February 28, 2018
Following re-organisation we have established an Operations Board to lead our technical teams, working together to share our broad range of knowledge and good practice across all five offices.
Pictured L to R: Graham Taylor, Head of Civil Engineering (Oxford) | Colin Seabrook, Head of Conservation (Hitchin) | Charles Soothill (Oxford) | Matt Walker, Head of Building Surveying (London) | John Dunford (Southampton) | Steve Gibbs (London) | Paul Morgan, Lead for Corde (Birmingham)
February 20, 2018
AKSWard are excited to be celebrating and supporting the Government’s ‘Year of Engineering 2018’ initiative to inspire the next generation of engineers. Over the next year, we endeavour to foster better awareness and understanding of engineering in schools and universities. We have lots of events planned so please keep an eye on our news feed in the next few months.
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January 17, 2018
Romford Leisure Centre, now named Sapphire Ice & Leisure to honour the Sapphire anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, is opening to the public on the 3rd of February 2018. The centre includes an eight-lane pool for competitions, gymnasium, and first floor 56m by 26m ice rink, and will be the new home for the ice hockey team, the London Raiders.
January 15, 2018
Building 2 Croxley Park is a new office building offering 65,000 sq ft of Grade A space in a well connected business park in Watford, based in 75 acres of parkland.
The new structure is a BREEAM Very Good rated reinforced concrete frame building with steel framed canopies and atria, and full height glazing across the three floors. The entrance lobby features a freestanding reinforced concrete staircase which was designed and carefully constructed to provide a high-performance exposed concrete finish.
AKSWard provided Structural and Civil engineering design services for main contractor ISG Plc. More information about the project can be reviewed on their website here.
Photography © Steve Pearcy Photography
January 4, 2018
More imagery showcased on the park’s website here.
Team AKSWard were victorious at last month’s pub quiz, organised by Engineers for Overseas Development (efod.org.uk). EfOD is an international development charity which challenges young construction professionals to undertake development projects that benefit some of the poorest communities in rural Africa. Proceeds from the event will go towards a number of projects at Kumi Hospital in eastern Uganda.
December 22, 2017
We’re delighted to be confirmed on the renewed Southern Universities Construction Consultants Affinity Group (SUCCAG) Framework for a further term. We’re looking forward to working with the Universities and other consultants in delivering the plans for the five estates teams.
October 24, 2017
Kents Hill Secondary and SEN Schools are nearing completion on site. These steel-framed schools are part of the £27 million campus that includes the neighbouring primary school, also designed by AKS Ward and its CORDE joint venture partners adp and KJ Tait. The images highlight the successes of the project, such as the energy efficient design, multiple outdoor sports facilities as well as a unique link-bridge offering level access to the main school.
It has been a varied and challenging project with a fast-paced construction programme: all three schools and the sports hall were constructed simultaneously and in a sequence different from the original design intent. Critical to the realisation of the schemes was close collaboration among CORDE, client and contracting partners, as well as pooling knowledge and resource across AKS Ward offices in London, Oxford and Birmingham.
We are proud to have been a part of this framework and offer our best wishes to staff and pupils in their new home due for completion in December 2017.
October 18, 2017
AKS Ward is hosting a stand at this year’s Country House Business Innovation Show to be held at the NEC, Birmingham on 8th and 9th November. The stand will be manned by Matt Groves, Technical Director in our Hitchin office with support from staff from Hitchin, London and Southampton Offices.
Matt will be speaking in Theatre 5 on the Conservation of Heritage assets on Wednesday 8th November.
Pre-register for complimentary tickets and feel free to come and talk to us.
October 16, 2017
Congratulations to our Emeritus Chairman Anthony Ward on taking up the role of the 41st Master Constructor with the Worshipful Company of Constructors Livery Company on the 4th of October 2017. The Livery Company was founded in 1976 and has over 300 members across all sectors of our industry. It supports Awards and Scholarships in the industry, fundraises for charitable causes and supports the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and Aldermen of The City in guiding the work of The City Corporation.
October 4, 2017
Tasha Chandler of our Birmingham branch was featured in the October issue of The Structural Engineer publication, selected alongside two others from the institution’s Young Member’s Panel, to wax lyrical on their careers so far in the industry.
