What better way to welcome in the Easter weekend than with an early morning blast through the Test Valley. Today’s peloton included Steve Hollick, Patrick Fisher, Jamie Harper, Louis Cornell, Bruce Harper, Yousef Al Hilly and Brian Morton.
If you work for a civil and structural engineering consultancy, there is a high probability that most of the working day is spent seated using an IT system. Being keen to promote a happy and healthy workplace, Directors at the Romsey based consultants WFBA have encouraged their staff to form a 5-A-Side football team which competes regularly against other businesses within the construction industry.
“It’s a great way of offering a challenge to the guys to get away from their desks and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. The football has become a weekly team building exercise with us training together and playing monthly competitive matches,” said Technical Director Steve Hollick, who used to play as a semi pro goalkeeper and is a former goalkeeping coach and manager for AFC Totton.
The matches also act as a networking opportunity. “It’s a superb way for the younger members of staff to meet their contemporaries from other companies we work with and put a face to a name.” said Steve. “The WFBA team have enough players to challenge teams at 5, 6 or even 7 a-side and are able to travel to matches to suit our opposition, but normally the games are hosted around the Southampton area.”
With spring approaching, the formation of a cycle team is now in progress so that other members of the company can participate using their rural office location as a base to enjoy the Hampshire lanes and countryside.
Any business wishing to play against the WFBA team can contact Steve.Hollick@wfba.co.uk
What better way to start a Friday than a little outing around the Test Valley with the ever expanding WFBA Cycling Club. A chilly start but some stunning scenery in the early morning sun greeted the Peloton which welcomed Jamie Harper for his first outing along with Steve Hollick, Patrick Fisher, Nick Groves and yours truly.
The Winchester Guildhall was the venue for the appointment of the Institution of Structural Engineers new Chairman of the Southern Regional Group. Alastair Craig, Technical Director Romsey based consulting civil and structural engineering firm WFBA has taken the chair for the next 2 years of the institute that has membership of over 900 professional engineers in the region and works closely with universities in the region to encourage career development.
The Institution has over 28,000 members working in 105 countries around the world and is an internationally recognised source of expertise and information concerning all issues that involve structural engineering and public safety within the built environment. The core work of the Institution is supporting and protecting the profession of structural engineering by upholding professional standards and acting as an international voice on behalf of structural engineers.
Both the President Joe Kindregan, who flew in from Dublin, and Saprava Bhattacharya the outgoing Regional Chairman congratulated Alastair on his new appointment.
“During my tenure as Chairman I am keen to strengthen our relationships with local Universities and assist in improving the pathway from education to industry,” said Alastair Craig “Beyond that I would like to improve the support we offer our recently graduated engineers in preparation for their professional exams. We have a new and enthusiastic committee and I look forward to concentrating our energy in these areas over the next year.”
For the last 2 years WFBA has supported Alastair’s has supported Architectural Students at Portsmouth University by providing practical advice on design project on a monthly basis. During each visit Alastair has the opportunity to demonstrate the key role structural engineers play in the development of a building and how an architect can make best use of that experience and expertise.
The Civil Engineering team at Hampshire based consulting civil and structural engineering company WFBA, has been expanded. The team, managed by Director Bill Brown, now includes Kirsty Dye, Rob Lowe and Kirsten Glen with the longer serving team members, Paul Todd, John Comer, and Sam Wicks. Bill Brown said that the introduction of two very experienced engineers and the addition of Kirsten Glen from Plymouth University, who is studying Civil and Coastal Engineering and has just commenced a 1 year placement with the Romsey based consultants, will help them meet the increasing demand for solutions to construction issues, often created due to the shortage of normal building plots.
Kirsty Dye joins following 15 years’ experience, specialising in adoptable and private sewer designs, working with the Environment Agency and Local Lead Flood Authorities to achieve full and comprehensive drainage solutions in compliance with sustainability principles. Since 2008, Rob Lowe brings a wealth of experience having worked for Hampshire County Council Highways and latterly with a small number of commercial property developers as Engineering Manager.
“The challenges for developers are getting increasingly more difficult as opportunities on simple, flat well-drained plots of land is outstripped by demand. Often the value of the land is determined by what is done under the surface to make it fit for purpose,” said Bill Brown. “We help architects and developers to be able to build something almost anywhere provided it is considered viable and can gain planning approval.”
