Date: 28th May 2019

Power Partnership Sets to Tackle Construction Skills Crisis in Liverpool City Region

A consortium consisting of leading construction businesses Morgan Sindall Construction, Curtins, Faithful+Gould, Ryder and Regenda Group is collaborating with Agent Academy CIC to create new employment opportunities for young people across the Liverpool City Region.

With five years’ experience of securing jobs for young people in the creative and digital sector, creating £2.5 million in annual salaries, Agent Academy will work with the consortium to understand what can be done to encourage more young people to consider careers in construction.

During the three-month project a group of 12 young people will be challenged with finding solutions to the construction sector skills shortage. They will learn from experts in both built environment and marketing, engage in research with other young people from diverse social backgrounds and use the insights they gain to come up with answers to their unique challenge.

Every Agent Academy programme is underpinned with a client challenge enabling the young people to put their learning into practice. During this programme the young people will meet with over 40 city leaders as well as hundreds of young people to bring about their client recommendations.

Recent CITB research shows that there is significant room for improvement regarding young people’s perception of the construction industry as a career option, with it scoring 4.2 out of 10 among 14 to 19 year olds. The research showed that young people’s understanding of what a career in the construction industry entails is based on outdated stereotypes and differs greatly from the reality.

Sue Patterson, senior business development manager at Morgan Sindall Construction in the North West said:

“We regularly visit local schools and run jobs fairs, and often find that many young people are completely unaware of the great variety of career opportunities available in the sector. As an industry, it’s our responsibility to demonstrate the wide variety of fulfilling roles that construction has to offer.

“In order to make construction more sustainable for the future and to boost employment opportunities in the communities in which we work, it’s critical that we demonstrate the great number of careers available to all young people and attract a more diverse workforce in to the sector.

“The work we are undertaking with Agent Academy enables us to take a completely fresh approach to this complex issue by having young people engage with their peers to consider solutions on how to best promote the many fantastic careers that our industry has to offer.”

Zoe Wallace, director at Agent Academy said:

“Agent Academy has a track record tackling the talent challenge faced by the creative and digital industry by giving young people the opportunity to upskill and then kick-start their careers. We hope that this experience together with the insight of our students will give a fresh perspective to how the construction sector can tackle talent issues.

“The young people on this programme will come up with the answers that many construction industry businesses are looking for. 95% of the young people we work with gain full-time industry employment after completing the programme so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

Zoe goes on to say:

“We have a lot to look forward to, despite the skills challenges faced by our region’s employers there are so many opportunities and by coming up with new ways to engage the regions young people and motivate them we can make sure they are ready to take on the careers of the future.”

Ged McNicholl, regional director, Faithful+Gould added:

“The opportunities in the construction industry are vast. Diversity in the industry is a challenge, but through the research from this project we are determined to change this to make a career in the construction industry appealing to all.

We are all taking a collaborative and forward-looking approach to solving the challenges faced by the sector and I believe the next generation can play a big part in this, particularly when it comes to bringing new technology and more digital ways of working into the industry.”

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.

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.

Merseyside Women of the Year 2019 Finalists Revealed

Date: 3rd June 2019

Merseyside Women of the Year 2019 Finalists Revealed

Twenty-six unsung heroines from across the region have been named finalists in the Merseyside Women of the Year awards 2019 and a public vote has been opened to decide the overall Merseyside Woman of the Year.

The annual independent awards ceremony, which will take place on Friday 28 June 2019 at the Crowne Plaza in Liverpool City Centre, will celebrate the achievements of women from across Merseyside in eleven categories, with all finalists being entered into the public vote for the top accolade.

We are proudly supporting the event and the incredible women it celebrates by sponsoring the One To Watch category.

Members of the public can now vote for their Merseyside Woman of the Year via the awards website or postal vote until Monday 10 June 2019.

The 26 finalists, who were selected from a record number of entries can be found here, where you can also cast your vote:

Rhiannon Carss, Head of Communications at Curtins explains why we are supporting the event: “The passion behind these awards is what enticed us to get involved. They shine a light on exceptional people doing exceptional things, whether in the public eye and with a high profile or not. Celebrating the everyday heroines of our great region is such an important mission. Whether they realise it or not, these individuals are enriching people’s lives and they should be recognised.

“This is our first year supporting MWOTY and it has given us the chance to meet people from different walks of life and to hear and celebrate their incredible stories. Through our sponsorship we want to learn more about local initiatives and how we can work with people in our community to support the great things they are doing.”

Jean Gadsby, from Merseyside Women of the Year Awards, said: “We received a record number of entries this year, which made the voting process incredibly challenging for our judging panel.

“It was a humbling and extremely emotional experience that has culminated in this list of exceptional women, who are all making a real difference to the lives of people and communities in Merseyside and beyond.

“We encourage everyone to learn about their work and vote for their Merseyside Woman of the Year.”

To find out more about the event and sponsorship, or to book a table, visit:

Transform the Future Competition

Date: 31st May 2019

Transform the Future Competition

On 21st June 2019, WSP, Network Rail, Curtins and Institution of Civil Engineers are coming together to host an event celebrating International Women in Engineering Day, with presentations from industry-leading keynote speakers, food, drinks and networking.

We will be celebrating the incredible talent we have in the industry but in a whole new way.  This year we want to empower the young engineers, doctors, lawyers, artists and politicians and showcase that there are no limits to fulfilling potential.

