In October 2022 a team from CBG Consultants braved the elements and took part in the annual SLL Ready Steady Light competition, for the second year running. Held in the grounds of Rose Bruford College, with a helpful team of current students on hand, up to fifteen teams take part. Each team is assigned an area, and an allocation of just six light fittings. They have to come up with a concept for their scheme, then implement it and create a narrative. Light fittings can be exchanged at the swap shop, and a variety of colour gels are available. At around 7pm it’s tools down and a welcome hot meal in the campus café, while judges pace the sites and mutter secretly amongst themselves. Does the concept work? Is that a bit of stray glare they can see? Why has the light spilt over and illuminated an ugly TV dish? Could those cables running on the ground have been concealed better? Teams themselves visit their competitors’ installations, and vote for the peer award. After a tense wait, all is revealed, with awards given for best technical installation, best artistic scheme, and the winning peer award.
After some playing around with light fittings (really the main point of the evening), the CBG team focused on just a couple of interesting features on one tree: a derelict bird box, and a small hollow on a cut trunk. Using some narrow beam spots with colour filters aimed onto these focal points, the stage was set for a dramatic showdown between law enforcement and an errant acorn-stealing squirrel. An eerie red foreground wash amongst the branches completed the sense of an immersive crime scene.
To our delight, the team scooped the artistic prize and was also praised by the technical award judges. As for the squirrel? Well, that’s another story….
CBG Project Parsons North features in Architects’ Journal
CBG Consultants was appointed to provide a full M&E design package RIBA stages 3-7 on the recently completed development at Parsons North, which is featured in today’s Architects’ Journal. This mixed-use development for Westminster City Council provides 60 new homes, as well as restoring and rejuvenating a neighbourhood of streets and gardens to this corner of the Edgware Road.
This project utilised BIM and CBG produced the M&E design package using Revit in line with the BIM Execution Plan.
After postponement of Light + Building from its scheduled year in 2020, and again from earlier this year, it has finally gone ahead. Chris Dicks headed out to Frankfurt, meeting both current suppliers and many potential future ones. With 12 halls of potential exhibitors to visit, it is truly immense. Happily, if you didn’t get there yourself, here are Chris’ top 10 picks of the show:
Timber, timber everywhere. That’s right, this year’s go-to material for making light fixtures with is wood. Many interesting suppliers had wooden fixtures on display, ranging from the highly technical veneer lined glass tubes of LZF from Spain, beautifully crafted pieces by Trilum, to more homely intricate lampshades by Tom Rossau. The lower temperature of LEDs compared to traditional halogen lamps, plus an awareness of the embodied carbon of materials makes this an ideal moment to look to sustainable timber. On Chris’ wish list is a supplier focused on using salvaged timber or even a client’s own forestry stock to turn into a beautiful lighting piece.
Slick innovative LED panels you can customise to shape and even fit other lights into. Folio have an innovative single edge lit panel system that allows a whole range of new options to combine ambient lighting with directional. Other services such as CCTV cameras can be integrated too.
German manufacturer Meyer (supplied in the UK by Commercial Lighting) have a well engineered new insert for handrail lighting. Small LED inserts fit into holes which can be site drilled, with a clever proprietary retention system to prevent even a determined tinkerer to remove without use of a special tool.
Retro industrial style lighting remains as on-trend as ever in 2022. One manufacturer has stayed the course since 1933, Edinburgh based Coolicon Lighting. With a product range and manufacturing process largely unchanged since then, it proves that good design endures.
Italian manufacturer Linea Light had a large stand in Hall 3.1, complete with a pizza restaurant in it. Despite a UK office, they are not so well known over here. Linea Light offer a huge range of products, from small decorative external lighting through to office lights and high quality gallery spotlights. CBG Consultants worked with them extensively at our Pipers Corner School theatre project. Highlights of their stand included the Ink system to create a bespoke wall/ceiling power rail, and the precision Pound range of spotlights. Their demonstration area neatly showed the drama a framing projector can bring to a space. (see main article picture)
Antidark were one of many Danish manufacturers with beautifully designed products, aimed at both professional designers and the retail market. Available through Nest in the UK, their turned brass range of pendants and spots stood out.
