Category Archives: Commerical

Structural Awards 2017 – 50th Year!

John Staves Structural Awards 2017

Structural Awards 2017 – a fantastic night celebrating the extraordinary work of Structural Engineers across the world!

structural awards 2017

The winners and commended projects were announced during The Structural Awards ceremony, held at The Brewery, London on Friday 17 November.

The evening culminated in the presentation of The Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence which was awarded to the British Airways i360 (Brighton) by Jacobs

Structural Awards 2017

Addressing the audience, current President Ian Firth said

“Now in its 50th year, the awards once again celebrate the world’s most outstanding structural engineering achievements. 

Showcasing exemplary engineering, creativity and innovation, the 14 ground-breaking winners were chosen from a shortlist of 45 projects, in turn selected from 119 entries. 

The reach of the institution all over the world and the absolutely crucial role that structural engineers play in designing safe and elegant structures everywhere

Entries were received from 22 countries and after careful evaluation the judging panel shortlisted 45 impressive projects from Europe, North America, Australasia, South America and Asia

Every year the judges are impressed by the consistently high standard of the entries – this year is no exception

I know such is the strength of the entries that reviewing the entries challenged and tested the judging panel. An excellent short list that we are about to see and we are all eager to discover which projects were chosen as winners.

The judging panel were delighted to see such a positive response, especially as this year when we unveiling our new awards categories. These new categories places a stronger emphasis than before on the structural characteristics of a project rather than the type of building and therefore it represented a reflection of the engineers skills and technical accomplishments involved.

We have before us tonight an excellent international and exciting shortlist, reflecting the full spectrum of our professions work

Thank you to the judges for their diligence and care in evaluating every entry and selecting the winners

In this 50th year of the awards we have a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the remarkable achievements of our profession over the last half century and consider the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for us in the next

My year as president has shown me the remarkable drive and ability of our membership and has filled me with huge confidence for the coming year.”

The Winners

Tall or Slender Structures

Winner :- British Airways i360 at Brighton 

Long Span Structures

Winner:- San Mames Football Stadium, Cable roof extension IDOM

Structural Awards 2017

Vehicle Bridges

Winner:- Destructor Bridge, COWI Bath

Pedestrian Bridges

Winner:- The new mobile walkway of Geneva’s Jet d’Eau INGENI SA Geneva, Switzerland

Small Projects (under 1 million)

Winner:- The Pump House, Webb Yates Engineers, London

Structural awards 2017

Small Projects (between 1-3 million)

Winner:- Adele 25 stage

Structural Awards 2017

Structures in Extreme Conditions

Winner:- MeyGen Phase 1A – Tidal turbine support structures

Structural Awards 2017

Structural Heritage

Winner:- Rejuvenation of Makatote Rail viaduct

Opus international consultants

Structural Transformation

Winner:- The Design Museum, Arup, London

Construction Innovation

Winner:- Tallwood house at Brock Commons

Fast + Epp Vancover, Canada

structural awards 2017

Construction Integration

National Taichung Theater

Arup, Taichung, Taiwan

structural awards 2017

Structural Artistry

Winner:- Baha’i Temple of South America

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Patricio Bertholt M halcrow and Josef Gartner

structural awards 2017

Outstanding Value

Winner:- ElevArch (UK) Freyssinet and BHA

Structural awards 2017


Winner:- The Enterprise Centre, BDP Norwich

To read more about this amazing night, please click here

Were you at the awards? Do any of the winners stand out to you as your personal favourite?

We’d love to hear from you

Maintenance of External Fire Escape Staircases and Drill Towers

drill tower and fire escape

Today I’m talking to John Staves, our Managing Director about the issues of maintaining drill towers and external fire escapes and the need for regular structural checks.

Why Are Regular Maintenance Inspections So Important?

You have a safety obligation as an owner of that structure to maintain it in a reasonable way so that it doesn’t cause injury to anybody using it.

