PAGED: 2
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.

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It’s Earth Day

Date: 22nd April 2020

It’s Earth Day

Earth Day 2020 has arrived with an urgent spotlight on climate action. As a business, we acknowledge that we need to look at our systems and processes to respond to the threat of climate change, and help protect the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable. So, what are we doing?

What are Curtins doing?

Sustainability steering group

Curtins’ specialist steering group are looking at initiatives and best practice from a design workflow perspective. Our present focus is carbon footprint analysis for our civil and structural projects.

We intend to carry out an analysis on all steel frame and concrete frame structures to provide the total carbon footprint data for the structure, the data of which will be placed on our drawings.

Staff consultation – Environmental Survey and Carbon Footprint Survey

We are responding to survey feedback from our staff with new initiatives and promotions; working to reduce our carbon footprint and fuel use through new programmes and travel plans.

In addition, our increased focus on reducing paper use and a waste management policy will streamline our recycling of materials across the business.

Suppliers

We are currently incorporating a carbon monitoring system into the pre-qualification pack for our approved suppliers. Existing suppliers will be sent out the questionnaire at time of renewal and we will be monitoring the progress of our suppliers’ own carbon footprint reductions.

ESOS Phase 2

We have submitted our Phase 2 ESOS report to the Environment Agency and are studying the potential of the various recommendations provided by our assessment team to improve our carbon footprint across the business.

Company fuel use is top of our agenda. We are phasing out company diesel vehicles to bring in a suite of pool cars that are either hybrid or fully electric.

However, reducing our travel requirements would have even greater benefits, so we are upgrading our communication and conferencing facilities in order to hold more virtual meetings.

We are also implementing a phased replacement of lighting to LED’s across the business and installing sensor lighting where possible.

Certification to ISO 14001 2015 Environmental Management Systems

We are audited annually by Alcumus ISOQAR and certified to ISO 14001 2015 for our Environmental Management System of work. This certification process is complemented by our own internal rigorous auditing system, incorporating quarterly audits across all offices.

UK Structural Engineers Declare Climate and Biodiversity Emergency

For everyone working in the construction industry, meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in our behaviour.

Recognising this, we are committing to strengthen our working practices to create engineering outcomes that have more positive impact on the world around us.

Curtins have signed the declaration from a civil engineering and structural engineering perspective. See detail here https://structuralengineersdeclare.com/ and https://www.civilengineersdeclare.com/

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Curtins smash 2019 charity fundraising target by more than double

Date: 6th April 2020

Curtins smash 2019 charity fundraising target by more than double

Each year Curtins staff choose a charity partner to focus our fundraising efforts on. 2019 was our most successful year to date, as our staff went above and beyond to raise a phenomenal £34,149.53 for Marie Curie. That’s more than twice the original £15,000 we challenged ourselves!

Our staff organised lots of different fundraising activities and challenges, from sponsored bike rides and fun runs, to bake sales, Tough Mudders and a three peaks challenge. One staff member in Liverpool even shaved her head, raising over £2,000 alone! Thanks also to concrete detailers AABCO who donated 5% of their drawing fees to our cause.

We didn’t just help Marie Curie with fundraising. We covered the cost of a day’s leave for staff to spend volunteering in Marie Curie shops, helping with gardening and decorating at hospices throughout the country.

This year we were able to help Marie Curie uniquely, too. As part of our employee benefits package, our staff can enjoy holidays in one of our four lodges across the UK. We were pleased to gift the use of our lodges to families supported by Marie Curie affected by bereavement. It was a small gesture we able to do, but from the messages we received from those families, we know it was something that really helped them.

Marie Curie strives to care for people and their families living with a terminal illness. They provide specialist palliative care in hospices or people’s homes 24/7.
At the time of writing, Marie Curie Nurses and frontline care staff are needed more than ever as the NHS feels the strain of the COVID-19 health crisis. Marie Curie’s fundraising activities are grinding to a halt under the lockdown conditions, and they urgently need donations. Please give what you can to their emergency appeal.

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Curtins proposed for city’s highest honour

Date: 26th February 2020

Curtins proposed for city’s highest honour

Curtins is thrilled to be put forward for Liverpool City Council’s Freedom Roll of Association, after 60 years of building the future – and preserving the history – of our home city.

 

Curtins have been proposed for the city’s highest honour for businesses by Mayor Joe Anderson, Lord Mayor Anna Rothery and Chief Exec of Liverpool Council, Tony Reeves.

