façade How façade manufacturer Staticus AB’s strategy of innovation and flexibility has enabled it to grow and evolve

See page 22

Simply the best

Norwich project wins LABC Building Excellence Award

Smart bridge

3D printed bridge designed to span Amsterdam canal

Inspiring space

Project restores grandeur to 18th century London courthouse

© Linzmeier Bauelemente GmbH


Climate Change

through building efficiency

why not?

Buildings are responsible for most CO2 emissions – at least 40% of global energy consumption and over a third of greenhouse gas emissions. In a typical house around 70% of the energy is lost through the roof, outer walls, windows, doors and cellar. Effective polyurethane insulation solutions help to reduce these losses and thus the cost of heating or cooling a building. More efficient buildings can offer economic benefits, reduce environmental impacts and improve people’s quality of life.

contents Chairman Andrew Schofield Editor Libbie Hammond Assistant Editor Will Daynes Art Editor Fleur Daniels Advertising Design Fiona Jolliffe Operations Director Philip Monument Editorial Administrator Emma Crane Editorial Researchers Adam Blanch Mark Cowles Alasdair Gamble Jeff Goldenberg Natalie Griffiths Tarjinder Kaur D’Silva Paul Wayling Managing Director Joe Woolsgrove Sales Mark Cawston Tim Eakins Darren Jolliffe Jonas Junca Dave King Theresa McDonald Rob Wagner Production/ Office Manager Tracy Chynoweth

Schofield Publishing Cringleford Business Centre, 10 Intwood Road, Cringleford, Norwich, NR4 6AU, U.K. Tel: +44 (0)1603 274130

FEATURES 2 Student accommodation Today’s students have a variety of specific requirements, meaning developers have to be thinking out of the box to meet their needs

6 Modular building

10 News Updates and information from the construction and civil engineering market

12 Drainage Fatbergs are huge lumps of congealed fat, sanitary products, condoms and wet wipes and they are costing millions to dispose of


14 it Business information modelling (BIM) has the power to deliver value at every level, right through to the customer

16 case study A stunning transformation has been undertaken at a former 18th century London Courthouse in Clerkenwell in London


company profiles 20 London Stock Exchange Group 22 Staticus UAB 26 Mezzanine International Ltd 30 DMC Contracts 34 Stobart Infrastructure 37 Keller Holding 42 Steeltech Sheds



How a state-of-the-art academy in Slough was delivered several months ahead of programme thanks to offsite technology

14 16

46 Golden Houses Development Ltd 50 ecl CIVIL ENGINEERING LTD

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Student accommodation

Home from

home How do modern methods of construction address today’s student needs asks Stephanie Marshall


n 2015 the market saw a peak in student accommodation development and investment in the UK with the purpose built student accommodation transacting c£5.1bn for over 49,271 beds (Knight Frank, Student Market Review, 2016). Although the market slowed in 2016 to £4.5bn, student accommodation remains one of the hot topics of development in 2017. In Savills’ May 2017 report, 25,000 beds were being


constructed across the UK and transactions are anticipated to reach £5.3bn by year end.

What has changed in the last 36 months for the student accommodation market? The market has seen a large increase in purpose built student accommodation developments across the UK over the last fouryear period, reaching a peak in 2015, letting direct to students

rather than through the standard channels of university halls. The result of this shift in the market has had a number of impacts: l Influx in new developers to the market attracted by the return on investment and UK wide demand for beds, competing with the UK wide market leaders of Unite, UPP, Liberty Living l Increasing construction costs due to UK Wide Tender Price Inflation, buoyant markets in

London and Manchester and labour shortages for traditional trades l Strict planning guidelines, local residence backlash, newly introduced moratoriums and BREEAM standards rising, CIL levels l Complex city centre sites short on space, limited availability of sites generally – high demand for ‘prime locations’, challenging logistics, and maximising of bedroom numbers

l Rising

quality levels driven by a surge in competition in the market place while maintaining value for clients l Competing schemes to be the market leaders - the next ‘big thing’ cinemas, gym, large social spaces, dinner party rooms, saunas etc. l Large injections of investments in the market and universities leading the way with design build finance and operate schemes

Demand has intensified and completion dates are locked down as the start of the academic year leading to a need to build faster, simpler and more economically. This has led the sector to seriously consider pre-fabrication, modular and volumetric construction. Student preferences have remained consistent over the period with a focus on communal and social spaces and good central locations, however the bar has risen on the quality of amenity space available, choice of social spaces, built in technology and high quality, larger bedroom/living spaces. The current range of choice for students has changed from the traditional halls of residence and cluster flat living arrangements to studios, twodios, premium studios and a large variety of cluster bedrooms and town houses. Although halls of residence and cluster flat living remain popular we have experienced an increase in the demand for solo living arrangements as clients look to meet the needs of International, mature and PHD students.

What does the 2017/18 student accommodate market look like for students? With an increase in student accommodation development


Student accommodation

across the UK in Birmingham, Exeter, Guildford, Leeds, Reading, Colchester for 2017 there are many developments to choose from both in and out of town locations. Established markets in Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Durham showcase a number of luxury developments offering students high quality bedrooms focusing on a ‘home from home’ feel, saunas, cinemas, gyms, bars and the like. Although the quality of accommodation available and the student experience have changed dramatically over the period, rental income has not increased at the same rate. This may be due to the increase in supply of student accommodation on the whole, or due to an influx of new developers trying to get a foot hold in the market against some of the well-established outfits of Unite, UPP and Liberty Living. In some locations, there is still a shortage of purpose built student accommodation or university led accommodation with students letting houses of multiple occupation in residential


locations, an example of this is Durham in the North East. In these locations plans are afoot for further development of student accommodation in both the private sector and university led, which seems to be a view supported by planning departments to release much needed family housing in key city centre locations.

What does the 2017/18 student accommodate market look like for developers and universities? Savills’ report in May 2017 stated investment in the sector is predicted to reach £5.3bn. Assuming that there is still an appetite to develop, we believe the key for our clients, developers, funders and universities alike, is making the bottom line stack up financially while providing an efficient route to market to hit strict term time deadlines. This approach has resulted in a change of methodology for a number of developments

utilising various methods of pre-fabrication, modular and volumetric construction in lieu of traditional construction methods, while driving value for money and increasing quality of finish and variety of amenity spaces. Elements of prefabrication, for example pod bathrooms, have become the status quo for student accommodation projects. Precast concrete and Steel Frame System solutions, widely used in the construction market generally have only recently been adopted by the student accommodation sector to speed up construction and mitigate risk of delay at completion of the project in lieu of previously favoured traditional brick, block and timber construction. There are examples of volumetric construction being utilised to construct large schemes in relatively short programmes; for example, 1200 bedrooms for Newcastle University. Although a relatively new technique for student accommodation this form of construction has been widely

used in the hotel sector for many years; for example, Travelodge Uxbridge in 2008. This type of innovation in construction could be the difference between a scheme which is viable and one which is not. There is an additional challenge for those student accommodation providers who developed schemes five to 15 years ago. Due to the shift in the level of quality and expectations of students today, interiors, decoration and amenity spaces are thought to be outdated. For those clients wishing to update a development the quandary comes – where do you house your existing students in the mean time? Can the refresh be undertaken in the summer period or are there more wholesale changes required? Do you give up a year’s income to undertake the works, as well as fund the capital costs? This sets a new challenge for the professional teams and contractors working on student accommodation projects – can the client save a year on the

construction programme to gain a year of rental income? What is the price for this offset of investment vs. capital cost? Is there a large enough supply chain to meet an increase in demand? Can we plan sufficiently enough ahead to refurbish existing schemes in the down period without risking not completing on time? This is fast becoming the acid test for our clients as they rush to the market to meet demand and see off the stiff competition, protecting their asset.

So, what is the plan? In order to meet the demands of the sector, professional teams and contractors will need to be responsive, innovative and collaborative. In order to provide cost certainty for clients early in the process, to reinforce development appraisals and secure funding, benchmarking data and knowledge of the market becomes a necessity. Clients will look to their teams to provide a plan to develop and complete their next

development in the shortest programme available, providing value for money and certainty of completion, not always an easy equation to crack in this busy marketplace. If the last two to three years are anything to go by, I think we are in for a fast paced, innovative and challenging few years. The big question is, what do the next generation of students expect from their accommodation? Only time will tell.

Stephanie Marshall is an Associate Director at Turner & Townsend, an independent professional services company specialising in programme management, project management, cost and commercial management and advisory services across the real estate, infrastructure and natural resources sectors. With 104 offices in 44 countries, Turner & Townsend draws on extensive global and industry experience to manage risk while maximising value and performance during the construction and operation of clients’ assets. For more information, please see


Modular building


times Raymond Millar looks at the design and offsite construction of a new state-of-the-art academy in Slough and how it was delivered several months ahead of programme


ynch Hill Enterprise Academy is a £20m education campus and one of the largest ever modular schools to be built in the UK. It demonstrates a number of new innovations which contributed to its early completion – an unprecedented


17 weeks ahead of programme, giving this new free school the benefit of even earlier occupation. Lynch Hill is a 1140-place academy specialising in science, technology, engineering and maths, and was built by principal contractor and offsite specialist, The McAvoy Group for the

Learning Alliance Academy Trust. In recognition of its success, the project has already been shortlisted for five industry awards. Designed by Blue Sky Architects and funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), this three-storey 8750m2 building is an exemplar

offsite education project which has a design inspired by the Harvard Business School. The design for Lynch Hill was initially developed for another site and then had to be adapted for a second and final brownfield site. The build programme had to accommodate extensive

demolition works, asbestos removal, the construction of a new sports stadium adjacent to Lynch Hill, restricted site access, and the school’s first intake of pupils who were located in temporary buildings also on the site. Construction had to be phased to allow early handover of the

sports hall and changing facilities for use by the school.

Design Criteria The design brief set out a number of important criteria, all within the ESFA’s available budget, which the project successfully met. l It had to facilitate the exchange


Modular building

of knowledge with business and encourage a sense of enterprise among students, thereby helping to bridge the skills gap for local companies. l It had to create an environment for collaborative learning and mentoring, and provide good visibility as part of the school’s anti-bullying strategy. l It had to have excellent acoustic performance l Community access was required to the sports facilities.

Externally there is a landscaped area and social space which form a large arrival plaza at the front of the school. This creates a sense of place and identity for the academy and encourages informal gatherings with its planting and seating. There are outdoor teaching spaces, a soft landscaped study garden, social area, multi-use games areas, and a sports pitch.