The Civils team are currently assigned to projects including Brockhurst Gate Retail Park where they designed a cost effective sustainable drainage solution, also site wide infrastructure upgrades and operational facilities for Associated British Ports in Southampton and Lowestoft; reconfiguration of a client’s 7 acre facility to improve plant flow, maintenance and storage activities to secure and develop the business.
The introduction of Patrick Fisher as Senior Engineer to the Hampshire based consulting civil and structural engineering company WFBA, makes him the 6th recruited from the same national competitor they all worked for some 23 years ago. The founder and Director of WFBA, Bill Brown, and fellow Director Nick Groves worked in the same team there prior to launching their own company in 1995.
“We are delighted to have Patrick as the latest member of the team having recently welcomed Senior Engineer Brian Morton just 6 months ago,” said Bill Brown. “We have a similar philosophy as our previous employer and believe lessons learned there combined with our own style of leadership, customer focus and project delivery has stimulated business growth.”
Patrick Fisher said that he and his counterparts at WFBA, are pleased with the great variety of clients and projects he has the opportunity of working on, a situation developed by the proactive consultancy which now has a turnover of £1.85m from its newly expanded offices near Romsey.
“We don’t want to sound like we are an old boys club, but the younger members of the 30 strong team of professionals do benefit from the knowledge and successful approach that can flourish from our example,” said Bill Brown.
The company is currently working on over 100 projects at various stages of completion, ranging from marine, commercial, residential, hospitality industries.
The quarterly meeting of Southern Construction and Property Breakfast Club saw a boost of members when it located to the Portsmouth Marriott hotel. The club organisers and sponsors welcomed over 90 developers, planners, land agents and other construction key industry related people.
David Ardley, Director of international property and construction consultancy company Gleeds said that the aim is now to move the club meetings to various towns and cities within the next 18 months, describing it as roadshow that would enable people to link up with other professionals in a way that will benefit the construction industry. Richard Summers, Urban Designer and Director from Southampton based Boyle+Summers Ltd and Nick Groves, Director at Romsey based consulting civil and structural engineers WFBA, agreed that trying different venues was an interesting idea and hoped to see an increase in numbers and diversity of attendees from across the region: “A key factor in the success of the organising members, is our ability at being more creative with our solutions to maximise the use and value of land for our clients. This is a message we wish to share!”
Shane Mason, Regional Director with Acheson Construction in Chandlers Ford said that the Club is now becoming an important ‘must attend’ event for any serious developer: “It’s a very quick way of reaching experienced and knowledgeable professionals who can make a difference to the degree of success of a building project and its viability.”
“We are fortunate that the southern area is still a vibrant region for development in most sectors including commerce, leisure and residential properties,” added Nick Groves. “None of us can afford to be complacent in the current economic cycle and it remains important to continue offering competitive fees commensurate with the high quality service we provide, whilst ensuring a reasonable profit margin.”
Anyone wishing to attend the next club breakfast to be held at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton on Thursday 13th December should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Caption: (From left) David Ardley, Nick Groves, Richard Summers and Shane Mason greet members at the Marriott in Portsmouth.
The high-rise buildings of Portsmouth are soon to be joined by the 12 storey new Travelodge Hotel as preparations are made for it’s its accent into the skyline. Kirsten Glen from Plymouth University, who has just commenced a 1 year placement with the Romsey based consulting civil and structural engineering company WFBA, had the opportunity to visit the site next to Catherine House, the student housing flats on Stanhope Road, where Senior Technician Mark Montaniel and Civil Technician Sam Wicks have been ensuring that the drainage and below ground civil engineering work is fully coordinated during the early stages of the build to ensure a smooth transition to superstructure construction.
“The mix of disciplines involved to ensure the contractors can proceed with confidence is vital at this important stage,” said Kirsten Glen, who is studying Civil and Coastal Engineering.
Working to designs by Maidenhead Architects SKDdesign, WFBA Director Nick Groves says that once opened in the spring of 2019, it will be the 20th hotel project for which the company has provided consultancy services.
“Since April 2016 we have been looking at design options and assisting with obtaining planning permission, going thorough design development and producing final information for tender and construction. Our team has used 3D modelling techniques to collaborate with the design and construction team in line with the principles of BIM. The experience with Travelodge enables us to support the proven formula that works for the successful group, and its team of architects and construction management team,” said Nick Groves.
