Headteacher, John Bayes, was joined by the local bishop, Right Reverend Mike Harrison, to celebrate the official opening of Thurston CEVC (Church of England Voluntary Controlled) Primary Academy and Thurston Pre-School. School Governors, members of Thedwastre Education Trust, Suffolk County Council and the construction and design teams gathered on site to mark the occasion which included a collective worship involving all of the pupils.

Back in 2020, the construction of the new school began, making it possible to relocate the existing school to a larger site, increasing the number of permanent placements from 210 pupils to 420 pupils. Included in the project was a new standalone 30 place Pre School, operated by Thurston Pre School in addition to their existing facility in the village.

John Bayes, Head teacher at Thurston CEVC Primary Academy, said “We are delighted with our brand-new school. It has been extremely exciting to work closely with the School’s Infrastructure team at Suffolk County Council and Concertus Design and Property Consultants, who have all been fantastic at guiding us step by step on the Thurston CEVC Primary Academy relocation and expansion. We have had a huge amount of support from staff, parents, pupils and governors and are looking forward to our future in our new school”.

This expansion was driven by the anticipated housing developments in the area and will guarantee the continuity of school provision within the village. The new school is located on Norton Road, adjacent to the Linden Homes development and opposite the Hopkins housing development.

Concertus Design and Property Consultants Ltd, delivered the new educational facilities on behalf of the client, Suffolk County Council.

Ian Barber, Senior Project Manager at Concertus, said “The new Thurston Primary School provides a modern learning environment for local children and the larger school site has helped deal with the expansion in the area. The school was designed with the forest school identity at heart, and we are pleased to see the children have settled in so well.”

The old 210 place Primary school was on a constrained site which meant that it was not suitable for expansion. This resulted in a strategic decision by Suffolk County Council, with the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and Thedwastre Education Trust to relocate and expand the existing school to provide the necessary additional school places. The new two-storey building has spacious classrooms with interactive whiteboards, a dance studio and specialist rooms for art-design technology and science as well as a library and large hall. The relocation means that there will be space to expand the school if it needs to grow again.

Rachel Hood, Cabinet Member for Education, SEND and Skills at Suffolk County Council, said: “It’s a wonderful occasion to mark the opening of a new school in Suffolk. The school has been designed to offer the very best lay-out and space, with significant innovative and modern features in the classrooms. I am sure the children are enjoying every moment of it.”

Barnes Construction was appointed by Concertus as the main contractor on this project and played a key part in ensuring the project was handed over on time, despite additional challenges presented by COVID-19.

Mark Whinney, Senior Contracts Manager at Barnes Construction, said “We are thrilled to have worked with Suffolk County Council and Concertus on another new school that helps to meet the needs of the local communities in mid-Suffolk.”

The school opened in September 2021 in time for the new academic year and has since welcomed many local children. The pupils are now enjoying their modern, innovative, and exciting new learning environment, which is set to provide educational benefits to the community for years to come.

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We would like to take a moment to say that we hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you to everyone who has worked with us and supported us during 2021. Please do take a look at some of our highlights from this year on our timeline!

We are closed from 24th December 2021 to 4th January 2022.

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During our recent health and wellbeing day over 20 employees in our Ipswich and Matlock offices packed food bags to donate to our chosen charities – FIND – Families in Need and Chesterfield Foodbank. Over 100 bags were filled with necessary items for over 100 families!

We regularly liaise with the charities we have selected to support this year to ensure we are providing the food they need. As we enter the colder months, we are making sure we understand exactly which vital items the families need throughout these challenging times.

A decision was made earlier this year to incorporate at least one parcel packing session into each of our health and wellbeing days to help our charities throughout the year. As a result of our recent food drives, our employees have reported how they have experienced an increased level of happiness and wellbeing when they have joined together to support our local communities. In addition to Concertus providing over 1000 items to pack on our recent health and wellbeing day, our employees have been very generous with their own donations. We delivered over 80 items on our last trip! Both of our offices have permanent food banks in the Reception areas, which soon become full to the brim!

We are committed to supporting our local communities within the East of England and the East Midlands. Our team are looking forward to continuing supporting our charities and helping to make a significant impact for those in need.

Roisin Williams-O’Gorman, Deputy Project Coordinator, said:

“Concertus Design & Property Consultants have provided Chesterfield Foodbank with valued support during an incredibly difficult time. Since the start of the pandemic we have fed over 9000 people with sadly a quarter of those being children. With numbers continuing to rise month on month donations have been needed now more than ever so that we can continue to support local people in crisis. This is why Concertus’ support has been invaluable. They have done a number of different fundraisers and food drives for us, most recently providing 40 bags of food, which would each feed one person for three days! In total this year Concertus has provided 300 kg of food. This support makes a real difference to people’s lives and helps us to try and make sure that no one goes hungry in our local community”.

