Students from Leeds East Academy design a new service station

Date: 19th February 2019

Students from Leeds East Academy design a new service station

On 12 February, Andy Saville, Associate in our Leeds office took part in a student design workshop at Leeds East Academy, in conjunction with Ahead Partnership and our involvement at the Leeds Skelton Lakes Service Station.

60 year 10 students from Leeds East Academy were set a business brief to design a service station to suit the Leeds Skelton Lakes site. The students were split into groups of 6, with 2 members of each team taking part in one of three workshops (build, environmental and community considerations). The teams then regrouped and developed their ideas before discussing their scheme with the industrial mentors. 3 outstanding solutions were chosen to present their scheme to the rest of the students and to a panel of judges, where one was chosen to be the overall winner.

The students produced some excellent designs, with very well thought out content. They showed a real focus on sustainability with ideas such as photovoltaic walls, wind turbines and even a hydroelectric plant constructed on Wyke Beck. Benefits to the community also featured heavily in the designs with ideas ranging from a water sports centre and aquarium on Skelton Lake to a community centre with counselling facilities and peace garden.

The judges were especially impressed with the way that the winning team had clearly defined roles, with each member being responsible for a particular aspect of the scheme and every team member equally contributing to a very well detailed presentation.

This is the third workshop we’ve taken part in with Ahead Partnership this year, and we’re looking forward to supporting further activities with them in 2019.

The exciting world of STEM careers at St. Bede’s College

Date: 16th February 2019

The exciting world of STEM careers at St. Bede’s College

Our Project Engineer, Laura Rodriguez Ariza was invited to St. Bede’s College, Manchester in February to give a presentation about her role as a woman in engineering. The school was running an engineering week, which involved bringing STEM professionals into speak to the students about their roles with an aim of encouraging them to pursue STEM careers.

Laura demonstrated the variety of career paths available in engineering and got the students involved in some hands-on activities. As part of the talk, she explained her journey into engineering which began with an Architectural Degree in Spain. After moving to the UK in 2013, Laura changed career and enrolled on a Masters Degree in Structural Engineering. The students were interested to hear about the difficulties of working and studying for a degree in a foreign country, but also the different routes into Engineering offered at Curtins, such as apprenticeships and work experience.

We’re optimistically looking forward to applications for work experience from the students at St. Bede’s all girls school.

Helping to inspire the next generation of Engineers

Date: 6th February 2019

Helping to inspire the next generation of Engineers

Our founder, Bill Curtin believed that young people were the future of Curtins and engineering. His belief still resonates with us today, at a time when the industry is struggling to find sufficient new talent to fill the STEM skills gap. To inspire the next generation to pursue careers in engineering, our Liverpool office has been delighted to welcome a teacher placement from Upton Girls School for the past 5 weeks. Art and Design teacher, Shelagh McNicholas has been spending time with our team to not only find out what career opportunities are available in the industry, but to also advise Curtins on how we can better support STEM activity in schools.

During the 5 placement days, we have introduced the principals of engineering, structural modelling, CAD design, civils and infrastructure, as well as our current ongoing projects. In addition, Shelagh spent time with our non-technical teams including Learning & Development, HR and Marketing for a broader understanding of the types of roles available in the Engineering industry. We hope that the skills Shelagh has learnt during the placement will have been both beneficial to her personal development and to the promotion of STEM careers in schools. Giving teachers the information and confidence to talk about STEM careers will go some way to inspiring the future CEOs of Curtins to enter into rewarding careers in engineering.

For a first-hand account of Shelagh’s placement, including her key learning and advice to us, you can read her blog by clicking here.

Marie Curie nominated as the Curtins Care Charity 2019

Date: 4th February 2019

Marie Curie nominated as the Curtins Care Charity 2019

Every year, our staff select a worthy charity of the year to support. Over time, we have supported more than 25 charities and made a measurable impact towards positive change. In 2018, we more than doubled our target figure for British Heart Foundation by raising a total of £24,234.90.

For 2019, we are proudly supporting Marie Curie, who carry out invaluable work supporting and caring for families living with a terminal illness.

Marie Curie’s vision is for a better life for people and their 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 in Liverpool, London, Solihull, Cardiff, Bradford, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast, providing round-the-clock, specialist care at the heart of communities. Last year, they provided support for more than 50,000 people across the UK.

We hope that our fundraising activities in 2019 can go some way to helping Marie Curie look after people across the UK.

Visit Marie Curie’s website at for more information.

More about our Corporate Social Responsibility here.