Three new team members have been appointed at the Hampshire based consulting civil and structural engineering company WFBA. Matt Hatch, Philip Lee, and Lewis Safe all admit that range and diversity of clients and projects were major factors in their decision to join the 27strong consulting team.
Matt Hatch from Braishfield, with 30 years’ experience in the industry, joins as Senior Revit Technician after 9 years’ experience with various companies in the region. Having started in the industry using a drawing board, Matt now uses his knowledge of computer aided modelling technology to support various projects. His first at WFBA was a new Travelodge development in North London.
Eastleigh’s Lewis Safe, as Graduate Structural engineer, will use his experience gained on residential construction projects with a previous company and his degree from Plymouth University to support the senior engineers on increasingly complex projects and work towards chartered status.
As Trainee Structural Engineer, former draughtsman from Poole, Philip Lee, will use his HNC in Engineering from Southampton Solent University to great advantage. In September Philip will embark on a 4 year degree in Civil Engineering at London Kingston University as part of the company commitment to staff development
WFBA Director Nick Groves said; “Each of the new team members has been carefully selected not only for their experience and potential, but also to fit with our philosophy and team culture to ensure the business can continue to meet the demands of clients, architects, developers and planning consultants across the South.”
WFBA’s expansion allows them to widen the structural and civil engineering services. The scale of project can vary from a £15,000 private home extension to a £35 million commercial development and turnover is expected to grow this year from £1.28million to £1.45million. The company is set to expand into adjacent offices at their Romsey base in July.
Due to our continuing success in winning challenging projects, WFBA are seeking both Structural Engineers and Civil Engineers to join our team in Braishfield. We have a varied portfolio of work across a range of industry sectors, including Education, Healthcare, Residential, Commercial, Retail and Marine. If you have a proactive, solution focused approach to design and are interested in joining a dynamic and growing organisation this opportunity could be for you.
We are currently seeking 2 Structural Engineers who can ideally design in most structural materials. You should have a proven ability to work alone but with supervision commensurate with experience. You must have a good relevant degree minimum 2:1 and above (Structural or Civil Engineering) or an equivalent qualification and have a minimum of 2 - 4 years UK based Consultancy experience
As part of the Structural Engineering team, you will be responsible for undertaking structural design, calculations and drawings for a wide range of projects using all structural materials. You must be well organised, have good communication skills, work well in a team and have the ability to coordinate effectively with other disciplines.
· Graduate Structural Engineer (grad+2 min)
· Structural Engineer (grad+4 min)
Civil Engineers (Infrastructure)
We are currently seeking 2 Civil Engineers (Infrastructure) to join our Civil & Structural Engineering Consultancy and provide technical assistance on a range of Engineering projects across the UK.
Candidates are required to have achieved a Civil Engineering degree minimum 2:1 and above and have a minimum of 2 - 4 years UK based Consultancy experience and you must be well organised and able to demonstrate your working usage of AutoCAD/Civils 3D/WinDes (MicroDrainage) software.
As part of the Civil Engineering team, you will be responsible for undertaking Civil Engineering & Infrastructure design, calculations and drawings for a wide range of residential & commercial projects and have exposure to working on Section 38, 104 & 278 agreements. You will need to have good communication skills, work well in a team and have the ability to coordinate below ground drainage, services and pavement design. Flood risk assessment and marine experience would be advantageous
· Graduate Civil Engineer (grad+2 min)
· Senior Civil Engineer (chartered or very near chartered)
To be considered or if you are after more information for the role, please send your CV or message to Nick Groves on email@example.com
Bill Brown of Hampshire based consulting civil and structural engineering company WFBA is one of a few experts in the region who undertake independent forensic investigations that help to determine what mistakes have been made, either during the design or construction on site, when a project is subject to a legal dispute. Due to the in-depth focus and effort required, he tries to limit his time to four investigations a year on behalf of clients or solicitors.
Very few of the claims reach the specialist court, the Technology and Construction Court in London, as many are settled through robust dispute resolution between the parties and their insurers to avoid the huge costs of litigation. Bill, with over 40 years’ experience as a structural engineer, says that it is often found that insufficient communication between the main three parties, project client, the design team and the building contractor, to be the main cause of the problem eventually leading to a dispute once the building becomes the subject of arbitration.