A design to encourage collaborative learning

Lynch Hill demonstrates a number of technical advancements in offsite construction. Larger 15.6m long modules and a new lifting system were specially engineered by McAvoy for the project which reduced time, transport and installation costs and further improved construction efficiency. Some of the steel-framed modules were pre-clad offsite in the factory to further reduce time on site. The use of a McAvoy offsite solution also removed the need for storage of large volumes of building materials on the site, helping to address the issue of restricted access. Around 65 per cent of the building’s construction was completed offsite, radically reducing any disruption to teaching. One hundred and fortysix modules were installed with doors, windows, ironmongery, internal walls, plumbing, electrics and joinery already in place. This approach reduced the build programme to just 53 weeks. The build programme was around six months less compared to site-based construction for a school of this scale.

The school is designed around four large multi-functional central spaces which help to maximise natural light and encourage interaction and collaborative learning. The use of inspirational messages and bold colours throughout reflects the academy’s ethos of enterprise, aspiration and achievement. The building features an impressive full-height glazed entrance, a striking timber colonnade with brise soleil sunshading, and a palette of materials which includes render and timber-effect rainscreen cladding to harmonise the scheme in its semi-rural location.

Outstanding educational facilities Offsite construction was used for the curriculum wing. Facilities include science laboratories, ICT suite, SEN hub, studios for music, drama and art, areas for informal learning, sixth form study and social space, kitchen and café. An enterprise exchange runs through the core of the building on two levels to facilitate collaboration with local businesses. There is a four-court sports hall and a main hall with retractable seating which were constructed using a fast-track steel system. The sports hall can be separated and secured from the rest of the school out of hours.


Technical advancements in offsite construction

The client perspective Phil Clarke, Project Manager for the Lynch Hill scheme at the Education and Skills Funding Agency said: “The main driver for offsite construction for this project was speed – and to see a building of this scale constructed

so quickly was amazing. The McAvoy construction team was fantastic and demonstrated a high level of skill and flexibility. “The combination of steelframed construction and the offsite solution works really well and is seamless. You would never know this was a modular build. This is an outstanding secondary school scheme.” Gillian Coffey, Executive Head Teacher at Lynch Hill said: “This new academy has been developed to address a severe shortfall in school places in Slough. The facilities are terrific and the children are enjoying a fantastic new learning environment and the benefits of cutting edge design. The building works very well to optimise the space, to provide excellent acoustic performance and high levels of natural light, and to futureproof the needs of the children. “The speed of offsite construction was the biggest benefit of the approach on this project. To build a school of this scale over two floors and using a state-of-the-art design within a year is amazing. The solution has

worked very well for Lynch Hill and we have had such positive feedback from both parents and staff.”

Digitising construction BIM was valuable for the Lynch Hill project, allowing design plans to be reviewed for clash detection of services with the modular structure. This helped to ensure seamless construction and removed the need for additional site works. BIM allows processes to be streamlined to help deliver better decision making at the earliest possible stages in the life of a project. Going forward, the increased use of BIM will deliver shorter design periods, giving schools the benefit of reduced risk and even earlier occupation. It also allows all of the necessary technical data for the building assets to be embedded into models. This enables the estates team to have all information needed for maintenance available in the best possible way. Since the inception of Lynch Hill, McAvoy now offers virtual reality technology which is

particularly valuable for education schemes to enhance stakeholder collaboration. Teaching staff can now be ‘put into’ a virtual building and have the opportunity to ‘walk around’ the building at the earliest design stage to feel and experience its functionality, assess usability, circulation, layouts and adjacencies. This is hugely beneficial for stakeholder engagement, further streamlining the design process, and facilitating more informed decision making.

Raymond Millar is Construction Director of The McAvoy Group, one of the UK’s leading offsite construction specialists. An independent, family-owned business and an established principal contractor, McAvoy has been providing bespoke offsite solutions and interim modular buildings for more than 40 years. It delivers fast-track projects of the highest quality for the health, education, commercial and infrastructure sectors, with less impact on the environment and greater assurance of completion on time and on budget. For more information, please see



Success for innovative Norfolk project

Crossing the digital frontier MX3D, an Amsterdam-based start-up, has been tasked with 3D printing a 12-metre long stainless steel pedestrian bridge that will be installed across one of Amsterdam’s canals in the city centre by late 2018. The company will also join forces with a consortium of mathematicians, IoT specialists and engineers from Autodesk, The Alan Turing Institute and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS) to develop a smart sensor network to monitor the bridge’s health in real time and monitor how it changes over its lifespan. The sensors will collect structural measurements such as strain, displacement and vibration, and will measure environmental factors including air quality and temperature. The data collected will then be input into a ‘digital twin’ of the bridge, which will help to provide valuable insights to inform designs for future 3D printed metallic structures. It will also enable the current 3D bridge to be modified to suit any required changes in use, ensuring it is safe for pedestrians under all conditions.

Tartan transformation Plans to deliver a transformative project in the heart of Glasgow, known as the ‘Avenues’ project, have moved a step closer with the award of a £1.8 million contract to civil and structural engineers, Civic Engineers. The transformation of the ‘Avenues’ seeks to dramatically improve the quality of the city centre environment. Focusing on seven key city-centre thoroughfares, the aim of the project is to improve connectivity, introduce sustainable green infrastructure through attractive streetscapes and enhancing biodiversity, protect space for cyclists and pedestrians, improve the way public transport is accommodated and transform the perceptions of the city for all those who live, work and visit. The project is supported by the £1.13 billion Glasgow City Region City Deal, which has funding of £115 million for Glasgow projects. Civic Engineers have been appointed to lead the multidisciplinary design team who will take the project from concept design and public consultation through to developed design stage. They will be working with design practice Urban Movement and the Social Value Consultancy who will focus on being able to measure and demonstrate the social, economic, health and environmental benefits of the introduction of the scheme. The project gets underway in November and it is planned to complete in 2022. Founding Director of Civic Engineers, Stephen O’Malley said: “The ‘Avenues’ project is an ambitious, forward thinking initiative which will transform the streetscapes of the city centre. Our considerable experience, working alongside companies such as Urban Movement and Social Value Consultancy, means we have the experience to deliver public realm improvements that bring real economic, social and environmental benefits and ultimately help to deliver a healthier city centre for Glasgow.”


It was a very successful night at the Westminster Park Plaza for all those connected with the Carrowbreck Meadow project in Hellesdon, Norwich. It was here that the project was awarded the title of Best High Volume New Housing Development at the Grand Final of the 2017 LABC Building Excellence Awards. A panel of experts judged a list of the highest quality projects to reward the best in technical innovation, sustainability and design. Carrowbreck has been designed and delivered by certified Passivhaus architects at Hamson Barron Smith (HBS) for Broadland Growth Ltd (BGL). It has been described as a contemporary rendition of a typical ‘Norfolk style’ – defined by a number of references to the historic barn vernacular incorporating white render, black stained timber cladding, and either slate or plain red roof tiles.

Blu is the colour blu-3, the specialist multiutility and civil engineering company, has been awarded a third phase of works as part of one of Ireland’s largest construction projects to build a new data centre for a global social media organisation. Located on the outskirts of Dublin, the build is expected to cost 225 million euros and covers a 256-acre site. Once complete, the facility will be powered entirely by renewable energy and will be one of the world’s most advanced data centres.

Turning the corner A UK patent has been awarded to an innovative new castin rubber gasket corner joint system designed to reduce the risk of segment cracking during tunnel construction. Developed by VIP Polymers Ltd, the new ‘compliant compressible corner’ ensures delivery of consistent load performance along the entire perimeter of the tunnel segment gasket (TSG). This eliminates the risk

of a build-up of pressure at one or more of the gasket’s corners during installation, which could potentially contribute to segment cracking during installation. Steve Casey, VIP’s Sales and Technical Director, said: “We are delighted that the innovative design and manufacture of our new compressible corner joint, which is used across our entire cast-in gasket range, has been recognised with a UK patent.

An international patent is also pending. Segment cracking during tunnelling operations is a significant cause for concern for both tunnel designers and tunnelling contractors. It is this concern we directly sought to address when we set out to design this new corner joint. “Our innovation has been very favourably received within the tunnelling industry, and has already been used in a number of tunnel-building projects, with excellent results. VIP’s design has already been specified for use in future tunnelling projects. Excellent test results we’ve witnessed, through to the positive feedback received from within the tunnelling industry, are testament to the hard work and collaborative effort put in by everyone at VIP.”

The new Taktis Technology Platform from Kentec protects Durham University’s luxury student complex of apartments, studios and recreational facilities

Safety guaranteed The highly reputable Taktis fire detection and alarm technology solution by Kentec has been adopted by a new luxury student accommodation development in the heart of historic Durham. Ernest Place is a complex of five and six bed apartments and studios situated ten minutes away from the city’s centre and its university. Leading specialists MRM Solutions have opted for an open protocol system built around the new Taktis Technology Platform - a fire safety system comprising three 8 loop Taktis networked fire control panels, one in each accommodation block, plus a Vision repeater using Hochiki ESP protocol that is connected to primarily Hochiki smoke and sounder beacon bases (VADs). Kentec’s Taktis fire detection and alarm system features the latest in hardware and software to produce a control and indication system that is powerful and sophisticated. Available in 2-8 loop or 2-16 loop versions, and certified to EN54-2 and EN54-4, Taktis is considered to be well suited for installation within larger buildings.



Fatberg ahead Why fatbergs are no laughing matter. By Richard Leigh


t the time of writing, ‘Fatty McFatberg’ found in Whitechapel, east London is the biggest fatberg that has ever been recorded. The gigantic fatberg weighs approximately 130 tonnes, blocks a 250-metre stretch of sewer and is about the same size as two football pitches. Fatbergs represent the dark underbelly of living in major cities across the world. And it is not a coincidence that London, one of the largest and most populous cities on the planet, holds consecutive records for finding and excavating the biggest fatbergs. Over the course of this article we will explain why fatbergs are a menace, why modern day society is to blame, how to remove a fatberg, and the pressures it exerts on drainage as a whole.


Sinister fatbergs Fatbergs are no laughing matter. They are huge lumps of congealed fat, sanitary products, condoms and wet wipes. They are made up of all the things that don’t break down when you flush them down the toilet or pour them into your sink. They are commonly found in major cities such as London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Sydney and New York, where the stress on the city’s sewage network are far greater than in rural areas. Besides from being totally disgusting, fatbergs have an alarming impact on sewage and the surrounding infrastructure in which they are formed. They have the potential to completely block drainage systems, preventing waste from getting to facilities for treatment and purification. In some cases, when they get big enough, fatbergs can cause

raw sewage to spill out from our sewers onto street level. They also cost millions to manage and excavate. According to Thames Water, the utilities company spends approximately £1 million a month taming these underground beasts. It’s the same in the US, with the mayor of New York City saying they’ve spent $18 million on excavating fatbergs over the last five years.

