February 13, 2023

National Apprentice Week 2023

To celebrate #nationalapprenticeshipweek we’d like to turn the spotlight onto our very own Max Waddup!

“An apprenticeship is a great way of learning, while demonstrating classroom activities in the real working environment and learning valuable industry skills. That’s why I decided to embark on this journey of becoming a Civil Engineer. Whilst being at AKSWard I have learnt a lot of from my colleagues who have shown me many vital skills such as drafting on Auto-Cad. A typical day in the life of Max as a Civil Engineering Apprentice looks like; get into the office around 8:30am to then be greeted by my friendly fellow colleagues, then sit down at my desk with a hot cup of coffee whilst talking about what I got up to at college the day before, then swivel around and log in to excitedly see what the day will bring me. This can range from amending various drawings from colleagues throughout the company, creating preliminary drainage designs with guidance, creating external finished drawings, calculating gradients and levels ready for checking, gathering drawings and creating a pack to then send of to the clients. I am eager to expand my knowledge further and refine my skills to be a fully qualified Civil Engineer. This apprenticeship has shown the career path I want to take, it’s nice to see what I will become in a few years!” – Max Waddup, Civil Engineering Apprentice at AKSWard.

Overseeing Max and our Oxford office is one of our Operations Directors – Paul Morgan.
“AKSWard as a company has always looked to develop and nurture our younger members of staff allowing them to become the best they can. We have a large number of staff who started with us at junior levels and have risen through the ranks. We understand that not everyone wants to head off to University and know that there is more than one route for those looking for a career within our industry. We knew that apprenticeships are a great route for us. We teamed up with New College Swindon to recruit an apprentice via their Civil Engineering Technician Level 3 course to join our civils group. Good civils engineers can be hard to come by, so we are training our own by taking on an individual who does not yet have any bad habits! We made the decision at the outset to focus on finding the right candidate for our team. We were hoping to find someone keen to learn and develop, someone with that “something about them” which makes it easy to get them involved. That is what we saw in Max when we first interviewed him and I’m glad to say we have not been disappointed. Max has started his life with us at AKSWard brilliantly. He has fitted straight in and instantly become a good fit in our team. He is asking all the right questions and is a fast learner, what more could we ask? So far our apprenticeship journey is proving a success and as a business we are keen to bring in more like minded individuals through apprenticeships across our offices and across our different disciplines”.


February 9, 2023

NSC Magazine Article: Top Marks for Steel

We are elated to see our work showcased in the latest NSC Magazine’s “Projects and Features” section for our work at London Academy Highgate Hill. To read the full article please follow this link https://www.newsteelconstruction.com/wp/top-marks-for-steel-2/.

“Some flexibility has been designed into the building as the main hall and dining area can used as one large space, or separated via a folding partition,” says AKSWard Senior Engineer Freya Berkin.

“To create a seamless link between the two areas, without any columns, a storey-high truss, positioned at first floor level, supports columns at second and third floor.”

The 16.6m-long × 4.2m-deep truss was too deep to be maneuvered into the site, and so it had to be delivered in nine pieces. It was then assembled on the ground before being installed by the 100t-capacity crane.

Wrapped around the double-height main hall, and taking into account that half of the area above the dining room is an outdoor plant deck, the first floor has a smaller footprint than the ground floor. First floor accommodates two classrooms, a staff room, IT hub, storage areas and a double-height drama studio.

The majority of the steel frame for the upper floors is based around a 7.6m × 7.8m column grid pattern, but as the drama studio is slightly larger, its roof – at third floor level – is formed with a couple of Westok beams that act as transfer structures by supporting columns that are only present on the uppermost level.

The second and third floors have six and seven rooms respectively. The former has access to an outdoor terrace positioned above part of the main hall, while the latter will be used mainly by the sixth form.

The new school building is due to be ready for teachers and pupils in time for the 2023 Autumn term.

January 12, 2023

Civic Trust Awards National & International Winners 2023!