“Many cases show that there has been a lack of clarity between the parties involved, with no clear lines of communication and responsibilities flowing through the design and construction phases. The construction and design teams should always work close together as extremely expensive problems can occur if this is not the case. It is very much in the best interest of the client to ensure that his design team are properly engaged and frequent inspections are made as work progresses to ensure design integrity is maintained,” said Bill Brown. “Often the investigation finds an element of blame across all the parties involved due to a series of errors and what can largely be considered as innocent mistakes, there is not always absolute guilt. These could be avoided if the proper checks and controls are in place”
WFBA’s Consulting Engineer Paul Todd is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration and will also be called to assess a series of infrastructure related claims every year. Both Bill and Paul ensure that their reports are circulated within their professional team of specialists so that they continually benefit from the findings which help to avoid similar mistakes and the process is useful for validating their own systems.
“Simply by ensuring the design team are not disengaged from the construction stages and frequent audits and inspections are undertaken, potential construction project failures can be rectified before minor problems grow into major claims, even on projects with very tight budgets” confirms Bill.
Romsey based WFBA has appointed Andy “Alpaca” Davis as a Senior Technician at the expanding consulting civil and structural engineering firm. Andy, from Totton, studied at the Southampton Technical College and prior to WFBA, held a similar management role with an international company.
When not working on multi-million pound construction projects for clients including McCarthy & Stone, Travelodge, and Southampton University, and some of the UK’s leading Architects, Andy with his wife Sally care for 6 male and 7 female Alpacas. After 4 years of breeding, five of the animals have gained top awards in local shows, including 1st in Class and reserve Champion at Romsey Show, 1stin Class and reserve Champion at Ellingham and Ringwood Show and 1st in Class and Champion at Honiton Show.
Nick Groves, Director at WFBA, says that Andy has one of the more unusual hobbies within the team of 26 employees: “It can be a stressful environment working on projects varying from a £25,000 private home extension to a £35 million commercial development so having a rural pastime can only be a good thing!”
Romsey based consulting civil and structural engineering firm WFBA has supported Architectural Students at Portsmouth University by lending their Technical Director Alastair Craig to offer practical advice on design project on a monthly basis. During each visit Alastair has the opportunity to demonstrate the key role structural engineers play in the development of a building and how an architect can make best use of what they can offer. By spending around 30 minutes with each student helps the young designers consider how to best use a wide choice of building materials available to them to not only make a building project both functional and visually impressive, but also robust and sustainable for the long term future.
“The sessions with the part one and part two students are designed to show the important early input an engineer can offer to a design. It’s an interesting and in my view essential approach to the project based course work as this training will help them to consider and appreciate the many factors that influence a design to determine what can be achieved and built on a given site;” said Alastair
At WFBA, the busy team of 25 are currently applying their skill and knowledge to a number of major projects for clients including McCarthy & Stone, Travelodge, and Southampton University, as well as wide ranging selection of projects across England for many key Architects. The scale of projects can vary from a £25,000 private home extension to a £35 million commercial development. WFBA annual turnover now exceeds £1,200,000.
Romsey-based consulting civil and structural engineering company WFBA is continuing to introduce additional members of staff to their expanding team. Harry Hunter graduated from Plymouth University in 2014 and since then has been working within the infrastructure team for a practice based in Exeter. Harry has relocated to Hampshire and to WFBA and is now working towards Chartered Accreditation with the Institute of Civil Engineering. His appointment at WFBA will strengthen our civil engineering team and our offering to existing and new clients.
Two new team members are from the Hampshire region. After 8 years with Southampton based AKS Ward, Graham Machin joins as a Senior Structural Engineer engaged on a variety of projects including a new eleven storey hotel scheme design for Portsmouth. His ambition is to gain his Chartership within the next few years.
Romsey’s Tom Marshall started with WFBA as a summer intern in 2015. Now having gained his Master of Science in Civil Engineering at Cardiff University, he has been appointed as a Graduate Structural Engineer and supports the established team that problem solves on a range of intricate and sometimes frustrating projects!
WFBA Director Nick Groves, who founded the company in 1995 with Managing Director Bill Brown said; “We are fortunate to be recommended by existing clients across a diverse range of market sectors which has contributed to the strong ongoing demand for our consultancy services. The scale of projects can vary from a £15,000 private home extension to a £30 million commercial development.”
Anyone who joins the £1,000,000 turnover company will not only work with architects and developers within Hampshire but on construction projects throughout the UK. These range from new Travelodge Hotels, retirement homes across the south for McCarthy and Stone, housing developments, complex refurbishments and one-off prestige projects.
