Login Register

Property award finalists vie to be named Professional Firm of the Year

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 17, 2014

  • Awcock Ward Partnership has worked on projects including Bideford Marina

  • The Millfield Centre at Millfield School is among HLM's standout projects

  • LHC Architecture applied its urban planning skills to the 'Taunton Rethink'

  • Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole (PBWC) Architects project

Comments (0)

In the sixth of a series profiling the shortlisted finalists in the Michelmores/Western Morning News Annual Property Awards,the candidates for the John Laurence Professional Firm of the Year award are featured.

In this category, sponsored by Interserve Construction Limited, judges considered the shortlisted firms' projects, investment in staff, client care, quality of service and contribution to the local and regional economies.

The award winners will be announced at a Gala Dinner at St Mellion International Resort on May 8.

Awcock Ward Partnership (AWP), Exeter

AWP is a regional civil engineering consultancy providing specialist development, planning and infrastructure services to the property industry. They started trading in November 2012 with a team of seven engineers and technicians and since then they have more than doubled in size to a current team of 15.

The firm works closely with developers and house builders, masterplanners and other professionals to add engineering input from the initial stages of site evaluation and acquisition, through the planning process to detail design.

To demonstrate the breadth of work undertaken during 2013, AWP selected six high profile projects including: the former Belmont Hospital, Tiverton; Premier Inn, Honiton; Millbay Marina, Plymouth; Petroc College, Tiverton; Churchtown, Saltash; and Bideford Marina.

On these projects AWP have either undertaken the engineering assessment (flood risk, drainage strategies, highway access, transport) required to support planning applications, or undertaken the detailed infrastructure design. Over 90% of their work is repeat business or recommendations to prospective new clients from existing clients or other professionals.

Although a private limited company, AWP operates very much as a 'partnership' - a partnership with clients, a partnership with other professionals and a ‘John Lewis style’ partnership with colleagues who enjoy profit-sharing, half yearly bonuses and a company pension scheme.

Despite being in their first year of trading, the firm has taken on three graduate trainees and three technicians who are undertaking part-time training at Exeter College with AWP paying their tuition fees.

HLM, Plymouth

Comprising architects, landscape architects, urban designers, interior designers, and sustainability advisors, HLM are experienced in a broad range of sectors including education, health, defence, justice, civic, commercial and residential. The firm is celebrating its 50th year of operation in the UK and opened its Plymouth office in 2009.

Their design ethos is “to achieve optimal design solutions to minimise the life cycle cost of our buildings. We recognise the importance of design quality, sustainability and innovation, and projects are driven by this in pursuit of overall design excellence.”

Standout projects include: Plymouth University Diving and Marine Centre; CFRS Fire Stations and Head Quarters, Hayle and Tolvaddon, Cornwall; Millfield Business Centre, Millfield School, Somerset; and Airbourne Paint Workshop, Bournemouth.

HLM nurtures a family ethos and offers healthcare plans, childcare vouchers, life assurance, interest free loans, product discount services and pension schemes. They operate job-share, home-working, staggered hours, career breaks, term-time-only, school-hours-only contracts and back-to-work schemes. Regular staff skills analysis ensures maximum output, minimal waste, job satisfaction and a competitive edge.

The firm is accredited with ISO:9001/14001/18001 quality management systems which they use as benchmarks to continuously measure and track their service performance.

HLM’s entry also describes how the firm prioritises local resources and projects; conducts a vigorous corporate social responsibility programme such as working with schools and charitable fund-raising, and a range of prestigious awards including the Sunday Times Top 100 Best Small Companies to Work for 2011 to 2013.

Despite opening their Plymouth office during the recession, HLM has doubled the offices target budget in its five years of operation.

LHC Architecture + Urbanism, Exeter

LHC is a large, well-established, architectural, urban design and landscape firm based in the South West, with considerable experience in regeneration, masterplanning, education, housing, commercial, workplaces and refurbishment with a focus on functional, sustainable and beautiful everyday design.

The firm’s unique selling point is their “ability to deliver projects from strategic masterplanning and concept design through to technical delivery, integrating landscape architecture within built environments to provide a holistic approach to design.”

In terms of urban design and landscape, LHC delivered projects including Victoria Gardens, Newton Abbot, Upton Park and Lincombe Woods, Torbay, and a number of successful planning consents for sustainable residential and mixed-use developments in sensitive areas.

In 2013 LHC also completed the South West Energy Centre in Paignton, Eagle House on Exeter Science Park, an eight-lab/classroom block and extension at Kingsbridge Community College Science Centre and the highly-sustainable, purpose-designed School of Animal Husbandry at Bicton College in East Devon.

There were also a wide range of other commercial, residential and refurbishment projects designed throughout 2013.

The firm prioritises referral of work to local and regionally based sub-consultants - surveyors, engineers and ecologists – and procures professional services locally as well as relying upon local supply chains for its goods and services.

LHC is committed to maintaining a reputation for exemplar client care and service quality which is underpinned by ISO 9001:2008 quality assurance registration. The firm also enjoys high levels of repeat business from clients such as Yelverton Properties, Cavanna Homes, South Devon College, Kingsbridge College and Clinton Devon Estates.

Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole (PBWC) Architects, St. Ives

Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects are a passionate team of 16 architectural design professionals based in St Ives, Cornwall. Their work is based in the South West, although the firm’s maritime experience extends to marina work in Europe and lifeboat stations around the coast of the UK for the RNLI.

The majority of the firm’s projects range between £2 million and £10 million in construction value with the largest scheme in recent years being the £33 million campus for Truro and Penwith College in Penzance. Other significant projects for 2013 have included: the refurbishment of County Hall for Cornwall Council in Truro; a new construction hall for Pendennis Super Yachts in Falmouth; Bodmin Office – a new workspace for Cornwall Council; Porthcressa Regeneration – new build and refurbishment projects on St Marys for the Council of the Isles of Scilly; and Meadow Flats – 26 sheltered accommodation homes in St Ives for the Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

However, for PBWC, perhaps the most significant project of the year was their own new place of work. The practice was established in 1973 and has been based in St Ives since that time. In 2013 the firm celebrated 40 years in business by acquiring a former petrol station in St Ives and redeveloping it to create ‘Atlantic Studio’ their new 21st century headquarters.

The firm has invested in Building Information Modelling and has retrained the whole team to use the innovative 3D BIM design technology. During the year, they employed two new members of staff and saw over £20 million of construction projects completed.

PBWC’s entry concludes: “Our location in St Ives and our varied portfolio has allowed us to combine home-grown talent with internationally-sourced specialists to create a highly-skilled studio. We are a working ‘family’ underpinned by a sound understanding of sustainability, adaptation of existing buildings and robust design for extreme coastal environments.”

Read more from Western Morning News

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters

YOUR COMMENTS AWAITING MODERATION

 
 

MORE NEWS HEADLINES