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: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/transform-the-future-tickets-62117792991

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Curtins and CIRIA publication shortlisted for Brownfield Award

Date: 28th July 2020

Curtins and CIRIA publication shortlisted for Brownfield Award

The Brownfield Awards 2020 shortlist has been announced and Curtins has been nominated for our work with CIRIA in preparing the CIRIA report C785 – Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Risk Management Guide for Land-based Projects. The work has been shortlisted for the ‘Best Scientific/Technical/Digital Advance’ category.

The publication provides advice and guidance on UXO risk management – one of the many hazards affecting land-based projects in the UK – and is intended for use by those who work takes them into the ground or requires them to assess UXO risk.

Matt Lomas, Head of Geo-environmental North at Curtins, comments, “the guidance was written to help those in the built environment navigate UXO risk, and we are delighted that the publication has been nominated for this prestigious award.”

The Brownfield Award winners, split over 14 categories, will be announced in a live virtual ceremony on 19 November 2020 as part of Brownfield Development Festival.

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Curtins launches STEM careers inspiration on website

Date: 24th July 2020

Curtins launches STEM careers inspiration on website

We’re pleased to share news of our latest addition to our website – a new section aimed at providing careers inspiration for KS2 and 3+ pupils called Discover. We hope it will deliver insight into the roles our teams play with advice, blogs, videos, case studies and downloadable resources for parents and teachers.

The Discover careers pages have been launched in response to a realisation that not being able to visit schools and run STEM events, like we previously have done, could have an impact on how young people are inspired to become our team of the future.

We see the section as being a growing entity, and have plans to add additional content in the near future. For now, we hope the pages give a flavour of the wonderful world of construction and engineering in which we operate.

View the pages here.

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Suzanne Johnsen donates to Little Princess Trust

Date: 14th July 2020

Suzanne Johnsen donates to Little Princess Trust

We would like to congratulate Graduate Engineer, Suzanne Johnsen for generously cutting and donating 35cm of her hair to the Little Princess Trust, and raising money at the same time.

Little Princess Trust provide real hair wigs for children and young people (up to 24 years) who have lost their hair due to a disease.

This is the second time Suzanne has donated her hair to the charity, and in doing so she has highlighted to us the difference a hair donation can make.

She comments, “I would like to challenge anyone who has not had a haircut due to the lockdown to please do not cut it – save it and make a donation.

“Hair is so important to making us feel ourselves, and a donation can make a child feel stronger, more self-confident and ready to battle whatever disease is mistreating them.”

As part of Curtins Care, our charity fundraising initiative, staff can apply for donations to be made to charities of their choice. Through this, we have donated £550 on Suzanne’s behalf to the Little Princess Trust, equivalent to the cost of making one wig for a child or young person.

For more information on donating your long, lockdown locks, please visit www.littleprincesses.org.uk/

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Curtins launches virtual student placements

Date: 7th July 2020

Curtins launches virtual student placements

Following the successful launch of Curtins Academy online, we are pleased to say we have extended our opportunities for digital learning and development to student placements, having recently enrolled a civil engineering university student in a bespoke, voluntary virtual programme.

Businesses, such as ourselves, have a responsibility to ensure that there are opportunities for the next generation of engineers to gain valuable working experience, even during a period of country-wide lockdown. Working collaboratively with Olivia Rosengarten, a third-year student at Heriot-Watt University, we have created a bespoke programme of work experience that will allow her to develop her own learning objectives whilst working from home.

Olivia has previously undertaken work experience with us from our London office, but this voluntary virtual placement is already proving to have advantages over the traditional format. Seminars with our senior team can now take place across the business. This has so far included a director from our Bristol office who specialises in sustainability, a specific area of interest for Olivia.

We will be sharing Olivia’s experiences over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, we are exploring the ways in which we can extend the voluntary virtual placement offer and apply best practice learning to future office-based placements too.

