Date: 11th July 2019

Alison Horton is named as an Inspirational Women

We Are Tech Women has named Alison Horton, Senior Engineer in our Birmingham office as an Inspiration Woman in recognition of her work to encourage more people – both male and female – into STEM related jobs.

Find out what she has to say about her role as a STEM ambassador, an Engineer and a role model to young women aspiring to a career in engineering in this Q&A piece on WATW’s website by clicking here.

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Eleven take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

Date: 5th July 2019

Eleven take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

Congratulations to our brilliant team of 11 walkers who set out in the early hours of Saturday 29 June to complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks in aid of Marie Curie, Curtins’ charity of the year.

The eleven completed the mammoth walk in 11 and a half hours, raising over £1388 for Marie Curie and exceeding their target.

Marie Curie carry out invaluable work supporting and caring for families living with a terminal illness. Their Nurses care for people in their home, when they need them most, day or night. They have nine hospices across the UK and last year, they provided support for more than 50,000 people across the UK.

The team’s completed Yorkshire Three Peaks route was 24miles long and included 1585m of ascent. The peaks (Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough) form part of the Pennine range and encircle the head of the valley of the River Ribble, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Thank you for everyone for their support, and in particular to Paula Gallego, Andrea McGee, Rebecca Strange, Michelle Lin, Shamine, Max Lee-Rodriguez, Ben Hughes, Sam Hoyer, Brendan Oates, David Dominguez and Kieran Geoghegan – our intrepid hikers!

If you would still like the opportunity to support Marie Curie, you can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/TeamCurtins

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Multiple schemes approved for Transport Planning team

Date: 4th July 2019

Multiple schemes approved for Transport Planning team

It’s been a successful couple of weeks for our Transport Planning team who have seen planning approval secured for three of their schemes in the north west.

Two previously-refused schemes, Logik’s tower at Arundel Street and Salboy proposals at Back Turner Street, won approval at Manchester City Council’s planning committee last Friday.

Designed by Architects SimpsonHaugh, Arundel Street will see the construction of 23-storey, 9-storey and 8-storey residential towers comprising a total of 355 new apartments. Similarly, the Jon Matthews design for Back Turner Street involves construction of a 17-storey mixed-use residential building.

More information about the Arundel Street and Back Turner Street schemes can be found here: https://www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/planning-arundel-street-and-back-turner-street-approved/

The third approved project, Bolton College of Medical Sciences, will see the construction of a £30m, 81,000 sq ft College to support around 3,000 students a year, with 1,000 apprentices in health and social care roles. Construction is set to begin on 2 December following unanimous backing from Bolton Council. Avison Young acted as planning consultant, Box Clever Consulting as project manager, the strategic brief was developed by Just Ask Scarlett, designs were provided by Associated Architects, and landscape architect was Re-Form.

More information on Bolton College of Medical Sciences at: https://www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/bolton-college-of-medical-sciences-secures-approval/

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Your Mental Health Matters event

Date: 2nd July 2019

Your Mental Health Matters event

On Tuesday 25th June our team in Manchester took part in a wellbeing and mental health awareness event at their office, designed to create an open discussion around mental illness. We welcomed both commonwealth boxing champion and speaker on equality, diversity and mental health, Stacey Copeland and founder of Level Heads & Threads, Tom Godfrey who shared lived experiences and advice around mental health. Through free discussion and workshops, staff were encouraged to speak openly about their perceptions of mental health, as well as what more Curtins could be doing to support employee wellbeing.

The day was rounded off with an endorphin boosting cycle spin class at Nuffield Health, led by Stacey – we couldn’t just invite a champion boxer and former England footballer to our office and not take the opportunity to get in some exercise, could we?!

The event forms one of several formal and informal sessions we’re running across Curtins regarding mental health.

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Open Your Eyes Week

Date: 1st July 2019

Open Your Eyes Week

Not long ago, Chris Roles and Helene John took part in Cardiff Commitment’s annual Open Your Eyes event. They attended Baden Powell Primary School and presented to four year five and six classes about the world of Civil Engineering and Curtins.
 
Open Your Eyes Week is held annually in primary schools and secondary schools across Cardiff and is designed to raise the children’s career aspirations as they prepare to move up. The purpose is to ignite and inspire interest in a wide range of occupations amongst young people in Cardiff. We are proud to be involved and support Cardiff Commitment in as many ways as we can.
 