Regular maintenance inspections allows you to;

  • head off serious problems, which if left unchecked, can be far more costly
  • to identify problems before they become major issues and helps you avoid any unplanned maintenance activity
  • Increase the life expectancy of your drill towers and / or external staircases

How Often Should You Carry Out Maintenance Inspections?

I think maintenance inspections to check the structure every three years is sensible.

But this might be increased if you are in a more aggressive environment eg coastal where you have got marine effects on corrosion.

What Are The Main Cause of Deterioration?

External Staircases

Typically it’s weather exposure because they are external structures – they are bound to deteriorate over time.

Even a galvanised structure has a life to it. Just because it’s galvanised doesn’t mean it will last forever – you still have to schedule regular inspections!

Sometimes it’s poor initial design details, for example where a design has allowed water to pond in a particular location.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of age.

Drill Towers – Masonry Structures

Not only do they have the normal weathering environment (masonry does need re-pointing over a period of time anyway) but it’s accelerated on a drill tower because of the drill practice.

Most drill towers are subject to high pressure hosing (usually around first floor level) often there is damage to the surface of the brickwork, which would need identifying and treating.

Typically What Involvement Have You Had With Structural Assessments Of Drill Towers And External Staircases?

We have carried out 50 + of inspections of external staircases and drill towers across the UK for Fire Authorities and commercial customers.

Mainly as part of an on-going maintenance program, but recently we were called into a commercial property where they’d had a fire.

The fire brigade had attended the site and criticised the external fire escape. The owners of the building appointed us carry out a full structural assessment the condition of the fire escape and report on our findings.

What Do You Report On?

We visit sites and carry out a visual structural survey of the building fabric. We inspect staircases, platforms, walkways, ladders and drill towers.

We provide a Structural Inspection Report which includes a Schedule of Defects.

The Structural Report would;

  • identify any structural defects on, or around the staircase/drill tower
  • identify the causes of the defect
  • suggest remedial works, the urgency of repair and maintenance options

Planned Maintenance

We operate on a Red, Amber and Green system, helping you identify issues that are most urgent so you can plan your maintenance more efficiently.

red amber green








For example, for one of our customers we had identified a number of staircases within their portfolio that required external painting.

They were able to package together the work so that the contractors could move efficiently from site to site and carry out the work for the lower cost.

Why Use A Structural Engineer To Carry Out An Assessments And Not A Surveyor?

Fundamentally drill towers and external staircases are structures.

If you are looking for a relevant competent person it makes sense that a structural engineer inspects the structure.

A good structural engineer will have knowledge of the actual structure and general building fabric. Drill towers are loadbearing structures, so it’s all structure and a structural engineer would be the most appropriate person to make the assessment.

Generally we are not looking at general building defects, we are talking about defects that affect the structural components – which is usually the basis of safety.

If your structure is failing – that’s a safety issue.

Are you responsible for the maintenance of any external staircases or drill towers?

When was the last time you carried out a Health Check on your External Staircases / Drill Towers?

Why not book a no obligation telephone consultation to find out how we could help you fulfill your Health & Safety obligations. Call us today on 0118 962 9666.

“Having worked well with Michael Aubrey Partnership before, they were an obvious choice to undertake structural assessments of external staircases/drill towers. They surveyed a number of sites across a large geographical area. Their reports were clear and concise and the “Red, Amber, Green” assessment helped us easily identify sites where remedial work was urgent. Using this information we were able to plan our maintenance programme in the most efficient way”.Graeme Major, Estate and Facilities Manager, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service

Celebrating 20 Years In Business!

December 2014 marks a milestone for Michael Aubrey Partnership as we celebrate 20 years of delivering innovative design solutions to our Customers.

BIM Team


In that time we have grown from just two Directors to a team of twelve. Celebrating this achievement Managing Director, John Staves said

“It’s been a rollercoaster 20 years. We’ve been through two recessions and thankfully we’re still here. The last recession in 2009 was probably the hardest, but we’ve pulled through and our early adoption of BIM was one of the main reasons that we have survived.