For possibly the smallest light source on display, a mention to DGA. As well as tiny LED spots about the size of a pencil end, their slick range of display case and shelf lights have great applications from museums to retail.
UK supplier Holophane make a good range of external, industrial and sport facilities lighting. Often mounted tens of metres high, seeing the products up close allows the careful design process to be understood. Ever wondered why their Haloprism fitting is shaped like a donut? Well, it’s so the heat dissipates naturally through a convection process, a bit like a small chimney.
Amber chip lighting for external applications is becoming a big development area, with some research suggesting it may reduce the impact on wildlife and benefit human sleep patterns too. One manufacturer with a nice demonstration was Iluminia, from Spain. Seen next to a 2700K standard warm light source, the amber chip makes this seem almost like a cool white in comparison.
And lastly… for those who like to make their own light fittings from salvaged shades or scrap metal, veteran British manufacturer S. Lilley & Son from Birmingham had a small stand. Located in Hall 8, amongst global suppliers of OEM components, their timeless range of small turned metal lamp holders, grommets, threaded metal stems and every other item of lightmongery you could need was nice to see.
Crosfields School wins Building Project of the Year under £10m in the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2022 & Education Project of the Year Offsite Award 2022
A private co-educational school in the heart of Reading, Crosfields uses a two-storey curved structure, which protects trees on the site, creates solar shading, and utilises cross-laminated timber to substantially reduce embodied carbon.
CBG Consultants were engaged to design an energy-efficient Senior School Building, that includes a Café, Performance Space, Teaching classrooms, Library, Welfare Hub, and Academic resources.
In collaboration with David Miller Architects, CBG provided the M&E, Lighting, Building physics, BIM aspects and RIBA Stage 4C Design Information. Sustainable solutions included a brise soleil façade to help reduce overheating during the summer months and 47m² of photovoltaic panes on the roof to generate electricity.
In2science UK CBG Workshop – starting a career in STEM
We are working in partnership with the charity In2science UK. Due to poverty and social background being huge obstacles for young people to obtain a career within the STEM industry, the charity sets out to help overcome these barriers. Working with industry professionals, In2science UK provides young people from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to gain practical insight, knowledge, and confidence. Students work alongside and attend workshops hosted by industry professionals.
We have set up a workshop and present to a group of 16-18 year old students who are interested in starting a career within STEM.
The structure we lay out for our In2science UK workshops are as follows:
Discussion of the presenter’s career path to highlight to the students the variable nature of career development and to reassure them that even when things don’t go to plan, you can still achieve positive experiences and ultimately have a successful career in STEM.
Reassure students that it is okay to not know exactly what they want to do at their stage of their life. The suggestion is to try out different STEM subjects through online learning and work placements to see where their interest lies.
Explain why engineering was chosen as a career path for the presenter. What qualifications and memberships are needed to get into engineering.
What it means to be a building services engineer, what types of disciplines are covered and the types of challenges/problems we try to resolve.
Explain about the company and building services consultancy. The type of tasks the students can expect during the working day.
What technologies and software we use to aid within our work and building services engineering.
Key questions we get asked from students are:
“What piece of advice would you give someone our age to help start a career in engineering?”
Try to attend a summer vocational placement to make contacts and understand whether you enjoy the industry. Microsoft Excel is a very useful tool for calculations and efficiently analysing data, so we recommend that students obtain a good knowledge on its abilities.
“Can you advise of any free online tuition that could help get into STEM and help us understand which area we would like to pursue?”
The Khan Academy has numerous free online tutorials on various STEM subjects.
“What do you think is the biggest challenge in the building services sector right now?”
New regulations (June 2022) have just been put into place and as a company, we are trying to learn how they will affect our future designs. In 2025 the ‘Future Homes Standard’ will be released, and this will change how we design domestic buildings.
The feedback that we have received from attendees after our workshops:
“It was very informative based around engineering careers, so I now know much more than before, and questions were answered well.”