Is modern society to blame? Blocked drains and clogged sewers are a problem as old as the sewers themselves. Many cultures adopted different approaches to tackling the issue, with the Romans sending slaves into the depths of their sewers, to clean and remove blockages. The fatberg issue has only really escalated as our society

has modernised and grown. As mentioned previously, fatbergs are born when grease, fat or oil is tipped down a sink and when wet wipes are flushed down a toilet. Unlike toilet paper, wet wipes do not break down when flushed down the loo. Instead when you put the two together, you have the perfect conditions to make a baby fatberg. In London, large portions of the sewage system are from the Victorian-era and with London’s population continuing to grow, our sewage systems just can’t keep up. When you analyse the areas where fatbergs have formed and have been excavated, a pattern begins to emerge. In Whitechapel, where ‘Fatty McFatberg’ was excavated, a large proportion of fast-food restaurants failed to have a grease trap installed or adequately set up to capture excess grease and fat from cooking and food. Thames Water surveyed hundreds of restaurants across the capital. And according to its data, as much as 90 per cent of restaurants don’t have adequate systems in place. This information comes as little surprise to Stephen Pattenden, Thames Water’s sewer network manager. He said: “We’re not suggesting anyone pours the contents of a fat fryer down the drain, but it’s more about the gunk that comes from dirty plates, pots and pans.” He added: a “simple, well maintained grease trap” was enough to prevent kitchen waste from entering sewers.

How to remove a fatberg Removing a fatberg from a sewer is a big job and requires a lot of manpower, specialist machinery and above all, a very strong stomach. First, the fatberg and the surrounding sewers must be surveyed to identify the scale of the problem, how far it has spread and the mass of the fatberg. This is usually done with CCTV

surveying technology, which provides HD quality pictures. Once the survey is completed, project managers put together a plan and a team to tackle the mass of rubbish the old fashioned way - with shovels and other digging equipment. Sometimes, it’s difficult to cut through with a shovel, so you need top-of-theline jet vacuumation equipment to cut through the tougher to remove chunks of fatberg. Bits of the fatberg are then carried to the surface and placed into waste disposal tanker to be shipped to recycling facility for processing. Some fatbergs even get turned into biofuel.

Drainage and trenchless technology Removing fatbergs is only part of the story when companies like Lanes for Drains come in to remove fatbergs. More than often, the sheer size, weight and volume of a fatberg can actually damage sewage systems. In the case of the 2013 fatberg found in Kingston upon Thames, once the fatberg had been excavated, it took engineers six weeks to actually repair the surrounding sewage system. This a huge undertaking and requires the expertise of workers from a wide range of disciplines, including civil engineers. Usually, in a project like this, civil engineers would be forced to rip up an entire street corner, to access the damaged area. But trenchless technology has changed this.

In particular, Cured-InPlace-Piping (CIPP) UV lining technology rehabilitates sewage facilities from 225mm to 2500mm in diameter. The technique involves inserting a piper layered with a special type of resin into the sewer or drain. Once inside, the liner is turned inside out by the operator and is forced through using water or air pressure. An ultraviolet light train then dries the resin in the pipe, binding the pipe together, fixing the problematic pipe or sewer system without the need for excavation.

Remember, bin it, don’t flush it If you’re looking for a key takeaway from this article, please let it be ‘Bin it, don’t flush it’. By changing the behaviour of people when it comes to dropping wet wipes, fats, oils and grease down the toilet or your sink, we hope the number fatbergs and broken or damaged sewers beneath our feet begin to disappear.

Richard Leigh is Group Development Director, Lanes for Drains. Lanes for Drains has been fighting fatbergs since 1992. The company offers 24/7 responses to drainage emergencies with removal, rehabilitation and renewal as well as consultancy and waste management services. Recently, Lanes for Drains has launched their ‘Fatberg Fighters’ campaign, which is set to help young children understand the problems our sewage facilities face when disposing of wet wipes and FOG incorrectly. For more information, please see





Callum Tasker takes a look at Business Information Modelling and discusses how the industry is entering the era of collaboration


he construction industry has firmly entered an era of connection and collaboration, with technology radically changing the way buildings and products are designed, managed and used. It is also helping to shape everything from planning processes, to project supply chains – enabling greater productivity, reducing costs and encouraging an age of information sharing. Business Information Modelling (BIM) is an example of this in action, supporting collaboration at every stage of construction and at all levels of the build supply chain; from initial design, to execution and maintenance. Seventyseven per cent of construction and engineering companies now believe that BIM will play a significant role within the industry in the future (National BIM Report,


2016), and along with benefits ranging from cost savings to improved safety processes – does it signal a new digital age for construction?

Driven by demand

Below: Callum Tasker

BIM is a technology which promotes more efficient and collaborative working practices, changing the way buildings are planned, constructed and managed. In brief, it focuses on producing an intelligent 3D model, accessible to all those involved in a build – from the architect and engineering teams, to contractors and facility managers – allowing them to work collaboratively and efficiently on a project from beginning to end. Its initial uptake has been assisted by the Government’s plan to modernise the construction sector, with a ruling that Level 2 BIM must be employed on all

Government projects of £5 million plus. Alongside the Government’s targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment by 50 per cent, BIM is expected to play an integral part in all major future UK builds. Its digital design holds more information than any other drawing or CAD system, going beyond basic measurements, providing complex data on every aspect of a building, from its fire rating to its energy outputs. Adopting a BIM approach can not only bring predictability to a project, but can also save time and money, by removing wasteful processes and providing detailed information to allow for more informed decisions to be made at the right time. It allows users to see the full scope of a build, making details of every building component available in one shared place;

this includes data on spaces, systems, products and sequences. It can even detect potential conflicts, preventing build errors, while allowing for better risk management and planning – avoiding costly mistakes and build delays.

Building with BIM In the UK, BIM is not a new concept – however, it is only in recent years, and with the Government’s support, that adoption and awareness of its benefits have increased. A recent survey also revealed that in a year’s time, 86 per cent of construction professionals expect to be using BIM on at least some of their projects; a figure that soars to 97 per cent in five years (National BIM Report, 2016). An example of its success has been demonstrated by water management systems firm, ACO;

one of the first to market in the drainage sector to deliver its product data via BIM. The team committed to BIM in 2013, and today, BIM files are downloaded daily by its users, accelerating the business by up to two years ahead of companies that have been slower to respond. And whilst the UK is led by its government directive, ACO’s global sister companies are now also requesting files; a direct result of an increase in demand.

Being BIM ready BIM is unlikely to dramatically alter the build landscape overnight, with the software - which requires a major initial financial investment – meaning that adoption amongst small businesses remains minimal. Its relative newness also means there are limited experts in the field, making investment into staff training and education essential

if BIM is to be accepted and adopted by all within a business or project; a vital component if it is to be used to its full potential. Arguably, BIM is not just a modern technology; it is a better way of working, creating value from collaboration and data sharing, and for it to be successful in practice, adoption is needed from all those involved in a build supply chain. Its widespread use could signal the end of projects running over budget and over schedule; two of the biggest hindrances in construction. The process of designing a building collaboratively using an intelligent, 3D model-based process, rather than a set of drawings, is hailed by many as the future for mainstream project delivery. By cutting out long work processes, and by providing greater clarity over a project, BIM has the power to deliver value at every level – right through to the customer.

Callum Tasker is Operation Director at CMO. As the launch site for CMO, Roofing Superstore (first to market in its field), is today recognised as the UK’s largest online roofing merchant. This business model has since been replicated for subsequent sister sites, Drainage Superstore and Insulation Superstore. By combining its successful model with trusted, bespoke, web-based application, a proven track record in the business of construction and over 47,000 building supplies products across specialist construction disciplines, the company satisfies modern consumer demands for a smarter, online solution to purchasing building materials. For more information, please see




space A former 18th century London courthouse in Clerkenwell has been beautifully brought back to order



riginally known as the Middlesex Sessions House, The Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell, London was once the biggest and busiest courthouse in England. Built in 1779 by architect Thomas Rogers, it earned a reputation for harsh sentencing: in one year alone, 200 convicts were transported to Australia, and scores of prisoners were sent from its dungeon to their deaths before it finally closed as a magistrates’ court in the 1920s. The building’s prominence in Victorian London also saw it referenced in Charles Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’ as the magistrate the title character was taken to following his arrest for pickpocketing alongside the Artful Dodger.



Now the building has undergone a transformation, costing close to £15 million, and has been launched back to the market as one of the most intriguing new sites to meet, eat, drink and work in the capital.

Five-year restoration The main building spans three floors and includes a 20-metretall grand dome modelled after the Pantheon in Rome, two old courtrooms and former judges’ rooms spaces. These spaces will host a principal tenant – either a unique headquarters building or a members’ club concept – that will be carefully selected to complement the space and the surrounding neighbourhood. On the top floor, the former judges’ dining room will become an intimate restaurant, terrace and wine bar. On the ground floor, the former dungeons will become part of the public offering,


hosting an eclectic mix of food and drink vendors amongst the prison cells remains, including cell bars, prisoners’ staircases and Portland stone cornices. The restoration has taken five years, overseen by architects, Feilden+Mawson. Expert craftspeople from across the UK were brought in to ensure that the building’s historic features have been either preserved or painstakingly replicated in keeping with the building’s opulence. The patina of aged stone and plasterwork throughout is a reminder of the building’s long, storied history. The cast iron railings are original, as are the authentic 19th century hallway lanterns. Meanwhile, handmade doors mirror the style of the originals and custom-made Victorian and Georgian fireplaces dot the space. Touches of antique brass and bronze has been used throughout for greater majesty.

The sympathetic redevelopment of the 35,000 sq ft Grade II* listed building has been led by brothers Ted and Oliver Grebelius at Satila Studios, who purchased the property in 2013 with the intention of bringing the landmark property into the 21st century as an all-day destination, with a mix of public and private spaces. The brothers will also be running the top floor (former judge’s dining room) restaurant.

