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Structurally sound

27 Feb 2009

Last month we invited readers of Prospect and visitors to to tell us which companies, suppliers and consultants allied to architecture they felt stood head and shoulder above their competitors. Around 400 ultimately took part in the survey.  Here we reveal who our readers deemed the best in the business.

Last month we invited readers of Prospect and visitors to to tell us which companies, suppliers and consultants allied to architecture they felt stood head and shoulder above their competitors. Around 400 ultimately took part in the survey.  Here we reveal who our readers deemed the best in the business.


Buro Happold
Service Engineers of the Year
Buro Happold has recently published its 'Ten year book', a celebration of a decades work throughout Scotland and Northern Europe. The volume highlights 50 multi-disciplinary engineering projects throughout the region with emphasis on the Scottish connection.

Rod Manson, director of Happold's Glasgow office has strived to form a northern European hub from his Glasgow base. This represents an important statement of ambition from someone who harbours real desire to place Scotland at the centre of a network of northern economies, not isolated on the periphery.

An international engineering firm of Buro's standing on our doorstep brings enormous benefit to architects working at home and abroad and is a tremendous boon to the Scottish economy.

Manson is particularly pleased to have secured the new Library of Birmingham project with Mecanoo Architects: ÒThis has been an enormous achievement and whilst working with a European architect in the UK has provided many challenges, it has also allowed some creative and innovative thinking to be undertaken on this large project. It is also significant that all the engineering on the project will be undertaken from our Glasgow base.'

 The number one slot is comfortable territory for this engineering great and they deservedly top our pantheon of winners. Our voters recognised that from Zaha Hadid's Riverside Museum to the St Andrews Centre and Urquhart Castle, there can be few regions of Scotland not to have been wrought anew at the hands of Buro Happold's skilled engineers.
The firm was also a runner up in our Structural Engineering category.

Structural Engineers of the Year
In an avalanche of cast votes one consistent result came through, Arup were to the fore of reader affections. The global firm of designers, engineers, planners and business consultants pull resources to draw upon a vast network of global expertise, offering outstanding solutions, innovations and value that achieve the best possible results for its clients.
An innovative and fully-integrated approach brings Arup's full complement of skills and knowledge to bear on any design problem. Arup exert a significant influence on the built environment and are the creative force behind many of the world's most creative and sustainable designs.

The past year has proven to be an exceptional one for Arup with many of Scotland's largest building projects being undertaken by the firm, notably Caltongate, Haymatket and Leith Docks. The 2014 Commonwealth Games feature prominently, with the company working on the National Indoor Sports Arena, Velodrome and National Multi Purpose Arena

The past year also provided Arup with an opportunity to diversify their range of support services for the building and planning process. Brian Veitch explains: ÒDemand for our Fire Engineering, Fa¬ćade Engineering, Logistics Consulting, Sustainability Consulting, Lighting Design and Acoustics services have all increased. In Acoustics, use of our SoundLab facility increased Ð this is operated in collaboration with the Digital Design Studio of Glasgow School of Art and offers Ôauralisation', the sound equivalent of visualisation in which the acoustic characteristics of a space can be faithfully reproduced and experienced at design stage.'
It is this breadth of achievement and global pool of local talent that has catapulted Arup to a well deserved top slot in our poll of polls.

David Narro Associates
David Narro Associates specialise in structural engineering, civil engineering and building design.
The practice has enjoyed a superlative 2008, working on no less than three of the eleven projects short listed for the Andrew Doolan best Building in Scotland Award and garnering widespread column inches for their work on ÒA Gathering Space' at the Venice Biennale.

Success in the recent past has powered an ambition for the future, reflected in the opening of a new Glasgow office for the Edinburgh based firm who are keen to reap full advantage of the opportunities that the west coast affords.
Narro has been in the limelight like never before and this heightened profile in the public gaze has seen the team climb in contention to rise above the throng.

Narro attributes ongoing success to word of mouth appreciation of the office's work: ÒOur Clients and Architects continue to appreciate that we provide real advantages to a project both financially, by choosing an efficient and economical structure, and also aesthetically through our appreciation of the architectural requirements.'