What is Net Zero?

The UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) definition states Net Zero is “when the amount of carbon emissions associated with a building’s product and construction stages up to practical completion is zero or negative.” Once a building is operational, UKGBC defines net zero carbon as “when the amount of carbon emissions associated with the building’s operational energy on an annual basis is zero or negative.”

What are our targets?

Our aim is to become Net Zero by 2030.

Britain has the following targets:
• 68% reduction of emissions by 2030
• 78% reduction of emissions by 2035
• Net Zero emissions by 2050

Sir David Attenborough is backing the government’s Net Zero goal of 2050 and has emphasised the balance of radical action and what is achievable. He is also pushing for further investment in the storage and transportation of renewable energy.

Working within the built environment, we will continuously be adapting to change and trying to mitigate the impact our projects and office buildings have. Good progress has been made to date and we will continue to monitor our progress as we continue our journey to Net Zero.

 

What are we doing as a business?

Our growing steering group have been holding monthly meetings which focus on Net Zero (one of our Top 10 Fitness Goals). The steering group have been aligning our professional services to develop conversations with clients around their aspirations and working towards delivering them. Project teams show a passion for reducing our carbon footprint whilst delivering sustainably built environments. Adopting the approach of Fabric First, we recommend environmentally friendly and sustainable materials to our clients.

Our teams continuously strive to decarbonise design solutions and we are actively working with Suffolk County Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, and Derbyshire County Council to achieve their commitment to become Net Zero by 2030. We assisted the councils in their BREEAM strategy and decarbonisation grant application. Concertus’ website has been developed to align with Suffolk County Council’s ask for carbon neutral by 2030 and reflects the expanding services we offer.
We’re delivering two Passivhaus certified care homes – Hockliffe Road (one of the first registered Passivhaus care homes in the UK) and Steppingley Road (the largest registered Passivhaus care provision in the UK).
Accredited with ISO 14001, we develop policies and procedures to adhere to which aids our environmental awareness and contribution to reducing our impact on the environment.

 

What are we doing within our offices?

Our TM44 assessment measures our office buildings’ energy performance and sets environmental objectives for us to achieve. Each objective is placed on our tracker which monitors how and when we plan to achieve these objectives. We continue to reduce the negative impact our office buildings have by implementing practical solutions. Our carbon footprint and energy profile are reported to the Board on a quarterly basis.

Recycling
• We promote recycling and raise awareness regularly, with recycling bins and signage throughout our offices, internal communications sent to employees, and training.
• Employees are encouraged to use less single-use plastic. Each employee has been given a branded metal drinking bottle and reusable shopping bag.
• We work with our waste supplier to ensure all office waste is disposed of responsibly.

Travel
• We annually record how employees travel to work.
• A Green Travel Plan is strongly promoted, which includes substantial discounts for employees that use public transport.
• Employees are encouraged to pre-plan journeys and avoid unnecessary and excessive travel.
• We encourage employees to car share where possible and report quarterly on project visits to check car share opportunities have not been missed.
• The use of electric cars is supported with electric car chargers located within the office car park.
• Employees are encouraged to bike to work with a bike to work scheme incentive, support with national bike to workdays, office cycle storage, showers, and lockers.
• We monitor scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions from our office building and employee mileage when visiting projects. This information is benchmarked to ensure we are performing within the industry standard.

Building Services
• Our office manual heating and air conditioning is only used when required.
• Air conditioning units in the office are serviced every 6 months.
• We use a supplier that has a renewable source of gas energy for our office.
• The office boilers are turned off in the summer months to save energy.
• We use a building management software. This software intelligently monitors the office thermometers and therefore will only heat or cool when necessary, ensuring we are controlling our energy usage.

Business Processes
• Employees are encouraged to use the office in an environmentally friendly way.
• A statement is included within our email signatures to ensure others consider the environment before printing.
• We monitor our printing figures and conduct regular auditing to ensure printing is kept to a minimum. The standard setting for printing when needed is black and white, and to print front and back.
• Local suppliers and contractors are chosen to reduce emissions.
• We purchase cleaning products which we then decant into smaller bottles. These smaller bottles are re-used to reduce our level of plastic waste.

What are our Future Plans?