 

This acknowledgement of Curtins’ contributions to the city comes in our 60th Anniversary year. Today, we operate from 14 locations throughout the UK and Ireland with nearly 450 employees. Looking back to 1960, it all started from the spare room in the Aigburth home of our founder, Bill Curtin.

 

Our conservation work saving Albert Dock in 1982 proved the catalyst for much of Liverpool’s regeneration projects that we have worked on since, including the Festival Gardens site in the 1980s. That’s a project we’re bookending right now, redeveloping the brownfield site to provide 1,500 new homes for the people of Liverpool.

 

Curtins’ Liverpool Director Andy Macfarlane says: “Liverpool has been good to us over 60 years, and it is a privilege to be able to create and preserve the city’s unrivalled skyline. From the full-circle Festival Gardens site to Paddington Village and the Knowledge Quarter, we continue working for the benefit of our employees and our local community. To this day we are proud to call Liverpool our home, maintaining our Headquarters on Tithebarn Street, in the heart of the city’s business district.”

 

Curtins CEO Rob Melling says: “I am incredibly proud to have our business recognised in this way. Our founder, Bill Curtin, believed in nurturing talent, creating opportunity, striving for inclusion and rewarding hard work. Those values still run strong in Curtins today. Our approach to guiding individuals to their full potential throughout their career – as part of our Apprenticeship scheme, our Graduate Academy and our Step Ahead Management Programme has led us to 28th place in the Sunday Times Top 100 companies to work for this year. We pledge to continue what Bill began into the next 60 years, and beyond.”

 

CEO of Liverpool City Council congratulated Curtins on the nomination, saying: “This is the highest accolade the city can bestow on an organisation and is a fitting tribute to Curtins.”

 

 

The honour will be formalised during the next Council meeting and followed by a ceremonial inscribing of our name in the Council Chambers, which will sit alongside organisations such as Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Tate Merseyside and the Hillsborough Families.

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Curtins storm up the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies List

Date: 21st February 2020

Curtins storm up the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies List

Coming in at Number 28, Curtins jumped 13 places in the Sunday Times Top 100 companies to work for at a glamorous ceremony in London’s Battersea Evolution last night.

This is the fifth year Curtins have been recognised in the list, seen as one of the most prestigious compilations of businesses in the UK from across all industries in medium and large size categories.

The List recognises businesses that go above and beyond to engage with their staff and provide an employee experience that has them at the centre.

From company holiday lodges available to all staff to use free of charge, to birthday holidays, to a comprehensive learning and development programme to mental health first aiders in each offices, Curtins has proved once again that it is among the best places to work.

Rob Melling, CEO comments: “I am just as proud today as I was when we first entered the list in 2015. This is an incredible achievement and one we should each share in at Curtins. Employee engagement is not something that is ever done, you don’t ‘tick the box’. It is constantly evolving and I am committed to continuing the work in maintaining the unique culture at Curtins, where each employee matters.”

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Bournemouth student development saved with successful planning appeal

Date: 19th February 2020

Bournemouth student development saved with successful planning appeal

Work on student accommodation that was refused planning permission can now begin, thanks in part to Curtins’ Transport Planning team.

The development site, located off Richmond Gardens near Bournemouth town centre, will comprise purpose-built accommodation blocks totalling 625 bedrooms, flexible retail/coffee shop units, cycle parking, landscaping, public realm improvements and highway works.

A planning application was initially submitted in late 2018. Despite receiving Officer recommendation for approval, it was refused at a Planning Committee meeting in March 2019.

The reasons for refusal included design and massing, the impact on the local conservation area and also the proposed lack of car parking and what this would mean to highway safety and residential parking capacity to the north of the site.

Curtins helped Summix Capital and Sheet Anchor Evolve win the appeal and gain planning consent with car parking surveys and detailed supporting evidence to prove the parking provisions were suitable for the development.

Within the appeal report, the Planning Inspector acknowledged that:

“Not only do students have low car ownership rates, but there is also very limited access to parking on the university campuses, with only disabled students having access to university parking permits. For students, typically in their late teens and early twenties, the university campuses would be within reasonable walking and cycling distance. There would also be good access to public transport.”

Curtins Associate Ben Dawson, who provided evidence at the Planning Appeal Hearing, said:

“We are very happy to have supported this planning appeal and to help achieve a successful result for the Client. Any issue relating to car parking can be contentious, however, with low car ownership rates among students, the sustainable location of the site and the mitigation measures proposed, we were always of the view that we were providing the right amount of car parking for the site.”

For more information on this project please contact Ben Dawson or Curtins’ wider Transport Planning Services.