If you are aged 14-19, then take part in this competition. All you have to do is record a 30-second clip sharing how you want to transform the future. How do you want to make a positive impact on the world around you? What do you want to be when you grow up. It’s your clip so be as creative as possible. And share it with us on either Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the #INWEDmcr2019 and #Transformthefuture. If you don’t have an account then don’t worry, you can always use your parent’s account to enter the competition.

Make sure your videos are posted by Wednesday 12th June. Top 10 shortlisted clip makers will be invited to attend the event and their clips with be shared during the event on 21st June and the winning clip with receive a prize.

To find out more, please see the poster for the competition and rules for taking part here.

Make sure you secure your place by registering here:

Managing Stakeholders on a Public Sector Project

Date: 30th May 2019

Managing Stakeholders on a Public Sector Project

How can we, in our design teams, use technology to enhance stakeholder management, collaborate and demonstrate complex engineering solutions? Matt Woodhall, Associate in our Birmingham office, reveals some of our methods and the relatively low-cost technologies available in this Public Sector Build Journal article:

Jean shaves to raise for charity

Date: 23rd May 2019

Jean shaves to raise for charity

Jean Goldstone, Credit Controller at Curtins, has ‘Braved the Shave’ in aid of Marie Curie, our nominated charity of the year. To raise money for the vital work Marie Curie carry out, Jean had her head shaved on Thursday – losing around 50cm and creating an astonishing and selfless transformation.

Thanks to generous donations, Jean exceeded her target fundraising of £2,000. This will help to fund 120 hours of vital nursing support that will allow people living with a terminal illness to receive care in the comfort of their own home. Without support like this, Marie Curie wouldn’t be able to provide this care to people at an extremely difficult time.

We’d also like to extend a thanks to Liverpool’s Exchange Barbering Company for coming in, free of charge, and conducting the shave. Their willingness to offer their professional services in support of the cause is greatly appreciated, and their barber, Tom did an excellent job of putting Jean at ease.

If you would like to make a donation to Marie Curie, you can do so at 100% of the money raised will go to the charity.

8 nominations at the North West Regional Construction Awards 2019

Date: 10th May 2019

8 nominations at the North West Regional Construction Awards 2019

What an evening the North West Regional Construction Awards 2019 will be – five of our projects have been shortlisted for a total of eight awards! We’re incredibly proud of all of the design teams who have brought them to fruition.

The nominations include:

  • Paddington Village Infrastructure and Public Realm, Liverpool: Sub-regional Project of the Year Award – Liverpool and Value Award
  • Campus Whitehaven, Cumbria: Integration & Collaborative Working Award and Sub-regional Project of the Year Award – Cumbria
  • St Julie’s Catholic High School, Liverpool: Sub-regional Project of the Year Award – Liverpool
  • Plymouth Grove, Bridgelea Primary School, Manchester City Council: Preservation & Rejuvenation Award
  • Circle Square and Affinity Living Projects, Manchester: Integration & Collaborative Working Award and People Development Award

See the list by clicking here.


David Wiggins presents at Masonry Arch Bridge masterclass

Date: 9th May 2019

David Wiggins presents at Masonry Arch Bridge masterclass

Senior Engineer, David Wiggins will be presenting at the Repair and Maintenance of Masonry Arch Bridges masterclass on 24th May in Charlestown, Fife.

The full day masterclass will look at all aspects of masonry arch bridge construction and the materials utilised to determine the most appropriate repair schemes.

David is recognised in the Conservation Accreditation Register for Engineers (CARE), which identifies civil and structural engineers skilled in the conservation of historic structures and sites. He will be talking specifically about the scour resilience of masonry arch bridges.

David will be joined by specialists Bill Harvey, Gary Salter, Steve Wood, Gordon Cartwright and Rosamond Artis who will cover topics throughout the day including stone bridges, photogrammetry, repair of masonry arch structures, bridges supporting public roads and specifying mortars and replacement stone.

More information on the masterclass is available on the Scottish Lime Centre Trust website.

Guided tour of one of our most significant Midlands projects

Date: 7th May 2019

Guided tour of one of our most significant Midlands projects

On 21st May join NAWIC Midlands on a guided tour of one of our most significant projects currently under construction in the Midlands: the £300m Midland Metropolitan Hospital, Birmingham.

The site visit around the new ‘super-hospital’ will be led by Balfour Beatty, who will provide insight into the process of constructing a state-of-the-art facility and the challenges they face to make sure it opens on time.

The multi-million-pound NHS hospital in Sandwell is a 10-storey tower split into three fingers, with a large 5-storey winter garden and feature structural roof at the front of the building. We are providing civil and structural engineering, drainage, service coordination and flood risk services for the project.

Joanne Kerry, our Transport Planning Associate in our Birmingham office sits on the NAWIC Midlands Committee and organised the event with her fellow members. She is instrumental in promoting and Supporting NAWIC in the Midlands, supporting and developing women in the property and construction sector.

The tour is an exciting opportunity to see one of our most prestigious projects in the Midlands currently under construction and to find out more about the journey the project has taken (and will take) to its grand opening scheduled for 2022.

Shared transportation to the tour will be provided from our Birmingham office (2 The Wharf, Bridge Street, Birmingham B1 2JS) at 12.00pm, returning for approximately 2.00pm.

Safety clothing and footwear will be required for the tour.

Click here to visit the event page for more information and booking.