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Civil and Structural Engineering firm, Sutcliffe, has reported success during the UK lockdown, with employee retention, no pay cuts for its 47 staff and a major framework win, despite the ongoing impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The multi-disciplinary, BIM-accredited chartered consultants, which has offices in Liverpool, Manchester, North Wales and London, cites having a healthy workbook before lockdown, as well as recording its most successful year to date in 2019, as the main reasons it has been able to navigate lockdown with minimal disruption. It means the company, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, begins the autumn with confidence and stability, as it focuses its energies firmly on the future.

It comes as the company secures a spot on the four-year Procure Partnerships Framework Professional Services Agreement, to cover structural engineering, civil and highway engineering, and principal design in the north west. It is testimony to Sutcliffe’s reputation as trusted providers of quality structural and civil engineering and geo-environmental services, specifically in the education, healthcare, leisure, and blue light sectors, and takes the firm’s total of framework positions to in excess of 30.

Sean Keyes, managing director, Sutcliffe, said:

“I am pleased to report that we have come through the first fight unscathed – we have retained all staff during this period, there have been no pay cuts, and most staff are now back in the office, as we focus on the future with confidence and stability. To be appointed to the Procure Partnerships Framework Professional Services Agreement is also fantastic news, and is thanks to Sutcliffe’s team of skilled consultants who deliver from concept to completion with authenticity and integrity.

“Of course, that is not to say the last six months have been easy, as I am sure many businesses will attest to. Like everyone in the industry, we have seen the market shrink and projects slow down, but we were in the fortunate position of going into the pandemic on the back of our most successful year to date, with a balanced and varied portfolio of sturdy clients. This has allowed us to be more measured and smart with our business decisions. The support from the Government, through the CBILS scheme and the staggering of VAT payments has also been welcome.

“Looking ahead, we continue to take a strategic approach to grow the business in the next five years, maintaining our market share and tapping into new territories, such as the Midlands. It is also encouraging to see politicians – at national and city region level – recognise the construction sector as key to the country’s growth post-Covid, with particular impetus on the future of our young people. Sutcliffe is committed to ensuring young talent is harnessed and moulded ready for long-term, sustainable work in the industry – and we are planning to take on more apprentices each year than we ever have before.

“What remains key is that we continue being a responsible employer. The safety and wellbeing of our staff is paramount – measures are in place to ensure everyone can work safely within government guidelines, and we offer a fluid working policy which provides flexibility during this extraordinary time in our history.”

The Procure Partnerships Framework was established to support public sector bodies to procure supplier partners to help them deliver major capital projects and will run alongside its already established national contractor frameworks. Procure Partnerships estimates the framework could account for a spend of up to £500m during the course of four years over the 11 regions in England and Wales.

Robbie Blackhurst, Procure Partnerships Framework director, said:

“We were extremely impressed with the quality of tenders received and delighted with the calibre of suppliers that we now have locked into our four year agreement. The breadth of public sector delivery experience across our supplier partners is impressive and we are excited to work with and support them.”

Sutcliffe’s current project with Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, executing civil engineering works on the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital, is now nearing completion. Other ongoing projects include Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust – who has instructed the firm to extend one of Sutcliffe’s previous buildings with IBI Group architects for a new suite of operating theatres. This multi-million pound project will be on site later in the year.

Sutcliffe is also acting engineer on the Shorrock Lane modular housing scheme in Blackburn, which is on schedule to deliver 16 affordable family homes in October for Great Places Housing Group.

Back in April, Sutcliffe announced an 11% year-on-year increase in profit for the last financial year and a steady increase in turnover, representing three consecutive years of growth, despite the political uncertainty that was posed by Brexit.

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