Grand character Global real estate advisors, Colliers International has been instructed to let the property for £65 per sq ft for retail and leisure space and £75 per sq ft for office/ private members space. Ted Grebelius at Satila Studios said: “While London is one of the most forward looking cities in the world, its rich history plays a major role in making it one of the

most exciting and unique places to live and work. We absolutely fell in love with the intriguing history behind The Old Sessions House and the way it proudly stands in an otherwise very contemporary, vibrant area of London. “A great deal of historic features needed restoring and repairing, with some areas virtually untouched for over 100 years. We wanted to restore its historic character and grandeur, whilst also making it practical for modern use as a place for work and leisure. “Only now the restoration is complete are we inviting potential tenants to come in and tell us their ideas. The building has a strong background as a meeting place and we would love to see that re-established.” For more information, please see


1000 Companies to inspire europe

A dynamic


The London Stock Exchange Group has officially launched the second edition of its landmark 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe report


he report, sponsored by AFME and IBM, and produced in association with Elite, showcases Europe’s most inspiring and fast growing small and medium-sized companies, with the overall aim to highlight the importance of SMEs to the future of the European economy and share this message with as wide an audience as possible.


As Xavier Rolet KBE, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group explained in his introduction to the comprehensive report – it is more than just a celebration of successful companies, rather it demonstrates just how these businesses are the best hope for future European growth and job creation. In the postBrexit European economy, their prospects couldn’t be more vital. The report also includes

nine Forewords supplied by experts and covering a range of topics, from Improving Access to Capital Markets to Blockchain. It also includes eight Expert Commentaries, written by amongst others, Wim Mijs, Chief Executive of the European Banking Federation, and Jonás Fernández MEP, Member, Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, European Parliament, S&D. The articles discuss the importance of SMEs to the success of the EU, and look at how essential the right investment approaches and strategies are to their survival and growth.

are excluded, as are Companies whose parent is incorporated in a foreign country l Independent company or consolidated group revenues must be between €20m and €300m, based on latest filings. Companies that have been incorporated within the past four years are excluded (i.e. after 1 January 2013) l Each company’s compounded annual growth rate of the turnover is calculated over a three-year period (based on three sets of accounts for years 2013, 2014 and 2015). Any company with over 20 per cent deterioration in net assets over the three year period is excluded

Country weighting

The methodology The list was created by Bureau van Dijk, a provider of Amadeus, a database of comparable financial information for public and private companies across Europe, which combined key financial performance indicators of European businesses. Those entered on the list must conform to a variety of criteria, including: l Companies must be active, private and registered in the European Union (EU 28) l Public limited companies, Private limited companies and Partnerships entities are all considered l Investment vehicles and funds are excluded, as are charities and non-profit organisations. Companies whose Global Ultimate Owner is a Public authority, State or Government

Having identified the long list, the eligible companies were then separated into their country of incorporation. Within each country, the companies are ranked by their individual revenues compounded annual growth rate; and those that have most outperformed within their country are identified. The list is split among the EU 28 countries according to every country’s contribution to the EU GDP. In his foreword Xavier notes that while EU GDP has rebounded recently, moving back towards pre-crisis levels, there remain some serious underlying structural problems in European economies. Youth unemployment in the EU is around 20 per cent and traditional sources of European job creation have dried up. In contrast to these figures, the growth companies in the LSEG 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe report boast a two-year job creation rate of 43 per cent and an incredibly impressive three-year average annual compound growth rate of over 100 per cent. LSEG’s selection criteria also requires these companies to have

outperformed their sector peers. In Xavier’s words: ‘These companies clearly highlight the potential of European SMEs to drive European economic recovery post-Brexit’.

The Report The report itself is divided into seven sections – Technology, Food & Drink, Manufacturing & Engineering, Consumer Services, Professional Services, ELITE and Green. The largest sector represented is Manufacturing and Engineering (at 20 per cent) followed by Food and Drink (at 11 per cent), pointing to a rich and varied community of SMEs throughout Europe. According to the Report, competitiveness in the manufacturing and engineering sector is being tackled head-on by the Europe 2020 initiative, the EU’s agenda for growth and jobs for the current decade. Whichever of the myriad of sub-sectors they operate in, manufacturing and engineering companies that remain agile and open to investing in new ideas and technology are likely to be at the forefront of the market.

Sector at a glance • 22 million - jobs in the manufacturing sector in the EU

• 15.4% of total employment across the EU is in the manufacturing sector

• 21% of the EU’s GDP is provided by the manufacturing sector

London Stock Exchange Group Product: Landmark report into European SMEs 21

profile: Staticus UAB


façade forward Staticus UAB is the leading producer of façades in Lithuania, specialising in construction projects around the Scandinavian and Baltic regions


he word façade is derived from the French word for face. While understandably often associated with the front of a building a façade can be installed on any side using a variety of materials such as glass, wood and aluminium for both aesthetic and practical purposes, such as insulation and additional protection


against the elements. Staticus has been involved in this kind of installation work since 2003. Originally the company focused mostly on Lithuania as CEO Tomas Astrauskas explains: “We were mainly known in Lithuania up until 2008 during the time of the economic crisis. At that point exports only made up 4.4 per cent of total turnover.” It was during this challenging time that the company decided

to pursue foreign sales and Tomas is clear about its major selling point: “Our sales strategy was ‘everything under one roof’ and that all material production would be made in the factory in Vilnius. We looked for local ‘ambassadors’ in different countries, learning about their culture, legal frameworks and political situation,” he outlined. The strategy quickly began to pay off: “Soon enough the first

Norway and the Skanegatan building complex in Gothenburg, Sweden. Comprising of 8550 square metres of galvanised steel thermos-profiles, the design was so impressive that the company received the gold medal in the Lithuanian Product of the Year in 2015.

Facing forward

new orders started to come through from Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Iceland and Latvia and our team repaid our client’s faith with a passion and willingness to work,” he states. This push resulted in a massive expansion as Staticus opened new branch offices in Norway and Sweden in 2009 before establishing a base in the UK in 2013, resulting in high profile construction commissions including the Hub Hotel in

The main product that the company specialises in is unitised façade systems. These can include prefabricated insulated walls made from materials including rock wool, wind-proof gypsum and steam insulation film. The panels can be fitted two or three times quicker than other forms as this also means these can be mounted and fitted at a lower cost. There are also practical benefits, such as ventilated façades that can be used to reduce noise while frameless glass can trap heat in order to produce a positive ‘greenhouse effect’ while doubleskin or ‘green’ façades utilise a second sheet in a similar way to double glazing in order to further increase the energy efficiency of a building while also helping to guard against precipitation, wind and dust. Staticus can also point to the fact that it is ISO 14001, ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001 and Chas Accredited, covering a number of needs in terms of effective environmental management, proper working practices as well as the necessary accreditation for health and safety. This is important because the wrong choice of material can result in severe health issues such as headaches or asthma, so it is vital that any façade installed does so with these factors in mind while sustaintability is an increasingly important concern that manufacturers need to address. One of the main appeals of its services according to Tomas is how much is ready before construction begins: “The materials can be put together and prefabricated in

the factory. Essentially only ten per cent of the façade is formed on the construction site and effectively the dimensions of these elements are limited only by the transportation capacity of the site,” Tomas insists. The company also benefits from partnerships including PEAB and AF Gruppen and Tomas believes that the organisation brings a lot to the table: “We strive to come on board early as project consultants, so that we can look at the architect’s vision and match it as close to reality as possible. We also have strong professional engineers and efficient research and development departments,” he outlines. As part of this commitment Staticus recently held an open house conference entitled ‘Education Through Partnership’ including talkers such as Grape Architects’ Master of Architecture Maren Bjerkeng, Skanska Category Manager Marcus Alvergren, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Partner Daniel Pfanner Head of Façade Engineering at Bollinger & Grohmann Consulting GmbH and Thomas Henriksen, Global Head of Façade Engineering at Mott Macdonald. Together the experts discussed a range of issues including the development of the city of Oslo, developing partnerships in business and future façade technologies, further cementing its collaborative credentials and actively adding to the debate around issues in the construction industry in a positive way.

Edge Tomas has a clear idea of how Staticus competes in an often difficult global marketplace: “We benefit from the ability to design non-standard or even completely new solutions. In order to meet our client’s demands it takes an extraordinary degree of concentration and creativity and this is why it helps that we can produce everything in-house, so that the customer does not


Architect: Dark Arkitekter Fabricator: Staticus Photo: Š Hufton+Crow

WICONA offers solutions that are adapted to the most sophisticated, international requirements in terms of energy and performance. Its service provision is exceptional and it offers maximum flexibility, making it the ideal partner for urban planners, construction authorities, architects and aluminium joiners from across the world. As a key player in the construction industry, we are driven to provide the market with new ways to build, by placing people at the heart of the discussion.

Let´s build together the city of the future

profile: Staticus UAB

have to worry about putting the different parts of the product together themselves,” he says, clearly proud of what the company offers. The statistics also reflect this with turnover increasing from 17 million euros in 2010 to 45.5 million euros in 2016: “We managed to achieve our growth of turnover organically, using a fair and logical sales approach with a balanced production capacity,” he elaborates. As it expands into more countries Staticus has had to adapt as necessary: “While researching and dipping our toes into other markets it became clear we needed to be flexible in our approach. For example over time we have become well

known in Scandinavia where we are considered a reliable partner whereas in the UK we are only taking our baby steps and the competition is a lot fiercer. Other aspects that can affect performance include rivals from Europe and Asia, political, economic and legal factors such as Brexit as well as social factors such as working conditions for workers,” he lists. Like a lot of companies Staticus has a plan for the years ahead: “Our vision for 2017-2020 is to be at the forefront of the façade industry and to match our partner’s smart building concepts. This can be achieved through professionalism, passion for engineering, constant innovation and effective management. To achieve this, we have invested in new production technology in

order to increase our productivity, improve the development of the engineering process and ensure the growth of smart and sustainable business, we are also offering a consultation service that can help fulfil the practical needs of our investors,” he visualises, detailing the steps necessary to achieve the company’s ambitions. This is part of an exciting time and with this dedicated approach Staticus’ partners, lovers of architecture and people who use the buildings it contributes toward will all benefit, even if those who do gain from this are not necessarily aware of it.

Staticus UAB Services: Award winning façade producer from Lithuania


profile: Mezzanine International Ltd

Platform for success Mezzanine International Group specialises in the construction of mezzanine platforms for sectors including retail, construction and e-commerce & logistics

Image courtesy of: Emma Taylor, Mezzanine International



ezzanine International Ltd was established in 1991 by John Porter, Keith Loveday and Richard Ventin. Specialising in the design and installation of mezzanine flooring and related accessories and ancillary products, over the years the business has grown to deliver complex multi-tier steelwork platforms in Europe, including in 2005, its first structure for robots. In 2007, the company developed a proprietary, netbased commercial management system. In 2017, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) Group recognised Mezzanine International as one of the ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ for its growth. The mezzanine systems the company delivers can be used for a number of different functions. With a third of its business coming from the construction industry, specifically for large-scale warehouse development projects, Mezzanine International has become adept at using advanced design engineering technology to enable its customers to maximise operational space and drive efficiency as global e-commerce takes off. As well as the expansion of office and storage space, mezzanines can be used within industrial manufacturing and retail environments. Two prominent examples are the McDonald’s bakery in the northwest of England, and the Next flagship store in the southeast.