We are delighted to see a brilliant start to the year already as all three of our nominated projects have been named the 2023 Civic Trust Awards National & International Winners. These are schemes which demonstrate excellence in architecture or design, whilst being sustainable, accessible and provide a positive civic contribution. Projects will receive an Award or be Highly Commended at the Awards Ceremony in March 2023! Our selected projects are;

St Paul’s Cathedral Equal Access project https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6990592959658262528/?actorCompanyId=2121622,

Arts University Bournemouth Student Accommodation https://www.aksward.com/projects/arts-university-bournemouth/

and the Catherine Hughes Building https://www.aksward.com/projects/catherine-hughes-boarding-house-somerville-college-oxford/

Furthermore, St Paul’s Cathedral Equal Access project is one of only three projects to either receive an Award or be Highly Commended at the 2023 Selwyn Goldsmith Awards for Universal Design National Winners – which recognizes schemes that are responsive, flexible, welcoming, easy to use and occupy; allowing all to use with dignity and equality. Putting people at the heart of the project and showing exemplar design.

Click the link to view the full list of Civic Trust Awards 2023 Winners – https://www.civictrustawards.org.uk/uploads/2023_Winners_Jan23.pdf

Huge congratulations to our team, associates and fellow winners.


January 4, 2023

Civic Trust Awards 2023: Regional Finalists

Happy New Year all!

The end of another great year, here at AKSWard we are extra proud to announce that not one but three (!) of our projects have qualified for for the 2023 CIVIC TRUST AWARDS: Regional Finalists. These are St Paul’s Cathedral Equal Access project, Arts University Bournemouth Student Accommodation and the Catherine Hughes Building.

As well as this, St Paul’s Cathedral Equal Access project has also got to the 2023 Selwyn Goldsmith Awards for University Design: Regional Finalists! “The Selwyn Goldsmith Awards seek to promote and applaud places that are responsive, flexible, welcoming, easy to use and occupy; allowing all to use with dignity and equality.”

Click the link to visit the Civic Trust Awards website and find out more – https://lnkd.in/ediVua_d

Congratulations to our team, associates and fellow nominees. We are excited to see what 2023 brings!

St Paul’s Cathedral:
Caroe Architecture
Stonewest Ltd

Catherine Hughes Building:
Ridge and Partners LLP

AUB Student Accommodation:
Morgan Sindall Group plc
Design Engine Architects



November 12, 2022

RICS Regional Winner of the UK Awards 2022

Another fantastic achievement has been made here at AKSWard, as our project St Paul’s Cathedral, Equal Access Project in London has won Regional Winner for the RICS UK Awards 2022 in the Heritage category! Very proud to enable a winder audience to access this historical landmark. Always a pleasure working alongside Caroe Architecture and Stonewest Ltd Here is a link to RICS YouTube channel where you can find the full list of Winners – https://lnkd.in/ghxKrvA8

RICS Website – https://www.rics.org/uk/training-events/rics-awards/uk-awards/

London – St Paul’s Cathedral, Equal Access Project nominated by Caroe Architecture Ltd 

“The Equal Access Project at St Paul’s Cathedral provides step free access into Sir Christopher Wren’s iconic building for the first time in its 300 year history; two new sinusoidal stone ramps either side of a central staircase to the North Transept door provide a dignified and accessible welcome to all. Providing the dignity of equal access by a thoughtful and innovative design, this project demonstrates an exemplar of access standards in heritage settings. As lead consultant, Caroe Architecture Ltd are submitting this nomination on behalf of the whole team who worked together to successfully complete this project.” 

RICS-Logo | Quatrefoils

September 12, 2022

LABC’s Building Excellence Awards 2022 Grand Finals

Extremely proud to see we have been selected as a Regional Winner and are a shortlisted finalist for LABC‘s Grand Finals of their LABC Building Excellence Awards 2022. Selected for ‘Best Public or Community Building’ with The Roundhouse, Birmingham https://www.aksward.com/projects/the-roundhouse-birmingham/! View a full list of regional winners at https://lnkd.in/eByjwe-f thank you for your support and recognition. Best of luck to our fellow shortlisted! Congratulations to our team and associates.

