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Alan Wood & Partners to double in size

CIVIL and structural engineering firm, Alan Wood & Partners, is planning to double the size of its business over the next five years, on the back of impressive recent growth.

The Hull-headquartered company currently has a turnover of £6m, but with predicted 10-20% growth year-on-year, the firm is expecting strong results in the next five years.

“It’s achievable,” director Nick Ward said. “It will be steady year-on-year growth for us.”

Adding to its rapid growth, Alan Wood & Partners has recently launched its fifth office in Lincoln.

The move follows the relocation of the firm’s Sheffield office, run by Jonathan Saunders, from the AMP to Hallamshire House, where it has purchased the premises. The firm also has offices in York and Scarborough.

Moving forward, Mr Ward says Alan Wood & Partners has its eyes on further new sites in the North of England it is looking to expand into.

In more good news, the business has made a number of promotions and appointments. Over the past year it has appointed a number of staff to director level including Mark Barwood, who has been appointed as director at the Lincoln office, James Gibson, who has been appointed as director of civil engineering in York  and Mark Coates, who has been promoted to director of building surveying in Hull.

The company, launched in 1968, is one of the largest of its kind in the north of England with capabilities in building surveying, geotechnical and geoenvironmental investigations and reporting, as well as infrastructure design, among a number of other areas.

Current projects the business – which has a team of 85 - is working on include the £310m Green Port Hull development, the £4.5m project underway at Holy Trinity Church in Hull which will see it transform itself into an events venue in time for the city becoming UK City of Culture 2017, the expansion of JZ Flowers in Newport and the new health hub at the University of Hull. Other clients include property developer Horncastle, Ispace, MOD and Smith & Nephew.

“Our success is down to predominantly being in many different markets and providing a high calibre service leading to repeat business,” Mr Ward said.

“But the growth of Hull has been great and helped our success, too. There is a lot happening in Hull which brings huge opportunity for us. There’s a feel good factor and that has generated more work because people are wanting to move projects forward.

“Hull is a different place now. There’s a ‘can-do’ attitude and it’s a good place to be. As a business, the opportunities are massive.”

Mr Ward attributes some of the company’s growth in Hull as being down to Mark Coates joining the team and expanding the project management side of the business.

He added that the firm is also seeing a big increase in the residential housing market and is working with a number of housebuilders across Yorkshire including Keepmoat, Persimmon and Linden.

“We are seeing a lot of activity from private developers, too” Mr Ward added.

Despite all the positives, Mr Ward highlighted a “massive” skills shortage, particularly in Hull and the North of England.

“This industry is in crisis at the moment,” he said. “The construction industry was badly damaged in the recession and people have gone off and done something different. People need to be working with apprentices and graduates to bring the talent back through.”

Alan Wood & Partners has a number of apprentices across the business and is keen to continue working to bring through young talent to tackle to skills issues.

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