This form is to be extrapolated into 2009 with a commitment to offering their unique blend of expertise to the west coast market: ÒWe will build on the Glasgow workload to maintain the new office. Hopefully this will allow us to offer our services to more architectural practices in Glasgow that may not have used us in the past due to our Edinburgh location. Ò

Harley Haddow
Since formation in 1950 Harley Haddow has built up a sterling reputation across the engineering field from their offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Guildford. These broad based foundations have provided the practice with a firm footing and a platform to steady growth, not going unnoticed by our readership.

Haddow employ many skilled trades including chartered engineers, graduate engineers, technicians and a chartered librarian. This diverse talent pool is gelled together with a company ethos that promotes hard work, delivering products that work effectively and consider the environment.

Haddow's Chairman Hamish Young is bullish optimistic for the inevitable improvement in economic fortune that 2009 will bring setting a business goal to: ÒConsolidate our position for the upturn in business.'

Harley Haddow have worked on a wide range of projects encompassing the full gamut of construction breadth from individual dwellings to full masterplanning objects from Shetland to Cornwall.

Recipient of many awards including the Scottish Design Awards: Northern Exposure Award in 2007 for Aqualibrium in Campbeltown, Haddow are exemplary contenders in our engineering run through having scaled the heady heights of success engineering success.


Thomas and Adamson
Surveyors of the Year
Thomas and Adamson bring over 70 years experience in the construction and property industry across the United Kingdom.
T&A place particular emphasis on three key areas. A commitment to quality through the nurture of critical skills, fostering trust from clients by supporting client needs and delivering excellence and from the personality of individuals within the company. Every member of the T&A team possesses the drive, passion and pride that facilitate the practice's ongoing success.
The practice have enjoyed particular growth in the North East of Scotland, recently securing work for the University of Aberdeen, Scotia Homes and NHS Grampian.

It is this commitment to greatness by nurturing company talent which has seen T&A romp to victory in our Best Surveyors short list.

Gardiner & Theobold
Gardiner & Theobold operate a global network of experts managing international project and cost management. G&T draw upon an impressive 165 year history to satisfy all property and construction requirements, priding themselves on a client commitment that stretches from the conception of a project through to follow up feedback in the aftermath of completion.

James Barr
James Barr is a multi-disciplinary property consultancy who combine the skills of chartered surveyors and chartered planners to commanding effect. The practice is focussed on providing a potent mix of skills and experience to match every client's needs and has developed a reputation for integrity, independence and innovation.


Carillion Construction
Contractor of the Year
Carillion is one of the leading support and construction providers in the UK market and has ambition that is truly global in scope.
Carillion promote high quality, cost effective and sustainable solutions that are tailored to meet customer requirements. This is achieved through a unique approach that builds long term relationships with customers through a process of openness and collaboration.

This approach has stood Carillion in good stead racking up a raft of awards from sustainability, community engagement and technical innovation.

Carillions dominance of Prospect's Best Contractor's list is culmination of that success.

ROK prides itself on being ÒThe nation's local builder', a policy realised through the operation of a network of offices in major towns across the UK and utilising the passion of local people with dedication to their communities.

John Fulton (Plumbers) Ltd
John Fulton (Plumbers) Ltd has diversified from plumbing over the years to provide specialist roofing in leadwork, copper, zinc, aluminium and stainless steel. They also provide a traditional tiling and slating service.
A desire to corner new markets has granted Fulton a network of contracts across the country but plumbing remains at the forefront of the business.

Ashleigh (Scotland) Ltd
Ashleigh stress a commitment to reliability, stability and continuity in its work. This solid grounding in the fundamentals casts Ashleigh as a safe pair of hands in even the most demanding of work.
A key factor in Ashleigh's achievements are its commitment to staff, evidenced through award of an industry gold card in the Contractor Skills Certification Scheme, bestowed on companies who have achieved 75% accreditation.

Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Skanska is one of the world's leading construction groups with expertise across all areas of development.
Skanska have capitalised on urbanisation trends to become an industry leader in green building and sustainability. This altruistic approach allows the group to see clearly the opportunities and challenges that the future affords whilst upholding its environmental responsibilities.