“Tasha Chandler is the obvious first port of call if you want to found out about career priorities for young members of the institution. She is the energetic chair of its national Young Members’ Panel and has been an active member of the institution since she first started work in 2011.
She became chartered in 2015 and her early working life has all been about her drive to get professional recognition by passing the Chartered Membership Examination and through the type of work she is given by her employers. She has moved job twice in this quest and is evidence that, within her cohort of structural engineers, there are many who are not prepared to sit quietly and wait for their employers to give them what they want; they will move on and find it for themselves.
Now 28, she is working for her third company and seems to have found her niche for the moment at AKS Ward in Birmingham; one that suits her ambitions and her style of working. ‘I was introduced to AKS Ward by a former colleague,’ she says. ‘I had been looking for new opportunities and AKS Ward, being new to the Midlands, stood out as something different. Through a joint venture known as Corde I share an office with architects and M&E engineers in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. It’s the perfect environment for cross-discipline working, and an example of where the industry is heading as roles become less defined, with the development of BIM and the use of federated models. That was a big attraction for me. You learn so much by osmosis, by simply being around other professionals, and we help each other out even on non-Corde projects.’
Chandler studied engineering at Cambridge and joined WSP in Birmingham after graduation in 2011. ‘I liked the idea of a big company because I thought there would be opportunities to move around within it, but that turned out not to be the norm. I was there for a great two-and-a-half years, including eight months with Laing O’Rourke at its Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) plant, which was fascinating. As well as continuing work on Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital from a contractor’s perspective, I was converting consultants’ in-situ designs into DfMA schemes. From this I learned to understand a contractor’s constraints, such as pallet sizes and demoulding, but I still didn’t feel I was getting the holistic project experience I needed to become chartered.
She then moved to BWB, which had a growing office in Birmingham. ‘When I joined, the other structural engineers in the office left!’ Tasha says. ‘It was either sink or swim and I had a stimulating eight months when I had more responsibility than I was sure I wanted.’ Vikki Klette, an engineer with over 10 years’ experience, then joined the business and Chandler found she was working with someone who could validate her engineering decisions – especially as the projects got bigger. ‘That was a game changer for me,’ she says.
The decision to go for her chartership at a relatively young age was prompted by some encouragement during some time off work. ‘I’d embarked on the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) route as it was encouraged at WSP, and seemed a quicker route to chartership, but I struggled to fit myself into the commercial boxes that it demands. However, the IStructE’s objectives and exam fitted with everything I’d experienced to date. I’d enjoyed engaging with the Midland Counties Regional Group; and this led to being co-opted onto the Young Members’ Panel and then Council – everything just felt so friendly and inclusive.’
When Chandler passed her CM Exam, she was after a new challenge. ‘So I looked around – I had time after all that studying was over. AKS Ward offered me more responsibility to fulfil, a unique opportunity, and I have been there 18 months. Working as Corde with new colleagues to deliver the Kents Hill School in Milton Keynes through construction to handover was certainly a rewarding start.’
Chandler competes in iron-distance triathlons – swimming 3.8km, cycling over 180km and then running a marathon. All that energy has also been brought to bear on the Young Members’ Panel. ‘My region nominated me and I started as a corresponding member. Now I am Chair. We aim to represent the views of young members to the Institution’s Board and Council and we are taken very seriously. When I report our key issues to Council, I get bombarded with questions and interest – momentum is really gathering.’
A particular success on her watch has been the launch and continuation of the successful Young Engineers’ Conference, which just held its second event. Institution support for her career has been good, she says, but could be better. ‘I think the student-to-graduate transition could be better supported,’ she says. ‘My region has been very active in its support, but others are not so lucky.’
Next on the list for the Young Members’ Panel to assist with is ethics, particularly the tricky issue of how a young engineer can highlight something in design they think is wrong. ‘We are finding young engineers won’t go to their boss and point out potential errors. But they need to be given confidence in their own competence and not be afraid to point issues out.’
And the CM Exam needs to move on and be future proofed, she says. ‘It’s designed for the way people used to work, with design calculations and full technical drawings by hand. I understand they are skills we need, but, in reality, in the workplace most people form concept designs and sketches, then go to computer software for the detail. That disconnect makes the exam a larger undertaking than it perhaps used to be, which may be off-putting for future generations, who should be encouraged.”
As published in The Structural Engineer | October 2017