The Grand Finals take place on Friday 27th of January 2023.

  • Region: West Midlands
  • Project Team: Kier Infrastructure /Regional Civils, Burrell Foley Fischer, National Trust & Canal & River Trust, AKSWard, Couch Perry Wilkes
  • Local Authority: Acivico (Building Consultancy) Ltd

Shropshire Council's building control team receive national recognition - Shropshire Council Newsroom

September 7, 2022

Summer Away Day 2022

In July this year during the extraordinary British heatwave, the AKSWard offices finally got back together at Merton College Grounds, Oxford – for a well-deserved ‘Away Day’. An event packed with ball sports, table tennis, cricket and BBQ’s; the team celebrated another successful summer!

COVID-19 really changed the landscape of how businesses just like ours work today, one of these changes being reduced social interactions (to put it nicely!). As a company that prides itself on its passion, creativity and inspiration; collaborating as a team is crucial to our projects. We are very proud of our team for handling those unprecedented times with initiative, never letting the pandemic get in the way of their spectacular work. Here at AKSWard we have adapted to these new ways of working – whilst remaining uninterrupted in delivering amazing results to our clients.

We believe it is important to emphasize the impact of people. You cannot design and build incredible infrastructure without people. We envisage structures powerful enough to host places of healing, learning and developing – whilst capturing the art of architectural beauty. All this and more, we cannot do without people.

Look below at some of the snapshots from the AKSWard Away Day 22’!



July 23, 2020

Old Palace Lodge Hotel, Dunstable: Repair and restraint of the old clunch wall

Our Technical Director Matt Groves has recently published an article about Old Palace Lodge Hotel in Dunstable repair and restraint of the old clunch wall in Listed Heritage magazine July/August issue.

The Old Palace Lodge Hotel was creating a Tudor garden landscaping scheme in the area of ground formerly occupied by ‘The Norman King’ public house. The Norman King was opened in the
1960s and comprised a thatched roof over predominantly brickwork walls. One wall of the building on the street facing elevation, however, incorporated a panel of much older, clunch stone masonry.

Clunch stone is another name for chalk when used in construction and is normally softer and more friable than other building stones. It is susceptible to weathering as it is highly permeable and susceptible to pollution driven acid erosion. Moisture is the principal cause of its deterioration. The clunch found in the wall panel would have come from the nearby Tottenhoe Quarry, part of a chalk seam that extends into Cambridgeshire and is often referred to as Cambridgeshire Clunch.

The site team were unable to find a solution that was acceptable to all parties and AKSWard was commissioned for their conservation knowledge to review the issues and propose a solution that would both be structurally secure and follow good conservation principles.

To read full article please follow the link below:

Matt Groves article for Listed Heritage – Old Palace Lodge Hotel, Dunstable

As seen in Listed Heritage, membership journal of the Listed Property Owners’ Club



June 28, 2020

Selecting the right beam repair

Our Technical Director Matt Groves has published an article about Selecting the right beam repair in Listed Heritage magazine July/August 2018 issue.

This article discusses the importance of understanding structural behaviour when making decisions about repairs. To demonstrate this it will consider variances in the scarf joints utilised in the repair of two different timbers of a 16th-century barn in Bedfordshire: the truss tie  and purlin.

In the first instance, it is important to understand the typical forces that arise in beams.

Beams are typically subject to tension, compression, shear, bending and torsion. Torsion is not relevant to the examples given here and will not be considered further. Tension is well understood and relates to a force that tries to pull an object apart. Compression is the opposite of tension and is again well understood. It refers to forces trying to push opposite ends of an object together.

Read more

March 20, 2020

AKSWard COVID-19 Statement

The COVID-19 coronavirus is dominating the news and will impact all of us personally and professionally. AKSWard Ltd is responding to Government advice and this, as we know, is changing on a daily basis as the virus spreads. It is a great risk to our industry which relies of on collaboration to deliver successful projects.

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