Mansell aim to be the UK's first choice construction partner for delivery of services to the community. This sees the group focus on places for people to live, work, learn, meet, travel, have fun and be cared for.

Fleming Buildings Ltd
Fleming promote a strict commitment to expertise, craftsmanship and delivery inspiring confidence in clients that what has been promised, will be delivered.
McAlpine boast a fine and long standing commitment to excellence. From the engineering marvel of the Glenfinnan Viaduct of a century ago to today's O2 Arena, McAlpine boast a status built on a reputation for innovation and quality.

Morrison Facilities Services Ltd
Morrison provide maintenance and facilities management to thousands of homes and public buildings across the UK. Morrison focus on providing lowest cost solutions which do not compromise safety, quality or service delivery.

UBC Group Ltd
UBC has demonstrated adaptability in a fast changing marketplace by accurately forecasting and adapting to market trends. A long term ambition of the group is to expand into a major player in the building, civil engineering and development industries.

Landscape Architects

Rankin Fraser
Landscape Architects of the Year
Rankin Fraser is a new but perfectly formed landscape architectural practice from Edinburgh. Working to the strengths of partners Chris Rankin and Kenny Fraser the duo bring to bear an exemplary CV of recent accomplishments including landscaping for the Scottish Parliament and the Hidden Gardens.

More recently the practice has been involved with the Speirs Locks masterplan in Glasgow and the Highland Housing Fair, a model sustainable community near Inverness.

It is this combined skill and experience which provides Rankin Fraser with an unrivalled grasp of the urban landscape making them worthy winners of our landscape hot shots.

Peter Downing
Peter Downing has undertaken significant landscape works across Glasgow, most notably in Glasgow Green where he helped restore the famous Doulton Fountain.

Gross Max
Gross Max is a proponent of contemporary European landscape architecture, winning numerous competitions and awards for an international portfolio of exciting projects, notably parkland at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. The practice has recently completed work at Rottenrow Gardens.

EDAW aims to create exemplary environments be that by regenerating cities or establishing new communities and open spaces. The practice embraces complexity and works effectively at all scales. This broad strokes mastery of the trade elicits some truly striking and distinctive place making.

City Design Co-operative
City Design Co-operative straddles the totality of landscape design from garden landscapes to strategic planning and accord high status to teaching and research. The office operates under a non-hierarchial structure whereby all full time staff also serve as directors.

Gillespies places due respect on the sanctity of space, endeavouring to work with the defining characteristics and inherent qualities of place to inspire clients, stakeholders and the community by engaging with end users.
The practice is constantly evolving from providing landscape design through to delivering comprehensive and integrated services in urban design, environmental design and some aspects of architecture.


MacRoberts LLP
Construction Law Firm of the Year
MacRoberts LLP has risen to pre-eminence within the Scottish legal profession by providing exemplary service to leading UK and international businesses, financial institutions, public sector organisations and private individuals.
Securing client success drives the full service in everything they do. It is this which is regarded as the one lasting statement about how they go about their business, recently relaunching its online presence in a move aimed at communicating the firms work and profile to an ever growing internet audience.

It is the personal commitment of every partner and employee in delivering this vision that has powered MacRoberts to lofty prominence in our feature.


Consultants of the Year
Atkins is involved in the planning, design and enabling of complex capital projects Ð its project managers ensuring the availability of the required range of skills and direct resources to provide major infrastructure via transportation, buildings, landscape, water, power, distribution and communication.

This breadth of service encompasses a wide remit from individual discipline technical staff providing limited specialist advice through to experienced multidiscipline project teams. Through utilisation of these skills Atkins pride itself on successful completions that are both on time and on budget.

The largest engineering consultancy in the UK was always going to dominate its field and it is no surprise to find them perched comfortably at the head of the pack.

Speirs & Major Associates
Speirs & Major Associates is a specialist lighting architects providing a range of services from daylight and sunlight analysis to artificial lighting design and specification from individual buildings through to masterplans and landscapes.
The practice pride itself on its independence free from commercial ties with companies involved in the manufacture, supply or installation of lighting equipment.