A growing concern Last year the company doubled its turnover and further cemented its position as a prominent player in the industry when it was acquired by MiTek®. MiTek® is part of Berkshire Hathaway, the third largest company in the world, and is led by legendary American businessman, Warren Buffett. As MD Scott Chambers explains this investment was crucial

Images below courtesy of: Andy Lee, Andy Lee TV

for Mezzanine International to continue evolving in line with its skills, knowledge and aspirations: “Thanks to the innovations we brought in, we were able to double our growth in Europe. However there comes a point when, in order to grow further, you need to adapt and change the company structure. To meet our long-term goals MiTek® is our perfect partner. They understand the business and we understand our market.” As well as this, the company has partnered with US-based mezzanine supply firm, Cubic Designs, a sister company within the MiTek® family of businesses. This adds an additional level of expertise to call upon. As part of Mezzanine International’s plans to reach new markets, the company has opened Mezzanine GmbH in Germany, and Scott has strong beliefs as to why this move was necessary: “It wasn’t just about Brexit. We undertook a lot of market research in the area and to succeed in mainland Europe we needed to have a German

company,” he points out. Scott does however have some practical concerns about Brexit: “Right now if I give a quote to a client in Italy, I can ask in pounds or Euros, and decide whether or not to take a hit on the currency. In 18 months, the possibility of tariffs due to Brexit could add anything from zero to say 300 per cent on top, and that uncertainty is not good for our business. That message doesn’t get heard much, but I feel that people are not being honest about this.” As Scott sees it, there is the possibility of a UK trading zone outside Europe. Therefore, businesses will have to adapt in order to deal with these issues. He wants to emphasise that it is not just about preparing for the worst, Scott is keen to emphasise the positive benefits for the company in the long term: “This isn’t a ruse, the GmbH office is run by us for our customers in Germany, and it is how we can solve this particular problem over the next three to four years,” he insists. The process doesn’t stop there as Mezzanine looks to further expand in the next few years: “We aim to be a pan-European mezzanine systems supplier and we have the products that we know we can sell there. So, as the business develops we will be looking to have a presence in France, Spain, Italy and Eastern Europe.”

Innovation Innovation is a word that Scott is keen to stress when describing the organisation’s work – and a big part of that has been the launch of Mezzanine7®, a system so-called because it provides seven times the strength and capacity of the previous standard models. This is a development that Scott is very proud of: “Businesses and their technologies and requirements can change in as little as six or 12 months, and we have created something that can work for over 20 years, because customers can’t have a platform



profile: Mezzanine International Ltd Hadley Group Formed in 1964, Hadley Group is the UK’s largest cold rolled steel manufacturer. Based in and around Smethwick in the West Midlands, we operate from three UK sites as well as overseas facilities in the Netherlands, Turkey, U.A.E and Thailand. We are a privately-owned company and employ over 600 people worldwide with a turnover of more than £127million. We have sought to be at the forefront of advancing the techniques and technologies of cold rollforming, employing over 60 people within our in-house Group Technology Academy, the largest of its kind in the UK. We are dedicated to developing cost-down solutions, with a proactive, customer focussed approach, striving to find innovations to improve our customer’s businesses. A key determinant of Hadley’s success is the internationally patented UltraSTEEL® process that has twice won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation, first in 2006 and more recently in 2014. A process that has revolutionised the production of steel section components used primarily in the construction industry throughout the world. that is out-of-date within the space of a year. That is why we have made this mezzanine system to be stronger, more flexible and adaptable than the standard,” he beams enthusiastically. This long-term vision is not just exclusive to the products: “Half of our people weren’t with us two years ago, rather we have been bringing in new talent throughout the business and progressing team members, even up to Board-level. We believe in putting people first –

everyone asks where you will be in ten years’ time, and it’s important to think carefully about that, hence our investment in training and development,” he explains. As stated before, this is all part of the company’s efforts to continue to develop, both in terms of growing market presence and improving the quality of the products it offers. Scott has an insight into how Mezzanine International will achieve this: “We will be launching a new product

Blakes of Farnham Our association with Mezzanine International is long standing and from the early days it has grown in strength to reach its current enviable position within the industry. Mezzanine international are innovators in their field and established as one of the most experienced, respected and preferred suppliers of Mezzanine floors. We are proud to be associated with them and support them with our products and services.

in February/March 2018, and we are looking to quadruple our workforce in Germany. All our team members are central to our ability to reach our targets – you can’t just ask people to do more and more, you have to give them space to deliver new solutions for our customers. That is how we’ll achieve market growth and innovation!” he exclaims, showing us that Mezzanine International does indeed have a platform for success to build on.

Mezzanine International Ltd Services: Mezzanine construction specialists


profile: DMC Contracts


from the front Providing a holistic approach to demanding projects over a wide range of industries and market sectors, DMC Contracts specialises in the supply and installation of all types of wall and floor finishes


hile chiefly known for floor tiling, DMC Contracts offers a range of services including screeding, platform paving, pre cast stair units and rendering. The company was founded in Tilbury in Essex around 1999 by David McCartney, and Sales Director


Conor McCann states he is still very much a hands-on part of the organisation: “We went from focusing on the commercial sector to 70 per cent infrastructure. David has had a lot of influence on the business, he very much leads from the front. We have a low tier management structure and the ethos is very collaborative and this is crucial to the success of DMC.”

Contracts The company website is very explicit in terms of its vision and values, guiding the way the organisation approaches its work: ‘Our mission is to safely deliver all our projects to a high quality, defect free in a safe and environmentally conscious way, whilst providing value engineering and programme solutions. Our vision is to become the sub

St Pancras Spur

DMC have ISO 14001 accreditation, giving us a framework to follow regarding waste management and reducing emissions, which is something that needs to be taken very seriously

Reading Station contractor and employer of choice within our industry by safely and consistently delivering successful and innovative projects and services’. This approach is clearly paying off as DMC has a number of high profile customers, the most significant being a contract with London Underground as well as seven of the nine major Crossrail stations. Alongside this the company has also been

working on Birmingham New Street Station, the Cambridge Welding Institute and Gatwick, Heathrow and Bristol airports, with a number of glowing testimonials on its website. Conor believes that it is the collaborative approach that the business has with these organisations that means not only attracting projects but also getting previous clients coming back for more: “Essentially business is about relationships - if you deliver in the right manner people will ask you to do further work. Our experience within the sector means our customers know that this means getting the job done while also offering value for money,” he explains. He then goes on to further elaborate on this: “The commitment is instilled on site at the work face, with everyone responsible for the results. This is communicated through the project manager, while there is

also an inspection to check for quality and workmanship. It is important to offer value for our customers where we can, because sometimes a specification will go for a very expensive option when there are adequately more suitable less expensive options.” The effectiveness of its work has been reflected by the testimonials from clients with Paul Forrester from Ardex describing DMC as; ‘a dynamic and progressive company’ while Robin Oxborough of AATI points out how it can; ‘complete any size project to the highest quality.’ Conor believes this praise partially comes through how DMC puts its bids together for its clients: “Transparency is crucial. It is important to provide information about details such as pricing, methodology and design alongside mock up drawings for them to consider. Our aim is to give people a onestop shop, for example, with the Underground, as well as tiling


Marsh Lane l Ware l Hertfordshire l SG12 9QQ T: 01920 463230 l E: l

A winning combination Howe Green is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of floor, wall and ceiling access covers. The fabricated metal covers are designed to provide a safe, easy and cost effective solution to accessing concealed building services. Established in 1983, the company has built a reputation within the highly specialised architectural building products sector for innovation, quality and reliability. Over the past 34 years Howe Green access covers have been specified by the most renowned architects and contractors in the construction industry. In the last 15 years many of these covers have been installed by DMC Contracts Ltd, with whom Howe Green has developed a strategic partnership for the installation of its products. From shopping centres to infrastructure, the two companies have successfully delivered on dozens of high profile projects. The Nottingham Hub Station The enhancements to the Nottingham Hub Station were designed to increase capacity, improve performance and integrate the transport options serving the city. Over 40 of Howe Green’s 7500 Series Medium Duty Stainless Steel floor access covers and frames were installed within the station building and back of house by DMC Contracts. The team of flooring specialists from DMC laid 2000m2 of Quiligotti Terrazzo floor tiles within the station’s south concourse and Grade II listed portecochere.

The cover panels were then filled with Ardex A35 rapid screed and completed with tiles specially manufactured for London Underground. The pattern of the tiles was exactly matched to the surrounding flooring pattern, ensuring an uninterrupted and aesthetically pleasing surface. Tottenham Court Road London Underground Station The £500 million refurbishment and extension of Tottenham Court Road Station was completed in February this year. Opened in 1900, it is one of the busiest undergrounds in London and is set to become even busier. Once the Crossrail Elizabeth Line is completed it will be a key interface between the new service and the London Underground network. Over 40 of Howe Green’s 7500 Series Medium Duty Stainless Steel floor access covers were supplied for the project. The covers were installed by DMC Contracts in the extended ticket hall, platforms and concourse. Infilled with stone the covers will provide easy and safe access to escalator pits concealed under the flooring. The final word… Howe Green’s MD, James Fisher, comments: “We have worked with DMC Contracts for around 15 years. Over that time, we have developed a strong relationship and understanding of their requirements. Both companies possess a real depth and breadth of knowledge and experience when it comes to flooring. Flooring within infrastructure projects is challenging, it is a highly specialised area. I believe that together DMC and Howe Green provide a winning combination for our customers.”

The covers provide a network of access points to ensure that essential drainage, mechanical and electrical services can be easily reached for routine or emergency servicing. Northern Ticket Hall, Kings Cross London Underground Station The floor access solution for the Northern Ticket Hall was required to withstand high levels of foot traffic and offer fire resistance. It was crucial that the covers could prevent the passage of fire through service channels, as well as protecting their vital contents – including ventilation ducting, electrics, communication cables and rail services. Howe Green’s 7500 Series Medium Duty Stainless Steel floor access covers met the specification. The covers provide a three-hour fire rating in line with BS 476: Part 20: 1987. DMC Contracts installed over 60 single and multipart covers, setting them flush into the floor substrate.