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Samaritans announced as Curtins Charity of the Year 2020

Date: 31st January 2020

Samaritans announced as Curtins Charity of the Year 2020

We pledge to raise £15,000 to help Samaritans continue supporting people 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

This year we will be supporting Samaritans as our nominated Curtins Care Charity of the Year. Through the partnership, we aim to raise £15,000 in funds, as well as improve awareness about mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Once again we will also offer every staff member the opportunity to donate their time to Samaritans through a Donation Day initiative. It is hoped that the Charity Donation Days will enable staff to take part in activities such as volunteering in high street shops, undertake fundraising activities and even training as a Samaritans volunteer if they choose.

Samaritans’ vision is that fewer people die by suicide. Every six seconds Samaritans respond to a call for help, with 20,000 volunteers across the UK and Republic of Ireland who support people by telephone, email, letter and face-to-face in branches.

 

Rob Melling, Chief Executive at Curtins, says:

“Caring for families, individuals and communities is vitally important to us at Curtins. Every year we pledge to support a worthy charity, chosen by our staff and I’m so pleased that this year we are partnering with Samaritans, who continue to be there for people when they need support the most. 

We have a great track record of raising funds and exceeding our annual fundraising targets, and I am certain that this year will be no exception. Working in the Construction industry, there is a statistically higher risk of mental health challenges and suicide. This is a matter close to our heart.

We are excited to be partnered with the Samaritans to help build awareness and openness to talk within the Construction and Engineering sector. Hopefully, our collaboration can contribute to breaking down the stigma attached to mental health and suicide, encouraging men, in particular, to ask for help if they are struggling or experiencing a difficult time.”

 

Ruth Sutherland, CEO at Samaritans says:

“We look forwarding to working with Curtins and helping staff with their fantastic fundraising efforts in 2020.  With their support, we can promote the power of listening and help more people who are struggling to cope.  

“When someone is feeling overwhelmed, it’s vital that they are listened to and supported to work through difficult thoughts and feelings. Our confidential 24-hour service, available 365 days a year, is often the only place people can turn to, especially when other services are unavailable. Together, we will save lives.”

For more information on Samaritans visit their Website, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

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Curtins Engineer selected for the IStructE National Young Member Panel

Date: 14th January 2020

Curtins Engineer selected for the IStructE National Young Member Panel

Leeds based Project Engineer Niamh McCloskey has been elected on to the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) National Young Member Panel for 2020.

The IStructE is a professional body which provides accreditation for structural engineers in the UK. The panel which Niamh has been selected for represents the views of – and develops initiatives for – IStructE members under 35. It’s made up of 13 qualified members and a chairperson.

The panel also advises on content for IStructE publications and oversees the Young Engineers Conference each year.

Niamh, who joined Curtins in 2014 as a student at our Liverpool office before moving over to Leeds in 2017, brings a wealth of experience and insight to the panel. She is heavily involved in Curtins STEM activities, regularly speaking at secondary schools about her work and encouraging young women to consider engineering careers.

Niamh talks to students at Curtins Inspiring Womens’ Day 2019

Speaking about her panel selection, Niamh says, “I am extremely excited to get started. Hopefully, I can help be a positive voice for not only Curtins but out in the wider industry too. I’m looking forward to all the great things we can create in 2020!”

 

Congratulations, Niamh!

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Introducing our new Director of Transport Planning

Date: 6th January 2020

Introducing our new Director of Transport Planning

We are delighted to announce Alex Vogt will take the role of Director of Transport Planning for Curtins with immediate effect.

Before the new year, Alex had been Head of Transport Planning for our Northern offices. His promotion comes ahead of Tony Dolan’s retirement later this year. Tony established our Transport Planning specialism in 2010, with Alex joining us soon after.

Alex says, “I joined Curtins and the Transport Specialism just under a decade ago. Since then, I have seen it grow from a few individuals in Manchester to a well-established service operating from multiple locations, and on some of the most high profile and exciting projects across the UK and Ireland.

“Curtins enabled me to grow and develop my career, and I have had the pleasure of assisting Tony during this time. I am excited to continue his good work and lead the Transport Planning team as we move forward into the future.”

Tony Dolan will continue in his role as Executive Director until he retires in the Summer.

Congratulating Alex, Tony says, “I have had the pleasure of working with Alex for many years. This promotion reflects his commitment and ability to maintain and grow our Transport Planning business, alongside our other core specialisms. Congrats Alex!”.

Over the past decade, Curtins’ Transport Planning specialism has grown across our 14 offices in the UK and Ireland, providing a comprehensive service to a strong client base and a diverse portfolio of projects.