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Planning permission granted for Sale West Estate

Date: 24th June 2020

Planning permission granted for Sale West Estate

Planning permission has been granted by Trafford Council for the Sale West Estate proposals, which will provide 79 quality family homes, car park improvements, safe play areas, improved highways and enhanced amenity spaces.

Outline planning has also been granted for a further 184 homes as part of a second phase of development, subject to a reserved matters application.

Through our bespoke Foursite pre-planning service, we have provided transport planning, infrastructure, geo-environmental and structural engineering services, which have assisted in achieving this planning milestone.

Working as one, our transport planning team prepared a Transport Assessment, Travel Plan and Construction Traffic Management Plan, whilst our infrastructure team delivered a Flood Risk & Drainage Strategy, and the S278 pack for the detailed phase of development. Geo-Environmental have been responsible for Phase 1 and Phase 2 Ground Investigation reports, and the structures team provided initial structural advice.

To fully identify and unlock any site constraints, we also appointed sub-consultants: Hoare Lea (for Air Quality and Noise Impact Assessments, and Carbon Budget Statement), Rachel Hacking Ecology (for Ecology and Green Infrastructure) and Tree Solutions (for Arboricultural Impact Assessment).

Having worked collaboratively with the client – Irwell Valley Homes – and the multi-disciplinary project team (CPC, Nexus Planning, AEW Architects and Exterior Architecture), we are pleased to have seen planning permission granted for this exciting development.

Image courtesy of AEW Architects.

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Curtins takes vital staff training and development programme online

Date: 19th June 2020

Curtins takes vital staff training and development programme online

We are pleased to say that as of Tuesday 16th June, we are successfully running our Curtins Academy online. Our founder, Bill Curtin instilled the importance of staff development in our ‘DNA’. So, when faced with relocating all staff to home working and a future where group training days in our head office seemed unlikely, we decided to switch to a digital delivery.

Curtins Academy is a transformational four-year development programme that presents key technical, professional and commercial industry principles to our graduates, in line with the main relevant professional institutions. Thanks to our Head of Learning & Development, Rebecca King the Academy is now being delivered in full remotely.

To complement structured learning tutorials, our chosen online platform has allowed us to create break-out groups for practical interactivity and increased engagement. This closely resembles our former learning format, but has taken us a step closer towards our digital delivery goals for the business.

The inaugural online session covered Decision Making for 25 Year 3 graduates, led by Directors Diarmuid Healy and Dan Evans. A year one module for fresh graduates is to follow.

Thanks to this change in delivery format, we are pleased to say that the programme can be completed on time. This will ensure that there is no delay to the graduates’ development and their progress towards Chartership with their chosen professional institution.

Find out more about Curtins Academy here.

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Curtins appointed on £750m Innovation Chain Framework

Date: 19th June 2020

Curtins appointed on £750m Innovation Chain Framework

Great Places Housing Group has launched its new Innovation Chain North (previously Innovation Chain North West) construction framework, to which Curtins are proud to have been appointed for Principal Designer and Health & Safety Advisor services and Site Investigation.

Great Places and fellow Housing Associations are looking to deliver their Development programmes through this framework, valued at £750m.

It is hoped that the framework will enable Great Places to deliver 11,000 new homes by 2028.

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Cleve Hill Solar Park reaches milestone in UK renewable energy

Date: 16th June 2020

Cleve Hill Solar Park reaches milestone in UK renewable energy

Cleve Hill Solar Park, a joint venture between Wirsol and Hive Energy, has become the first solar development in the UK to be classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.

We are proud to have provided transport planning and civil engineering services for the project, which was granted a Development Consent Order on 28th May 2020.

The development is located on land two kilometres northeast of Faversham and five kilometres west of Whitstable, on the North Kent Coast and will be able to generate in excess of 350MWp, enough to power more than 91,000 homes, and saving over 68,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. The Solar Park will also include what will be the world’s largest battery installation on the site.

The granting of the DCO marks a milestone in renewable energy for the UK, particularly given targets to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

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The importance of embodied carbon data analysis

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.