Kevin Murray
Kevin Murray Associates are a specialist consultancy in spatial planning, regeneration, urban design and community consultation. The practice roots its projects within the context of local environments viewing them as dynamic, organic habitats. Murray seeks to understand, accept and creatively guide change in his work.

Sandy Brown (Acoustics)
Sandy Brown Associates LLP is a specialist acoustics consultant providing solutions to a wide range of international projects, notably Foster's National Arena at the SECC.
SBA was founded in 1969 providing the acoustic design of commercial sound recording studios to wide acclaim, building studios for such leading musicians as Cream, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones.

Ben Hamilton-Baillie
Hamilton-Baillie brings specialist knowledge, experience and solutions in reconciling traffic movement with quality public spaces across our cities, towns and villages. Bring ing particular expertise to bear on the principle of shared spaces in street design, this accords the pedestrian priority over motor vehicles to facilitate improvements in safety, congestion and access.


Glasgow City Council
Planner of the year
GCC has overseen a continuing revival in fortune of the post industrial city.
Securing the Commonwealth Games for the blighted east end won plaudits for the Council from our readers as did the continuing expansion of the International Financial Services District.
It is perhaps the Urban Model however which has been the City's greatest achievement of the past year. This, making sense of an abundance of data in photo realistic imagery promises to redefine the way planners interact with architects and, ultimately, the public.

Dumfries and Galloway Council
Dumfries and Galloway Council have taken a proactive stance to kick-start regeneration of Dumfries by establishing a £20m fund in a 10 year programme of investments. The ambitious plan centres upon doubling the town's resident population to around 60,000. The town hopes to follow in the footsteps of Inverness which at one time housed an equivalent population to the Borders town.


Highland Galvanisers
Manufacturer of the Year
Highland Galvanisers is a private company formed by Geoff Crowley 30 years ago. From an initial base in Elgin it has since expanded with a second plant in Cumbernauld to cater for the central Scotland market, which accounts for half of the company's work.

The galvanizing process takes steel and protects it, extending its lifespan up to 10 fold. Highland Galvanizers however has taken this process a stage further with itsr colourgalv technique, this consists of a new coating which combines the corrosion protection of galvanising with the colour and flexibility of powder coating. Colourgalv is available in a range of colours and textures, including a new highly durable Ôanti-graffiti' coating. This low maintenance coating can be guaranteed for up to 25 years.
Highland run the only plant in Scotland which can apply this technology, Crowley is a passionate advocate for the technique, in particular he is keen to convey three key messages:

Not protecting steel is irresponsible. Why not add a dash of colour? Why be restricted to greys? And why spend more money? Colourgalv is of equivalent cost to competitor solutions.

Crowley is almost evangelical in his passion for galvanising as a solution to decay and is perplexed by clients who do not take advantage of the benefits on offer: ÒDespite an increased awareness of issues relating to sustainability, construction specifiers are still failing to adequately protect steel from corrosion, and one of our biggest challenges to date has been getting specifiers to appreciate the significance of what we actually do.
ÒSpecifiers don't realise how important it is to specify the correct coating and as a result, 50% of all the steel produced in the world is used to replace corroded steel. This could easily be addressed if people made informed decisions at the early stages of the design process.'

Russwood, the sustainable timber specialist, is celebrating a successful 2008 capped by the cladding in Scotlarch¨ of the high profile ÒA Gathering Space' exhibition from Gareth Hoskins architects for the Venice Biennale and a separate project for Albyn Housing Association at Broadford on the Isle of Skye.
European Larch has long been used for cladding in northern Europe, thanks to the strong and robust nature of the timber which can be relatively knot free, but is only now finding favour within the UK as an attractive and effective cladding solution.
The texture of the wood naturally ages to a silvery grey colour over time, providing a rustic quality that blends well with landscape.
The future is indeed bright for Russwood as MD, John Russell, revealed: ÒRusswood is currently involved in a joint project with the Centre for Timber Engineering at Napier University.' Russell has been working with Ivor Davies of CTE to devise a clip system whereby timber cladding can be fixed Òinvisibly' to buildings, leaving a clean face free of fixings. Initial market research is very positive and Russwood aims to bring this to the market in 2009.'

Back to February 2009

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