As a new recruit, I decided to reflect on my experiences since joining Evolve at such a milestone period for the company.
Now in its 21st year, Evolve is currently completing a visioning and rebranding process as it looks ahead to an exciting new phase. It is clear that the range of projects at Evolve is very diverse, from new build to refurbishment, across many sectors including commercial, residential, life sciences, education, retail and logistics. The client base is extensive and a lot of the work is won through repeat business. I have come to realise that clients, architects and other designers, as well as contractors, have a very high regard for the enthusiastic and passionate way that Evolve go about the business of engineering design consultancy.
The main thing I have found is a sense of great comradery amongst the staff. Everybody is willing to help each other, pulling together for the benefit of all. There is a real sense of constantly striving to achieve better. Over the years, Evolve has worked on some great projects and it is an exciting place for upcoming engineers to develop their skills. The practice is set up as an open forum allowing all to contribute and be heard. Arising from this, the team are motivated to become more inspirational, pushing through on their individual goals and making the company a better place to work. It is very much a people business.
Design with regard to fire has been an area where Evolve has been plotting new pathways through the design process over the past couple of months. Evolve are not new to the design of CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) buildings, having designed many over past years in order to create great places to be in and, more recently, in helping to address the low embodied carbon agenda. Design has become challenging since recent fire testing has uncovered issues with lamella thicknesses and glue performance, as well as the potential for fires reigniting post-extinction by the fire brigade. I have been actively involved with the Evolve team in working with specialists to work through solutions and approaches including embracing auto-extinction fire calculations to enable mass-timber framing to be adopted in mid-rise commercial buildings. These initiatives will enable clients to safely choose mass timber and timber-hybrid buildings without having to layer up on the finishes. This will help frame costs to remain economic and help create beautiful spaces with aesthetic qualities that internal wood can bring, as well as delivering on the sustainable design agenda. This proactive involvement in crucial areas of design is in line with Evolve’s motivation to collaborate in the construction industry with like minded organisations and lift the reputation of the construction industry.
Evolve has always been at the forefront of sustainable design. Over the past few years, the team has embraced assessing embodied carbon, benchmarking and
testing projects against LETI targets with output of results using the SCORS carbon rating scheme. In addition to process, the design approach embraces regenerative design principles, undertaking lean design and offering clients good quality sustainable solutions. The approach offers more than just designing using low carbon materials. It also embraces a holistic approach where thermal mass and reducing operational energy is as important as the overall embodied carbon reduction objectives. The approach has proved helpful to aspirational clients who are also plotting their way on a carbon net zero pathway. One of the initiatives I have undertaken since joining has been to pool the knowledge gained over many projects, so Evolve can share the wider picture with existing and prospective clients and the industry as a whole. This will help in understanding the best way to balance economy with low carbon design enhancements to create better value buildings and spaces to work and live in. It is clear, all at Evolve understand that good design can have a positive impact on the world.
The niche consultancy tag that has been with Evolve over the past 21 years has placed the company in a great place to go forward. The future visioning has helped focus how the company can grow while maintaining the core principles on which it was set up. My joining has come at an exciting time, and I am looking forward to using my experience and passion for engineering to help contribute to developing a great future at Evolve.