“Insightful on a career that I thought of doing but didn’t know 100% what it was about.”
“It was interesting to get to hear from different people about their journey into their respective careers and jobs.”
For information on how you can volunteer for In2scienceUK and inspire a young person into STEM click here
Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day! #INWED 2022
Whilst a massive increase from the 10.5% recorded in 2010, there is still room for improvement. As an IIP company, we are keen to diversify our workforce, and ensure more women are represented in engineering roles.
Studies have shown that men tend to over-estimate their abilities, while women tend to be more risk-averse, often under-estimating their abilities. This is a key factor to consider when looking at the career profiles of males versus females in typically male-dominated fields. It suggests that a good mix of the two approaches – confidence and caution – are critical to ensuring that projects are carried out safely and effectively.
One of our Electrical Engineers went from a Graduate to a Senior in just over five years. In a predominately male industry, this is particularly impressive for a female engineer.
This particular engineer has always found the logical side of the industry appealing, following in the footsteps of her father. However, the creative side of things also appealed, which led to her narrowing down her focus to Lighting as she progressed.
“More men than women seem to be interested in engineering,” she says, “and I think women in general are more focused on the creative side of things. Perhaps they miss the fact that there is creativity involved in engineering too.”
When asked what kind of advice she would give to a woman wishing to enter the field but feeling apprehensive to do so, our engineer said “just try not to feel different. It will take time, but just quietly prove yourself, over weeks and months. It will happen.”
In the mean time, any women seeking to join CBG Consultants in any Engineering role can expect personalized mentorship from Senior Engineers and a range of company activities and rewards. We actively encourage more women to apply by offering various benefits, and maintaining our IIP Silver status.
The Quad North building is one of the original campus buildings, built in the 1970s and the proposed home of the university’s dedicated medical school. Laboratories, research facilities, and engineering workshops grace its halls. But the building needed modernisation to accommodate several new departments.
As other parts of the building needed to remain in use, we implemented a bespoke phased approach. We undertook stock surveys of the site, examined the re-wiring and re-modelling, and assisted with the creation of new laboratories, teaching spaces and anatomy suite. We added solar panels for energy efficiency, and eradicated an existing asbestos risk.
We have been involved with the Brunel University Quad North project since 2019, and now that it is finally nearing completion, we are proud to have played a hand in the education of the UK’s future medical professionals.
Cold beer on a warm day, and the promise of poignantly finite weekend is one of life’s most bittersweet pleasures.
Once every few weeks, our teams have Friday afternoon off to sample the culinary delights of different venues around Oxford. Last week, some of our mechanical engineers – and one of our Directors – enjoyed a sumptuous vegetarian and vegan feast at The Punter Pub Oxford.
Revamped as a plant-based menu in late 2019/early 2020, The Punter now caters to the growing number of people in Oxford seeking to adopt this lifestyle.
From a menu stacked with eye-wateringly delicious, locally-sourced options, the team enjoyed a healthy, sustainability-friendly lunch, while taking in the psychedelic artwork on the walls of the pub.
As an Investors in People (Silver) company, CBG Consultants place value on the importance of social connection between team members and managers, both in the office and out. Creating space for teams and managers to decompress and engage with each other outside of the office is key to overall happiness and health. Connecting over food has long been known to create a space share more free-thinking ideas.
We hosted the Oxfordshire Construction Professionals’ Networking event as part of our 10th anniversary celebrations.
The monthly events all take place at venues in central Oxford, and offer the perfect chance for industry professionals to catch up, or even meet each other for the first time – always useful when you have previously only communicated by email! The events are free to attend, and there are no heavy sales pitches or long presentations.
The Handle Bar Oxford provided a relaxed and quirky venue for industry professionals to catch up over a glass of wine. With gravlax whirls and beetroot falafels in hand, guests mingled and discussed the latest news in their sectors.
The prize winners were Rob Goacher, of Jessop & Cook Architects, and Josh Chana of Faithful & Gould.
If you are a construction industry professional, and haven’t attended an OCPN event, find out more here, and keep up with the news and views of your associates.