Marking LGBT History Month with the #BuildingEquality Network

Date: 1st February 2019

Marking LGBT History Month with the #BuildingEquality Network

It’s LGBT History Month which is celebrated around the world to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public. According to Stonewall, Engineering has one of the lowest rates of LGBT+ workforce in the UK. This situation is significantly more challenging for LGBT+ women since the sector is also dominated by males.

This year we will be involved in two events in Leeds as part of the #buildingequality network, with the aims of advancing towards a more inclusive and diverse industry.

On Wednesday 6th February, Building Equality and Arup and will co-host ‘Building the Future’, a networking event at the Leeds Civic Hall to celebrate and reflect on diversity and inclusion in the construction industry. Amanda McKay, Major Projects Quality Director at Balfour Beatty and trans role model, will be the key note speaker for the night and we will be joined by guests from across the construction industry and associated professions, as well as the Lord Mayor and members of Leeds City Council.

On Thursday 7th February, Building Equality and Arup are co-sponsoring ‘OUTing The Past’ at the Leeds City Museum. The event includes a series of performances and conferences.

If you would like to attend either of these free events as our guests, we would be delighted! Please send contact us here.

#lgbthistorymonth #buildingequality #successforall

Construction begins on £19m Lancaster University expansion

Date: 29th January 2019

Construction begins on £19m Lancaster University expansion

We have worked with Lancaster University for many years, frequently contributing to their projects at various stages as part of our place on their framework. Currently we are working on projects ranging from under £200k to over £18m.

We’re pleased to see that one of our latest projects with them, an £18.8m extension to the University’s Management School, has now started on site. The building is due to be completed for the 2020/21 academic year.

Working alongside Architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Curtins has developed the civil and structural detailed design through to tender stage for the 61,000 sq ft building. Known as the West Pavilion, the new 5-story facility will include three lecture theatres, collaboration space, a reception, multiple offices and an executive teaching suite.

We look forward to seeing the new facilities opened next year.

It’s ‘Curtins’ for heart and circulatory disease

Date: 28th January 2019

It’s ‘Curtins’ for heart and circulatory disease

We’re so pleased to announce that our dedicated team has raised an incredible £25,000 for the British Heart Foundation, our 2018 Charity of the Year.

British Heart Foundation was selected by our staff as the nominated charity for Curtins Care, an in-house initiate to enrich the lives of families, individuals and communities through charitable giving and fundraising. We’ve smashed our ambitious £10,000 target, with our hard-working colleagues raising more than double the planned total.

Curtins’ charitable aim, acting as a front-line ambassador within the engineering sector, is to focus on those less fortunate and to build bridges between cultures and communities, creating a better environment for all.

In 2018, staff across the country took part in a whole range of fundraising activities including endurance challenges, golf days, a London to Paris cycle ride, sponsored runs, walks and bake sales to raise money for life saving research.

Rob Melling, Chief Executive, said, “It’s important to us that we make a measurable impact on our community, so we’re delighted that this year we have exceeded our target fundraising by more than double for this extremely worthy charity.

“The staff in all of our offices have really got stuck into helping raise money – quite literally. Staff from Nottingham were wading through thick mud in an endurance challenge for the cause.

“We hope that the money raised will help contribute to the life-saving research that British Heart Foundation undertakes.”

Hayley Gough, Fundraising Manager at the BHF, added, “We are absolutely thrilled with the amazing total that Curtins have raised for us. It has been a real team effort with colleagues from across the UK getting involved in all kinds of activities. The money raised will help us to fund more life saving research which will help us to end the devastation of heart and circulatory conditions and save lives. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us through the partnership.”

One in four of us in the UK and one in three globally die from heart and circulatory diseases. That’s why the British Heart Foundation funds world-leading research into their causes, prevention, treatment and cure. Advances from our research have saved and improved millions of lives, but heart diseases, stroke, vascular dementia and their risk factors such as diabetes still cause heartbreak on every street. With the public’s support, our funding will drive the new discoveries to end that heartbreak.

For more information on how the BHF works with corporate partners, as well as how your business can get involved, visit

Curtins provides smart engineering solution for unique plane canopy

Date: 24th January 2019

Curtins provides smart engineering solution for unique plane canopy

Work has started on the brand-new £65 million research facility for digital aviation at Cranfield University with support from our Birmingham office.
The new Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) will develop ways for aircraft to monitor, test and upgrade their own systems and structures, as well as looking at the future of the passenger experience from airport through to flight. With extensive experience of working within the higher education sector, we’re providing structural, civil and geo-environmental services for the project.

The team’s main focus has been on the creation of a large canopy that will provide protection for an air-craft whilst making it accessible and aesthetically in-line with the adjacent building.