Romsey-based consulting civil and structural engineering company WFBA says that by attending the University of Southampton Careers Fair for the first time, they are hopeful that they will be able to recruit the number of graduate engineers and enthusiastic undergraduates for summer placements as the business expand amid a national shortage of skilled people.
“We have already increased our technical team by 7 this year and based on our current and forecast workload will be able to accommodate the same growth in 2017,” said Managing Director Bill Brown who founded the company in 1995 with fellow consultant Nick Groves.
Anyone who joins the £1,000,000 turnover company will not only work with architects and developers within Hampshire but on construction projects throughout the UK. These range from several new Travelodge Hotels, retirement homes across the south for McCarthy and Stone, small housing developments, complex refurbishments and one-off prestige projects.
“We are very pleased with our expansion across the country and the diverse range of projects are appreciated by our team of experienced professionals.The scale of projects can vary from a £15,000 private home extension to a £30 million commercial development. We are fortunate to be recommended by existing clients across a diverse range of market sectors which has contributed to the strong ongoing demand for our consultancy services.”
The ability to support projects has been greatly influenced by our investment in the latest BIM (Building Information Modelling) software which enables greater collaboration between the design team and their clients.
Our trainee John Comer is just about to embark on the 2nd year of his HNC in Civil Engineering at Southampton Solent University. John joined WFBA after completing his A levels just over a year ago, as he was undecided about embarking on a university degree course. We immediately recognised his potential and encouraged him to embark on the HNC program at SSU with support from WFBA and after successfully completing his first year, John is looking forward to completing the course and moving forward with his career. Keep up the good work John!
After offering Portsmouth University Student Jamie Harper a much contested Summer Placement, the expanding Romsey based consulting civil and structural engineering company WFBA has offered a full time job to start his career. Jamie, 25 from Ringwood has had the ambition to become involved with the construction industry from a young age and both an uncle and a grandfather have urged him to consider following in their footsteps as a Civil Engineer.
WFBA Director Nick Groves says that in a short time with the consultancy, Jamie has been involved with a number of projects including the conversion and refurbishment of the Regal Cinema in Fordingbridge designed by local Architects BrightSpace to include a small, thirty seat cinema with a bar and eight, one-bedroom apartments, and retain and restore the art deco structure.
“Jamie, now in his 4th year at University, shows great potential to succeed in our industry so we are delighted that he has accepted our offer and will be welcomed to our team after completing his masters degree,” said Nick Groves.
WFBA has responded to demand from the building and construction industry by restructuring its team and is embarking on a recruitment campaign to increase its team from 18 to potentially 28 over the next 12 months. WFBA’s Managing Director Bill Brown, who founded the £1 million turnover business in 1995, said that the restructuring has commenced with the promotion of 3 of their established engineering team to Technical Directors.
Clinton Lee has been a Project Engineer then Principal Engineer during his 15 years with WFBA and Steelwork specialist Philip Reynolds has held similar roles over the same period. Steve Hollick has 10 years experience with the company, specialising in the draughting side of the business and expanding BIM capability to meet client demands.
“I’m delighted that these key people have accepted the challenge to help move the company forward,” said Bill Brown. “This creates a strong base to build from and we now look to employ further staff with a range of experience to complement these key appointments, including placement students from Universities through to Senior Engineers, to support the regions Architects and developers.”
WFBA have a diverse portfolio of projects, recently including new attractions at Paultons Park, housing developments from Cornwall to London, commercial developments for ABP in Southampton and retirement developments across the south for McCarthy & Stone.
Expanding Hampshire Structural Engineers Appoints new Technical Director
Romsey based consulting civil and structural engineering firm WFBA have welcomed Alastair Craig as Technical Director at the 20 year old consultancy. The appointment is the start of an expansion programme that will see the team grow from 18 to more than 27 over the next 12 months. Alastair Craig’s most recent roles since he qualified as a Chartered structural engineer includes an Associate position with Elliott Wood Partnership in central London and most recently as a Technical Director with Southampton based AKS Ward.
WFBA’s founder and Managing Director Bill Brown says that Alastair is the first of a number of key appointments to support their expansion this year and ensure that the company meets the standards demanded from its growing client base.
“We are delighted that Alastair has joined our dedicated team and that his ambition fits perfectly with that of my fellow director Nick Groves and I to enhance WFBA as we support major projects for the construction industry across the UK,” said Bill Brown.