Kings Cross Station

profile: dmc contracts

we can offer skirtings, drainage, handrails, staircases and so forth,” he lists. The company is also strongly committed to its environmental policy: “DMC have ISO 14001 accreditation, giving us a framework to follow regarding waste management and reducing emissions, which is something that needs to be taken very seriously. A lot of work is subcontracting, but when collaborating with main contractors part of this conversation involves encouraging the use of environmentally sound resources. Our company always strives to use sustainable materials but it can also depend on the specification by the architect,” he reiterates.

Development There are some concerns regarding conditions in the future that could potentially prove more challenging for DMC, its suppliers and competitors: “The sector showed the first signs of nongrowth in September this year so there are some concern about what will happen in the future. On

the one hand HS2 and Crossrail 2 are big projects coming up in the next three to five years but there is also the Brexit issue that could affect the market, time will tell,” Conor muses. This has meant that the company is looking at new sources of potential projects: “As well as the Crossrail projects there are also major works at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick so there will be work for the next few years and DMC is exploring options regarding the commercial and residential sectors.” The company has also been engaging with the local community, DMC not only sponsors the nonleague football team Billericay Town and the ladies team St James Swifts but also helped to arrange a number of charity football matches in aid of suicide awareness charity organisations.

The vision that DMC has seems to be shared across on the board. On its vacancy page the business talks about ‘a unique opportunity for highly motivated and client focused people’ who can handle a ‘demanding, fast moving environment’. In many ways these words seem to reflect the challenges that the organisation faces. While there are many potential obstacles ahead there are also some massive opportunities, and it is likely that DMC has the motivation and the focus continue building on its success.

DMC Contracts Services: Contractor specialising in wall and floor finishes

Pudding Mill Lane – Crossrail

Tottenham Court Road Station


profile: Stobart Infrastructure

Master builders B Stobart Infrastructure owns and manages a number of infrastructure sites across the UK with a view to delivering growth, shareholder value and returns on investment

eing dubbed a ‘Business Superbrand’ may sound like hyperbole, but for a business such as Stobart Group it not only perfectly reflects its sheer size and scope, it is also the name of the award that it has been recognised with for nine consecutive years by The Centre for Brand Analysis (TCBA) and the independent Business Superbrands Council. Stobart Group is a Support Services business with three key operating divisions (Aviation, Energy and Rail). It also has an Investments Division and also Stobart infrastructure which supports the operating divisions by acquiring and developing new facilities or enhancing existing owned sites. Stobart Infrastructure also manages a commercial property portfolio and through its’ asset management skills, creates value for the Group.


Drawing upon a highly skilled workforce Stobart Infrastructure operates in an individual capacity on behalf of the wider group, purchasing land and commercial properties and managing them within a commercial portfolio. As part of its service offering, the company carries out facility design, planning, construction, base build, fit-out and commissioning services. Individually and together, these capabilities are essential to building and maintaining modern, high quality facilities such as airport terminals, air traffic control towers, distribution centres, cross-docks, warehousing, offices, car parking, security and welfare units. As one can imagine, there are several good examples of Stobart Infrastructure’s work to draw upon when documenting the company’s activities. One such example is the work undertaken on the Carlisle Distribution Centre at

Carlisle Lake District Airport. The airport itself is considered to be a key asset in Stobart Group’s portfolio, with current plans for its development set to bring increasing volumes of commercial passenger flights to Cumbria and open up tourist opportunities for the stunning region that is the Lake District.

Project experience Previously, the Infrastructure Division, in partnership with Stobart Rail, has overseen expansion works at the hugely successful London Southend Airport, which included a programme of runway expansion and the construction of a new terminal building and an onsite railway station. It was the experience the company gained from this landmark project that it was able to harness in Carlisle, with Stobart Rail managing the scheme at all stages, from project planning through to implementation.

A team of 70 men and women were tasked with both the sub-structure and superstructure works on the project, which consisted of several challenging aspects, not least of all the transportation and installation of the plant’s 125 tonne boiler In addition to upgrading the existing runway and associated aviation areas, the company also contributed to the construction of a 310,000-square foot freight distribution centre on 21 acres of development land. Beginning in December 2014, and completed in September 2015, this £11m undertaking involved the excavation of 270,000 tonnes of material, and the use of 25,000 tonnes of aggregate, 10,000 cubic

metres of concrete, 750 tonnes of structural steel, 410,000 square feet of cladding and 5000 tonnes of asphalt.

Sutton Park Two other recent examples of projects that have benefitted significantly from the efforts of Stobart Infrastructure are the Widnes Combined Heat and Power Plant Update and its work within Sutton Park. In the case of


profile: Stobart Infrastructure

the former, the project involved the civils package valued at £11.0m in connection with the construction and operation of a 20.2MWE waste wood biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant and wood processing facility, the largest waste wood renewable energy plant of its kind in the North West of England. A team of 70 men and women were tasked with both the substructure and superstructure works on the project, which consisted of several challenging aspects, not least of all the transportation and installation of the plant’s 125 tonne boiler. This particular element required the construction of a new haul-road and the use of two 250 tonne cranes which lifted it onto four bogies that transported it to the site. A 650 tonne and 250 tonne crane were used to successfully

Sutton Park


lift it onto the frame and into its permanent position within the new biomass plant. Additional superstructure works included the incorporation of reinforced walls, precast walls, steelwork and cladding, with work commencing in January 2016 and being completed in August 2016.

Investment goals The Sutton Park project, meanwhile, was conducted in conjunction with Stobart Forestry, which itself was involved in the harvesting of undermanaged woodland to extract, primarily, roundwood and brash. While the project as a whole is currently in its research and development phase, Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield has been selected as the location for the first test site. The process will see material sourced and provided to

specialist facilities where it will be made into pellets to provide renewable energy. Regardless of the type of project that Stobart Infrastructure becomes involved in, its end-goal remains the same. That end goal calls for, when the time is right for Stobart Group, Stobart Infrastructure to sell off parts of its commercial portfolio. In doing so it is able to then invest the capital gained back into Stobart Group and its respective divisions. It is a model that has proven successful time and again, and will no doubt continue to do so in the years to come.

Stobart Infrastructure Services: Infrastructure development services

profile: Keller Holding

Global strength

and local focus Keller Holding is a worldwide group specialising in construction and geotechnical contracts


eller Holding specialises in soil and foundation solutions for the construction industry including heavy foundations, ground improvement, speciality grouting, anchors and minipiles, retention systems, cut-off walls, as well as instrumentation and monitoring. Dyrik Wellershaus Its services have proven crucial on a number of massive projects including; the UK’s Olympic Stadium, the Port of Huelva in Spain, the Saudi Kayan Perochemical Complex in Saudi Arabia and Amsterdam Central Station in the Netherlands, with

approximately 6000 projects per year being worked on. However, while the organisation has ambitions to further spread its reach around the globe, Business Development Director Dyrik Wellershaus insists the success is based on local knowledge: “The people on ground have years of experience, knowing ‘their’ soils and are the best ones to work on the particular project. This has helped us grow and our focus is to continue driving that forward. On the other hand, I cannot emphasise enough that getting the support from all over the Keller World means there is the strength to deliver large and complex projects. If a project needs to be delivered in an extreme short period we are able to provide a sufficient number of rigs to achieve the client’s timeline.”

The emphasis on innovation and different thinking also applies to the company itself. In July 2017, the Austrian arm of the group Keller Grundbau was involved with clearing the River Emscher in western Germany (charmingly referred to as ‘Europe’s foulest river’ for a time) as part of a 4.5 billion euro project, including sewage pumping stations and an underground system of tunnels designed to divert away waste from the river. This scheme is due to be completed in 2020. However, the project could have been massively delayed, due to the fact that the ground that needed to be drilled into could not be reliably checked for unexploded ordnance. In order to check this safely one of the team’s technicians came up with an original idea – freezing the ground with liquid nitrogen!


profile: Keller Holding

adjustments, the experiment was a success and the technique can now be legitimately used in the event of this occurring in the future.

Port of Huelva


tecniwell tecniwell was established in 1987 with the purpose of designing and producing special equipment for soil consolidation, particularly for the Jet-Grouting technique. Today, after 30 years of activity, tecniwell has become a world leading manufacturer of grouting, jet-grouting and oil field equipment. The more than 2500 pieces of equipment produced by tecniwell are utilised during some of the most challenging soil consolidation works found around the world. tecniwell is fully committed to the continuing innovation and improvement of its products, and to offering the best possible customer service. For tecniwell it is about productivity and reliability, while fully respecting of safety.


It was not quite as simple as just freezing the ground, the technicians involved needed to consider different conditions, including sludgy backfill, sand and clay, as well as dealing with contaminated soil. After some

Design and Engineering is one of Keller’s major strengths, having employed strong and enthusiastic geotechnical engineers. The Emscher project is an effective illustration of how creative thinking and technical knowhow can solve seemingly unsurmountable problems. The other way Keller Holding has been able to develop growth and broaden experience is through acquisitions in various countries. In January 2017, the group further cemented its influence in the Brazilian market with the purchase of the Tecnogeo Group. Dyrik

emphasises that this is part of the larger business strategy: “Acquisitions broaden our portfolio. The company we buy contributes to a larger market share and helps you have more of a presence in the area. The management of Tecnogeo is well established in Sao Paolo and Rio, and transferred their knowledge to the Keller Brazil Business Unit. Tecnogeo’s clients were informed about this positive merger for the Brazilian construction industry and the good network was shared. In the meantime, the company operates and is established as one,” he reiterates. The investment was followed by another significant one with Finnish business Sotkamon Porapaalu Oy: “Buying Sotkamon Porapaalu Oy gave us access to the skilled people and engineers working there and we


The group is developing ways to further grow in developing markets such as Africa and Latin America, while there are also opportunities with new initiatives such as the construction of Near Shore Marine facilities can offer a further technology in Scandinavia. “It is our goal to grow organically and the many big projects in the pipeline are the way to achieve this. But acquiring geotechnical companies is also a positive growth driver. You evaluate the targeted company by doing research over their equipment fleet, their personnel and the figures as well as the order book.”