Our event included a brief presentation on what engineering is, followed by an entertaining marshmallow and spaghetti tower challenge designed to get the students thinking creatively about structures. The day saw some first class towers, plenty of smiles and hopefully a few opened eyes to careers in civil engineering.
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Site visit for industrial mentees at University of Leeds

Date: 7th June 2019

Site visit for industrial mentees at University of Leeds

Through our industrial mentor links with the University of Leeds, we took a group of first year Civil Engineering students on a site visit to the Sir William Henry Bragg Building currently under construction by BAM for the University of Leeds.

Our industrial mentorship means we are linked with a personal tutor group of first year students. We meet the group informally and organise site visits to both our design offices and construction sites. Through this, the students are given an overview of a current project comprising our analysis and Revit models, as well as how BIM has been implemented. This is then supported by a series of site visits throughout the project’s duration.

Because of our ongoing work at the University of Leeds, the students had the unique  chance to be involved in projects on their own campus, which provides greater opportunity for them to follow the progress of the project from inception to completion.

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Curtins develops safer High-Rise innovation

Date: 3rd June 2019

Curtins develops safer High-Rise innovation

Press release:

Large Panel System design enables survey and repair of pre-cast towers

We were established in 1960 in Liverpool and have been at the forefront of innovation in assessing and repairing low, medium and high-rise housing for nearly 40 years. Our latest innovation for high-rise buildings removes the potential risk of disproportionate collapse in the event of gas explosions.

We have investigated, appraised and developed repair solutions for thousands of pre-cast concrete and non-traditional homes across the UK. We have been recognised as the leading expert for this work since the early 1980s, when we were instrumental in the development of the PRC Homes Ltd licensed repair schemes and produced the first licensed repair scheme for non-traditional housing – No. 001 for Cornish Mansard PRC houses.

Curtins’ latest innovation is a solution for pre-cast concrete “Large Panel System” (LPS) high-rise buildings. LPS buildings do not have a structural frame and are constructed using interconnected concrete panels supporting the concrete floors. As a consequence, LPS buildings are considered at risk of disproportionate collapse in the event of an explosion within part of the building, if they were not originally designed to withstand the forces from such an event.

Curtins were invited to design a retrospective solution to prevent disproportionate collapse to the LPS buildings owned by for Birmingham City Council. In simple terms, our innovative design involves the installation of a steel brace on the outside of the tower block that ties the external loadbearing concrete walls, and the upper internal loadbearing walls, to the floors. This brace enables those components of the building to act together to withstand the forces in the event of explosion, with the building remaining structurally stable. The steelwork is insulated with a non-combustible External Wall Insulation and clad with a more attractive render.

The benefit of this innovation is to minimise the disruption and intrusion to the building’s occupants whilst the installation work is being undertaken, as it only requires the decant of certain floors rather than the whole block. The end result is a significantly safer, warmer, visually more-attractive place to live, with improved thermal performance and an associated reduction in energy consumption.

The new solution is to be trialled by Birmingham City Council this year on a LPS high-rise block in the three city areas.

John Healey,  Associate at Curtins with over 35 years’ experience in this type of work explained, “We’re pleased to be introducing this new solution for LPS buildings.

“The lack of a structural frame in LPS towers means that these buildings are potentially at risk of disproportionate collapse. Piped gas heating has therefore been banned to minimise the possibility of a gas explosion. However, the buildings are still susceptible to non-piped gas explosions and their concrete façade means they’re thermally inefficient.

“Primarily, our solution will ensure that in the event of an explosion, tenants will be able to vacate the building safely. The introduction of our innovative galvanised steel frame and cross stitching on the upper levels will prevent deflection of the loadbearing walls, which can cause them to collapse. The second major benefit is that the non-combustible external wall insulation and cladding will make the buildings much warmer, which is great news for the tenants and the environment.

“Many Local Authorities in the UK have one or more LPS buildings, so our future strategy will be to introduce the solution across the UK to improve safety nationwide.”

Birmingham City Council are the largest social landlord in the UK and our solution is the first design innovation for LPS tower blocks that has been adopted.

For more information on our Survey and Repair services,  click here.