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Making A Difference

On a warm spring evening, I went to interview the Designer of this highly regarded project, Charlie Baker and our Engineer, Ian Grindey. Listening as they discuss the various projects they’ve undertaken and the challenges they have encountered and resolved is fascinating.

Charlie is animated as he describes his career to date and after joking about the accidental path that led him here, he started talking about his business in detail. is primarily a retrofit company. Their aim is to make old buildings fit for a low carbon future by radically reducing the amount of energy they use but make them do so with as much poetry as possible. Charlie explained that to achieve this he needs someone who shares the same vision, that can help him find the route from an idea to reality and that can “provide a key element of the design process that is missing.”

Ian, Director of ING Design, offers just that; Ian qualified in 1996 and has been an Anderselite’s contractor for eight years - undertaking three assignments during this period and always receiving exceptional feedback along the way. He is key to this collaboration and as they are both fuelled by a genuine love of buildings it’s impossible not to get carried away by their enthusiasm.

MadLab is in a building possibly over 200 years old that has repeatedly reinvented itself and offers some unique challenges. Entry into the building gives access to a new three-storey staircase that adds both safe means of escape and some exceptional visual drama. One of the challenges of a building this old is the uncertainty over what holds what up! So, the structure is designed and arranged to minimise the loads on parts of the building liable to be more fragile. The primary support structure also helps to tie the building together. The steel was cut straight from the 3D computer model in Darwen. The folded lightweight treads, surprising many with their rigidity despite an apparent lack of visible support, were folded in Middleton and welded in Mossley by Barry Crombie, an exceptionally rare kind of craftsman whose collaboration with Charlie goes back 20 years.

Ian explains: “The downside of contract engineering can be the lack of recognition, so this is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate what can be achieved when architectural and structural designs are truly developed in unison.” The nomination has raised awareness of both and ING Design and the acknowledgement could be a great platform for their future growth.

Anderselite are delighted for both companies and, as Charlie suggests: “If we can shift the paradigm of both education and recruitment to make us pro-active then Anders can be as key as in their service to clients and the sustainability factors in the future.”

‘To make sustainability an aspirational item on an agenda offers “our children a future, not an apology”’.

Upon leaving the meeting, I cannot help but feel optimistic for what’s in store – when Ian and Charlie combine their respective skills something akin to ‘art’ is the inevitable result and it’s invigorating to know their partnership creates such exciting possibilities. As a recruitment company that specialises in the built environment this is our mission - to connect the right people to help our clients and candidates become more successful.

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