While Keller has a wide array of projects to work on, one of the largest is Keller Grundbau’s work on the Kolralm railway line in Austria. This is one of the group’s larger and challenging contracts, worth 32 million euros. Once this is completed in 2023 it will reduce travel time from Graz to Klagenfurt from three hours to less than one, providing significant benefits to people and businesses. Keller’s role in this is significant: “Keller Grundbau will be carrying out ground engineering works on two tunnels in the St. Kanzian area, believed to be the biggest construction challenge on the line,” he outlines, before providing an update on progress. “The first tunnel is now complete, having executed it in a cut-and-cover method, constructing bored piles as a retaining wall at a depth of 22


profile: Keller Holding

metres. Jet grouted columns were then added to reinforce the bottom of the excavation and ceiling columns added between the bored piles. “Piling has also started on the second tunnel where we intend to complete the works in February 2018. When our construction is all complete it will include 2000 no. 1.2 metre diameter bored piles totalling 58,000m and 75,000m of jet grouted columns. Other techniques involved are anchors, nails and shotcrete.”

Efficiency The team can also call on advanced technology: “Our technicians use new generation Keller KB6 rigs with TW700 pumps, monitors and nozzles. The new equipment makes Soilcrete construction more efficient, allowing them to jet grout faster, with less cement


Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Complex

and less disposal cost, without compromising strength. All the rigs use GPS technology and that has doubled the speed of communication. Thanks to advances like this jobs like the Kolralm railway are progressing well and on schedule,” he happily announces. A couple of other major projects are in tender stage and keep Dyrik and his team busy. There are a lot of potential opportunities that Dyrik cannot discuss at the moment, though he does provide a few hints: “Worldwide we are looking at forming joint ventures that the Keller Group is collaborating on, while Keller UK is part of some larger UK infrastructure projects. That is also on our radar.”

Expansion Keller is looking toward the future. While the structure is

already in place, the group is always looking to improve and build on its achievements: “We want to expand turnover and profit, growing through acquisitions but also organically. Around the world, the oil and gas sector is back on track but there are also other sectors with massive potential. For example, if you have a refinery, chemical plant or big silos. If the group can hit its targets there is the potential to grow turnover massively,” he envisions. This is not just a hopeful target, with Dyrik pointing towards a clear game plan by the organisation: “The group is developing ways to further grow in developing markets such as Africa and Latin America, while there are also opportunities with new initiatives such as the construction of Near Shore Marine facilities.

Ships are getting bigger, and to accommodate them ports need to be rehabilitated and deepened.” The expansion of the business also applies to the group’s home in Germany, with new offices in both Hamburg and Hannover. It is fascinating to see the evolution of a company and how it achieves this in conjunction with other organisations around the world. While a lot of people talk about ‘synergy’ this is a great example of the process in action and if all goes as planned then there will be more companies, countries and people that will benefit from Keller’s ambitious plans.

Keller Holding Services: Construction company and geotechnical contractors


profile: Steeltech Sheds

A shed



Established by EY Entrepreneur of the Year Sean Brett, Steeltech Sheds is one of the leading outdoor structure companies in Ireland

hile talking to Steeltech Sheds CEO Sean Brett, it is clear why he was awarded the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2015. Aside from talking about sheds, garages, chalets and other outdoor structures, he talks passionately about the book Good to Great Companies: “The second best one I ever read”. After that, he discusses the founder of Nike talking about establishing the sporting giant on CNBC: “He was asked ‘Did you think it would be as big as it is now?’ And of course, he did not. But who knows, perhaps it’s


possible to achieve that level of success?” There is a sense of a legend in the making, as he recounts the true tales of his life growing up on a farm in the West of Ireland, and how this resulted in him leaving school at the age of 14, working around his home country and the UK, before coming back to Galway to establish a painting and decorating firm. During that time, he began to fill in time during the quiet winter periods selling coal. It was when he found that the draughty wooden outer storage failed to shelter the fuel, that there was a moment of inspiration. Soon after this, in 1995, Steeltech was founded, and today

has 170 employees, 25 to 30 per cent growth year-on-year and a turnover of £17 million. In 2015, production relocated to a 50,000 square feet facility in Tuam, on the site of a former Coca Cola factory near the area he grew up. In that time, the impact on the industry has been massive: “When the organisation was first established, there was a 60/40 per cent split between timber and steel sales. Now it is 98 per cent steel-based, as people want a quality product, and don’t want to change it every seven years,” he confirms.

Making it It is easy to be dismissive – there is a certain old-fashioned aspect

Sean clearly cares deeply about what he sells, with firm ideas about what customers expect: “There should be no maintenance, ever. This is a crucial factor, alongside offering a 20year guarantee. Insulation is also important as people associate the metal with condensation, so the structures have to be properly insulated.” This commitment to quality also applies to the workforce: “The key is to get the right people – in the past there was this habit of hiring fast and flying slow, whereas now it’s the other way around. If the job doesn’t suit someone, there is no point having them stay.” The dedication to finding new developments doesn’t even stop when Sean is on holiday, as he observes: “I see what they’re doing in America, Germany or wherever I am. It’s important to

be on the lookout for ideas, and the feeling is ‘If you see a good idea, copy it…and make it better!’” This open-minded approach also extends to the shop-floor, with a suggestion box in place so anyone can contribute: “There is always the desire to do better. If any ideas are taken up then the person that made them will be financially rewarded. Even if it is just a little change, making the design even slightly more efficient, then that idea was worth it.”

Brand value Another thing that is clear when speaking with Sean is that he is extremely passionate about marketing: “Essentially, this is about creating a message and a call to action. At the risk of bragging, I like to think Steeltech has a good handle on both aspects,” he exclaims. Indeed, this

that the word shed evokes, and while that may have been true of the older timber models, it only requires a look across the Steeltech range to dispel the musty image of a rickety shack in the corner of the garden: “The interior can be a galvanised frame, but the front can be a PVC wood finish or tile effect. With the designs that the team is working on, the aesthetic quality is being improved on continuously,” he insists. Increasingly, there is a growing demand for other outer dwellings in the range, as he continues to detail: “It used to be just sheds and garages, nowadays 25 per cent of what’s sold is home offices and garden rooms.”



profile: Steeltech Sheds

Gusclad Ltd Gusclad Ltd is a family run business based in North Roscommon and has been in the steel industry for over 30 years. All its products are fully certified and are made to order to customer specifications, with no job too big and no job too small. A full range of colours and materials are kept in stock at all times, and it strives to provide a fast and efficient turnaround service. Gusclad Ltd is your one-stop-shop for all your roofing needs, with a full range of flashings, fixings and rainwater systems. Call or mail for free, no obligation quotations.

positivity proved to be vital during the economic downturn around 2008: “When the pressure was on and everyone was cutting back, the decision was made to take the opposite approach, to invest more and bring prices down, meaning volume had to be increased. In effect these are the three factors that have served the organisation well; competitiveness, quality as well as effective promotion.” This level of improvement has occurred across all aspects of working practices, including an upgrade in terms of worker protection: “A few years ago if the health and safety officer came around, there would be a lot of hair pulling and worried faces. Nowadays the inspectors are welcomed in, because the standard has improved so much, with the training and equipment being upgraded all the time,” he proudly beams. There is also a

There should be no maintenance, ever. This is a crucial factor, alongside offering a 20-year guarantee. Insulation is also important as people associate the metal with condensation, so the structures have to be properly insulated

push towards a more sustainable business, with Sean admitting there would be an additional promotional angle alongside the wider benefits this could potentially offer: “The company is always looking to do what it can. If smaller electric trucks came out, Steeltech would be the first customers. Aside from being good for the environment, this would be a fantastic advert, having a line-up of vehicles and all of them electric.” Spreading the name further afield is a major target: “Having got into the British market last year, it is important to build on that over the next 12 months. After that, in a further four to five years, there will be a move into Germany and Holland, before eventually achieving world domination…in sheds.” Sean chuckles, but it is clear that this is only a half-joke, and the desire to see how far the

brand can reach out is very real. Sean talks about a passage in the book Good to Great Companies. While it describes the act of choosing employees, equally it could refer to the drive that successful entrepreneurs have: “It talks in particular about motivation, the idea is that you can either do it or you can’t, so if you aren’t motivated then it’s a waste of time.” There is a very real, driven presence with him, and it seems to be there with Steeltech as an entity itself. While nobody can predict the future, if one day there is a news story about this shed company being the most successful in the world, it would not be that surprising.

Steeltech Sheds Services: Outdoor structure specialists 45

profile: Golden Houses Development Ltd

A golden


With its high level of skill, professionalism, integrity and a can-do attitude, Golden Houses Development has become a company of choice when it comes to high-end construction projects


hen she first arrived in the UK, Monika Slowikowska spoke very little English. What she did possess, however, was a level of drive and determination, and a vision for what a company should be about which has helped contribute to a meteoric rise within the UK construction


industry over the past ten years. Having held various positions within engineering, property developers and construction practices, Monika would go on to work with her brother for a total of five years. It was at this point that circumstances aligned for Monika to go it alone and create a new business Noble Houses, later renamed Golden Houses Development Ltd, and in the

process became one of a very select few women to lead a UK construction company. Nevertheless, and despite the admirable reputation and experience she had built up over the proceeding decade, this landmark move into unchartered territory brought with it some fears and doubts, which Monika is modest enough to admit. “As a single Director in this industry, and

With all of my buildings, I always have one eye on the end users themselves and how a person, or persons, will be functioning within it

a female one at that, I definitely had a number of concerns when I launched Golden Houses,” she states. “In spite of these concerns, my sense of duty towards our existing workforce and my own passion to run a business my own way, which is one that is client-focused, efficient, fast and cost-effective, won the day. By surrounding myself with the right people and advisors to guide me through the process, I have been able to build a business that is both strong and resilient.”

The company that Monika has nurtured is today recognised as one of the leading specialists when it comes to high-end residential projects of a minimum construction value of £3 million. “From the day I started this business, one of the first decisions I made was that I wanted it to revolve around a dedicated, expert in-house team, one that is able to determine and control the quality of our work, and is not dependent upon outside parties such as external contractors,” Monika explains.

Solutions driven Driven by the thought process of its owner, Golden Houses and its team focus on solutions, not

problems, whilst at the same time maintaining a relentless drive towards perfection. “One of the reasons why we have built up the capabilities of the company in-house is because I have a steadfast belief in the need to avoid conflict in all its forms,” Monika says. “Together we are one unit, each member of which cares greatly for the rest of the group and wants the whole company to benefit in the long-term. Having this mentality, I find, keeps everyone highly motivated and allows the company to do things much faster than would be possible if we had to put our energy into dealing with matters of external conflict. This is turn results in creating a


profile: Golden Houses Development Ltd

profitable business, particularly when compared to the average construction company.” For Monika, this approach to business is all about creating, what she calls, ‘win-win situations’ for every stakeholder and party involved in a given project or development. “By stripping away all of the conflictdriven sources of expenditure, we have ensured that all of our focus is directed towards the job at hand, completing it to the very best of our ability and doing so at such value for money that our clients continue returning to us with new contracts,” she adds.