The canopy and building roofs mirror each other to form matching ‘stealth fighter’ profiles when viewed from above. The roof comprises of two 3D triangular trusses, defining the edge of the roof light and allowing for a grand vaulted ceiling that provides uninterrupted floor space.

The canopy is supported on three inverted V-shape columns with an arrangement of 42 metre trusses which span the distance needed to clear the plane. These trusses support the cantilever arrangement which allows the plane in and out of its new accommodation.

Associate, Matt Woodhall is leading on our design for the project. He said, “This project represents an important investment at Cranfield University, ensuring that it is a leading centre for aviation technology. We are delighted to be providing world-class facilities that will directly and positively impact the aviation industry as we move towards a more automated future.

“The structure of this new research centre is a really interesting structure with a truly unique roof design. The canopy produced needs to be able to house a full-size aircraft, as well as being a functional and cutting edge research facility.”

Collaborative open plan office space operates alongside technical laboratory platforms and research facilities. The double storey atrium provides an informal break out feature, encouraging staff and students to share and engage ideas. The building will house some of the latest aviation technology, from radar equipment to autonomous drones.

Professor Graham Braithwaite at Cranfield University said, “Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) will be a flagship research facility that will help unlock the potential of digital aviation. Working with our partners in DARTeC, we are looking to develop new digital solutions to tackle the challenges of over-capacity in both airports and airspace, develop improved passenger experiences and create more sustainable air travel.”

The building is expected to be completed next year, and open in 2020.

Rhiannon Carss listed as Northern Power Women

Date: 22nd January 2019

Rhiannon Carss listed as Northern Power Women

Today, Northern Power Women released the names of 100 women who have contributed to making a difference in their communities and raising awareness of gender equality across the North of England. We’re extremely proud to announce that our Head of Communications, Rhiannon Carss has been included on the 2019 Future List.

The Future List recognises the influencers and change makers of the future who are already making a difference in their environments and communities. There is also a Power List which celebrates women who challenge the norm and ensure that everyone they work with recognise the benefit of having a gender-balanced workplace.

The 2019 Lists will be celebrated at the fourth Northern Power Women Awards in Manchester on 18 March.

Simone Roche MBE, founder of Northern Power Women said, “I am extremely proud of these role models. They are amazing people doing fantastic work and they deserve every bit of recognition. Without the women on our Future and Power List it would be impossible for us to do what we do across the North. Each person named has played a part in driving forward the NPW agenda and have helped push out the boundaries.”

Rhiannon Carss commented, “It is so important that business leaders and colleagues understand the enormous benefits to society that empowering and inspiring women to fulfil their potential can bring. At Curtins, we have committed to improving the gender imbalance that exists in engineering. I’m proud to be able to contribute to bettering gender diversity.”

Thank you to the NPW sponsors for supporting the hard work of the women and men across the North; Manchester Airports Group, Morson Group, Santander, YBS, NatWest, Liverpool FC, HSBC, MSP Global and EY.

You can read the full story and see the Power and Future Lists here.

Appointed to Homes England Framework

Date: 21st January 2019

Appointed to Homes England Framework

We have been named as one of twenty housing specialists selected by Homes England for their new Multidisciplinary Framework. The new framework will require us to provide technical advice, services and design input that will help Homes England prepare brownfield and surplus public sector land for residential development.

The Multidisciplinary Framework runs from 2019-2023 and commences on 2 February, following a highly competitive OJEU procurement process. We have led the team of design professionals and selected a supply chain that offers a wide spread of specialisms and expertise, across the whole of the UK.

Our Design Team includes national practices and smaller SME’s, who were competitively selected on the basis of their approach and commitment to providing high quality and responsive services. The combined services include civil & structural engineering, infrastructure, transport planning, geo-environmental and geotechnical, architecture, masterplanning, town planning, landscape architecture, mechanical & electrical services, project and cost management, and property consultancy.

Tony Dolan, Executive Director of Curtins, commented, “Curtins are really proud to have been successful on this framework, and to have led a team of organisations with a similar ownership structure, ethos and approach.

“This framework allows Curtins to build upon our previous and on-going work with Homes England. We are looking forward to supporting Homes England in delivering their objectives and being involved in a range of exciting commissions, and with other public sector bodies who can use this framework to speed up their own procurement.”

The framework is open to registered providers, local authorities, healthcare trusts, colleges, schools, higher education providers, and all other government bodies.

During the next four years, the framework will support Homes England in achieving their objectives of accelerating the market by using their resources and influence to positively increase the scale and quality of housing delivery.