I am passionate about good design and firmly believe that if you put the effort into design before it reaches site, you have fewer site problems, resulting in projects that run on time and rarely go over budget.

We wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for our brilliant team, most of whom have been with us since the early days, so I’d like to say a big thank you to them.”

What better way to celebrate than with a cake, champagne and a great night out with our team in Wokingham.

Thank you to all our customers who have supported us along the way and to Suzanne Seymour for making our cake!

BIM cake


Local MP Opens Extension At Nine Mile Ride School

Excited children, teachers and Governors gathered this morning, to celebrate the opening of the new reception area at Nine Mile Ride School – and we were blessed with the beautiful sunshine!

Mrs Brown, Head Teacher at Nine Mile Ride School welcomed Dr Phillip Lee MP, to officially open the new reception.

We are thrilled to have been involved in this project and to hear the positive things that Dr Lee had to say about the project.

“An amazing project brought in on time and on budget” 

Partnering With Wokingham District Council

A Consistent Approach: One Local Authority To Cover The Whole Country!

We are delighted to announce that we are now official partners with Wokingham Borough Council for all Local Authority Building Regulation Approvals.








What This Means For Our Customers;

    • This scheme helps to simplify and speed up the building process generating substantial savings in time and money.
    • A dedicated professional Building Control Surveyor from the preferred local authority becomes part of the design team to offer advice on all projects no matter where they are in the country.
    • The design team approach ensures that any issues can be resolved early in the design process and will eliminate the need for expensive corrections later in the construction phase.
    • The single point of contact provided through this scheme results in a consistent approach to plan appraisal.
    • Any local conditions, site specific information and necessary consultations are investigated on behalf of the customer

A Consistent Approach = Faster Approvals

Because we are dealing with one Local Authority, our customers will benefit from a consistent approach and improved pre-application service. This will increase your chance of approval first time and help speed up the whole application process.

CIOB Talk Construction Event, London

Great to be part of the CIOB Talk Construction Event in London this week. Keynote address from Hayley Miller, Head of Construction at the Cabinet Office, outlining Construction 2025 – the Government’s new industrial strategy for construction.

Talk Construction

Talk Construction

Looking to drive efficiency and growth through collaboration – a 33% reduction in both initial construction costs and whole life costs and a 50% reduction in the overall time taken from inception to completion of new build and refurbished assets.

Using new, fresh, innovative approaches to working and utilising BIM, Building Information Modelling in the right way, we believe this will take us in the right direction.

Talk Construction

Presidential Visit and Dinner

As Thames Valley Chairman of the Institution of Structural Engineers, John Staves welcomes the President, Y K Cheng to the historic market town of Wokingham

RICS Oxford Briefing 2013

John Staves sharing his passion for BIM with RICS Surveyors at the 2013 Oxford Briefing Conference at the River and Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Opening Ceremony for Windsor Coronation Arch Project

The Opening Ceremony for the Coronation Arches took place on Saturday at the end of the Long Walk in Windsor to mark 60 years since the Queen’s coronation.

The spectacular design features six 9m span arches with 4.5m high crown. The steel structure is hidden by willow, woven into the steel skeleton.

The design was constrained by the fact that the arches were not permitted to have substantial foundations – screw piles were specified so they caused minimal disruption and could be easily removed when the arches are taken down.

Windsor archescoronation arch, windsor






alan titchmarsh


Gardener and broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh unveiling the Windsor Coronation Arch project at the end of the Long Walk



Read more about it at www.bbcnews

Windsor Arches, Windsor, Berkshire

The Coronation Arch project for the Royal Windsor Rose and Horticultural Society. The official opening will be on the 14 September 2013 at 11am at the top of the Long Walk.

Windsor Arches 3D




Windsor Arches