Form and function Examples of such contracts being transformed into finished works can be found across the length and breadth of London, and


beyond, all of which the Golden Houses team are immensely proud. Obviously, each project is of a different size and scale, and often present their own unique technical challenges, but what they all share is that they exist as a result of Monika and her team’s ability to see past just bricks and mortar, and to the persons who will make use of one of their buildings. “Caring about the design of a property and how it looks is hugely important,” Monika enthuses. “With all of my buildings, I always have one eye on the end users themselves and how a person, or persons, will be functioning within it. We apply this thought process to our own developments, for example a 10,000-square foot office space that we are creating in the centre of Manchester. Here we are making sure to create a working space that is not only comfortable and cosy, but also inspires its inhabitants.”

As is the norm, she was not alone as she was joined by members of her team who regularly attend such events, allowing them to receive the praise and attention that their combined efforts deserve. The past 12 months has been a strong period for Golden Houses, and one which has also seen it spread its wings in terms of its capabilities with the expansion of its high-end joinery arm that focuses on high quality, unique designs and finishes. Having rapidly outgrown its previous home, the company’s fully equipped workshop, which was born to increase efficiency and the speed of delivery of its construction projects, now resides in a new, large-scale industrial unit following a purchase valued at around £3 million.

While this development is considerable in terms of a financial investment, it is another crucial step along the way to Golden Houses firmly establishing itself as a key contractor/developer. “This is a long-term vision for ourselves, but it is one that we are already very excited about,” Monika concludes. “Our aim is to be able to deliver the full value that comes with the skills and capabilities that we have to offer, and we know that there are clients out there that are keen to work with us on such projects, and we look forward to collaborating with them in the future.”

Golden Houses Development Ltd Services: Residential construction company

Award winners The work of Monika and her team has also been showcased at various industry awards, with both Golden Houses and Monika herself recently winning two prestigious prizes at the 2017 London Construction Awards. In the first instance the company was presented with the London Build Excellence Award, while its Founder walked away with the Women in Construction Award.


profile: ECL Civil Engineering Ltd

The civil


ECL Civil Engineering provides services to developers, main contractors and local authorities


hen Sean Hoare took over the running of the small groundworks business that was established by his father in 1993, he set in motion a series of events that would give rise to one of the UK’s fastest growing civil contractors. This would culminate with the rebranding of the business into ECL Civil Engineering (ECL) in 2010. It was in this year that Sean would also be joined by Steve Tysoe who, having successfully sold his previous business T&W Civil


Engineering in 2007, returned to the industry as ECL’s Director. “When I came into the business it was a £10 million operation,” Steve begins. “In the seven years since, myself and Sean have worked hard to develop and grow ECL into what it is today, which is a company that works diligently in supporting the country’s leading housebuilders on major new build developments. Through a sustained period of organic expansion, a buoyant market and by steadily increasing our market share we have grown to the point where, in June 2017, our latest filed accounts, showed a £79 million

turnover. Based on the first quarter of 2017/18, we anticipate recording a turnover in next year’s accounts in excess of £100 million.”

Branded plant The past seven years have seen Steve and Sean embracing the idea of continual investment in order to enhance ‘ECL’ as a brand that has become recognised for its expertise, service and execution. One of the results of these actions is a sizable plant inventory of approximately 300 machines and associated equipment, and a fleet of 180 vans, all of which is branded with

Every year we take on several new individuals and bring them into the office environment, providing them with an opportunity to begin an exciting career path

always on the lookout for the latest techniques and solutions that will allow it to further increase the efficiency of its working practices. For example, virtually all of ECL’s 20 tonne and above excavators come equipped with the latest GPS systems. This allows each individual unit to be modelled towards its own specific task, and when and how said task is completed. This also allows the company to ensure the optimum speed of delivery when it comes to its services, whilst at the same time minimising the reliance on manual labour where possible, which is an area of increasing importance in today’s construction market. While understandably keen to maximise productivity, ECL still strives to ensure that every single activity it undertakes is done in a safe, responsible and faultless manner. This attitude has seen it obtain industry standards such as SMAS (Safety Management Advisory Services) Worksafe Contractor and CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) certifications, as well as ISO 9001 and 14001 accreditations.

Exciting projects

ECL’s logo. “To our mind, there is no other competitor present today that has put, pound for pound, as much investment into their plant and machinery as we have done in a relatively short space of time,” Steve states. “Amongst our inventory, you will not find a single item of plant that is over three-and-a-half years of age, meaning that the branding is always fresh, the machinery looks the part and is maintained accordingly.” ECL’s attitude towards investment also extends to technological advances and innovation, with the company

The aforementioned efforts of the company have resulted in its involvement in a host of large development projects. “We are grateful to our core clients in affording ECL the opportunity to grow and to specialise in large scale developments, which is why these projects each feature no fewer than 100 new build homes. This expertise can currently be seen in action on a 600-house consortium project in Wooton, Bedfordshire in partnership with Bellway, Taylor Wimpey and Bovis Homes and a large development at Stanton Cross, Wellingborough. The Stanton Cross project is being promoted by Bovis Homes and will include the delivery of 3650 homes.”


profile: ECL Civil Engineering Ltd

Steve and Sean are conscious of the need to invest in the next generation of civil engineers, and as such make a concerted effort to engage with students, school leavers and graduates in the hope of attracting some of the best and brightest into a career in civil engineering. “We ourselves have a relatively young surveying department, a number of which have entered the business as school leavers and have been provided with extensive training under a management-trainee basis in order to gain the relevant qualifications,” Steve says. “Every year we take on several new individuals and bring them into the office environment, providing them with an opportunity to begin an exciting career path.” The drive to build new homes up and down the UK is as


prominent today as it has been for some time, in part driven by the government’s pledge to build 300,000 homes per year which was made in its 2017 Budget address. A good proportion of these homes will be required in what Steve refers to as ‘the varsity line’ between Cambridge and Oxford, as people look to move out of London to within an hour of the capital in order to lay down family roots. Evidence of this happening already is on 3 projects within 20 minutes of Oxford for Bloor homes culminating in 900 houses once complete and a further projects upcoming towards Cambridge.

Retaining control For Steve, the key to ECL remaining at the forefront of the industry at this exciting time is simple. “It is all about retaining control,” he affirms. “What is interesting about the way that we run the business is, while we have seen a lot of organic growth over the last seven years, we do not go out there and actively try to attract new clients. We have actually managed to achieve our growth by reducing our client base and in doing so we have ensured that the service we provide to clients is infinitely better than if we were to have spread ourselves too thin. “In this game, we believe you are much better off working with fewer clients and doing it well rather than diluting your service offering by trying to placate too many at once. In doing so we have created a situation where we share a two-way relationship where our clients want and value us, and we want and value them, producing the ideal environment in which to grow.”

ECL Civil Engineering Ltd Services: Leading civil engineering company 53

profile: hub North Scotland

The hub of the


hub North Scotland specialises in the planning, procurement and delivery of community based projects across the North of Scotland


he ethos of hub North Scotland is simple: ‘To build better local services together.’ Since 2011 the company has achieved £57 million in turnover, and is currently responsible for a pipeline project that is worth £400 million over the next three years. It is a massive undertaking, alongside various interested parties, such as local emergency services and councils, in order to guarantee the best possible value for clients around Grampian, the Highlands and the Western isles, as well as schemes focused around the head office in Aberdeen.

Development Essentially the way the company works is through a clear strategic plan. The first aspect is known as ‘Pre-stage 1’, researching the potential requirements of a client before any designs or anything else can be discussed. The next


three steps include ‘Developing the scope’, ‘Design’, before the final stage of ‘Delivery’. While this may sound simple written down in this way, each aspect requires careful planning and consultation throughout each individual aspect.

New recruit This is why, as well as having the right equipment available to produce facilities, you also need the right people. With this in mind, a recent addition to the team has been CEO Michael Padzinski. With over 25 years of experience in the construction industry, including a period as a regional director for Balfour Beatty, he has proved to be a valuable member of the team, with Chairman Andrew Richmond quick to praise him: “He is very enthusiastic and committed to the essence of what a development can mean, and why it is significant for the people involved.” Andrew goes on to illustrate this with a recent example: “With a recent school

commission, Michael took the approach that in order to create a suitable environment for children, it was vital that he had to think like a child. This allowed him to create something appropriate for this particular design.” The outreach does not end with the building work. In November 2017, the site team and subcontractors working on Lochside Academy all dug deep in a different way, raising £500 for the Cash For Kids Mission Christmas charity appeal. Every year, people from local businesses and communities, as well as Northsound Radio, join forces in order to raise money for disabled and disadvantaged children under the age of 18 in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Unveiling Lochside Academy is just one example of the recent projects that hub North has been involved in. In November 2017, the company revealed the revamped

New Kirn Primary School and an upgraded Elgin High School. Earlier, in October 2017, the company unveiled Orchard Brae School’s Centre of Excellence, providing facilities for up to 150 full time children from the age of three up to the age of 18, including outreach provision, such as speech and language aids, as well as specialist services for students with autism. Michael was proud to introduce this, stating: “This will provide a world class, modern learning campus, that sits at the heart of the community for the future.” One of the ways that hub North is able to produce these impressive undertakings, is through its two-tier system. The first tier consists of a national contractor network, each one chosen for specific skills and

experience, while the second involves working with small and medium sized enterprises, whose abilities can complement the various groups working together on the contract. It is important to stress that any company wishing to work in conjunction with Hub North does not necessarily need to be based in Scotland, though as much as possible there is an emphasis on local collaboration. It is this spirit of togetherness that has served hub North well, resulting in the company achieving a listing in the London Stock Exchange’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain, alongside being finalists in the 2015/2016 GO and the 2017 Partnerships Awards. In the case of the former the business was nominated in both the ‘Team of the Year’ and the ‘Sustainability/

Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative’ categories, recognising its commitment to both teamwork and its sustainable approach. Andrew is quick to reassure that the company is not resting on its laurels, insisting: “There is lots going on, there are plenty more big clients in the pipeline, especially in the education sector.” This is encouraging news, and it seems clear that a mixture of business savvy, collaborative spirit, as well as an injection of new creative ingenuity, has provided the means to support more local communities in Scotland in the long term.

hub North Scotland Services: Community building specialists


Construction & Civil Engineering Issue 146 December 2017  

The latest edition of Construction & Civil Engineering

Construction & Civil Engineering Issue 146 December 2017  

The latest edition of Construction & Civil Engineering