• Release a pledge to commit to being a sustainable business.
• To release a carbon reduction plan, detailing how we plan to reduce our baseline figures and when.
• Employees will be undertaking training to enable them to advise our clients on their Net Zero goals.
• To become accredited with the Carbon Charter, a sustainable business network which will certify our commitment to adopting carbon reduction measures and sustainable business practices.
• Office car park light bulbs will be upgraded to LED to improve energy efficiency.
• We will be converting to PIR (presence detection for lighting) and daylight linking.
• An energy assessment will be carried out for the office building.
• Kill switches for electrical goods will be installed to make sure less energy is in use whilst these items are on standby.
• Hand dryers will replace paper towels in office bathrooms.
• Compost bins will be placed in our offices.
• Tree planting schemes will be implemented to cancel out the effects of our printing.
• We will continue to review our environmental business objectives.
• Development of key performance indicators to begin reporting to board.
• Implementation of supplier code of conduct with increased focus on sustainability.
• Implementation of measurements to enable recording.
• Increased employee training on how they can reduce their personal environmental impact.

Please continue to let us know your thoughts.

We are pleased to announce we have achieved Best Employer Gold accreditation!

What is Best Employers?

“From its roots as an employee survey, Best Employers has become a community, supporting leaders to continuously develop their organisation’s culture, engagement levels and workplace environment. It encourages learning and collaboration through inspiring events and supports organisations to develop their employee brand through awards and accreditations.” (Credit: https://bestemployers.prs.uk.com/)

We have worked hard to embed our company vision, values, and ethos at every level of the business, putting our employees and clients at the top of our priorities. Our team strive for continuous improvement in all aspects of the business as we continue to develop our culture. The family culture has always been at the heart of the business, with employees working collaboratively to achieve the business’ overall goals. We are extremely proud of our hard work and very grateful for the recognition we have received.

Judge’s comment: “A strong people focus, and a sense of community came across in the application. There are clear development pathways for all and an emphasis on wellbeing.”

News story written and published on East Anglian Daily Times (EADT) to announce the shortlisted businesses:

What a year it’s been – again.

Challenges have continued to rain down on the business world. Not just the widespread Covid-19 disruption, but crises in energy, logistics and labour continue to impact on almost every sector.

At times like these it is more important than ever to celebrate success, to tell inspiring stories, and recognise innovation – and that is exactly what the Suffolk Business Awards 2021 set out to do.

Our 2021 awards shine a spotlight on the resilience, quality and excellence we have here in Suffolk – and we have it in bucket loads.

World-class firms, which can be an inspiration to others. Agile entrepreneurs, who have brilliantly adapted to volatile business conditions.

Many congratulations to all our finalists, selected from hundreds of extremely strong entries. They should be so proud of what they’ve achieved.

Judges have been amazed at the quality, and this should give us confidence that Suffolk’s business community will emerge from current challenges stronger than ever.

The winners of our categories, including overall Business of the Year, will be crowned at an exciting awards night, at Milsoms Kesgrave Hall, on Thursday, November 18.

We thank our headline sponsors Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and Sizewell C, along with all our category sponsors.

We look forward to seeing you at the awards night, when the special guest speaker will be award-winning entrepreneur, founder and CEO of CENTURY, Priya Lakhani, OBE.

Meet the ‘Employer of the Year’ 2021 finalists:

  • Access Community Trust
  • Concertus Design & Property Consultants
  • Cory Brothers Shipping Agency
  • Vertas Group

 

CREDIT: EADT

What is CIF Funding?

Condition Improvement Funding (CIF) offers academies and sixth form colleges the opportunity to apply for additional funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to assist with building improvements or expansions.

 

Who can apply?

  • Single Academy Trusts
  • Small Multi-Academy Trusts with less than 5 schools and 3,000 pupils across the schools within their Trust (MAT’s)
  • Academies
  • Sixth Form Colleges

 

Concertus have a proven track record in securing funding for our clients through the CIF application process. Our experienced multi-disciplinary team of professionals are best placed in ensuring you have the maximum chance of success with your prospective bid this year.

We also offer support to MAT’s with more than 5 schools and over 3,000 pupils across the schools within their Trust, where they are eligible for direct Government funding to maintain and improve their estate. Working alongside the Trust, we understand the current condition of the schools, support the development of annual maintenance programmes and design and manage the projects that are identified as the most critical to ensure the schools operate at full capacity.

We offer a free service in conducting a technical appraisal of your requirements and writing a comprehensive bid on your behalf.

 

What can we help with?

The Concertus team are on hand to help you realise the maximum amount of funding for projects such as:

  • Roof and window replacements
  • Boilers and heating system upgrades and replacements
  • Increasing site safeguarding
  • Asbestos removal
  • Fire safety
  • Classroom expansions
  • Kitchen upgrades
  • Sports facilities

 

Key date for your diary:

Deadline for all applicants to submit applications: 15th December 2021 at 12 noon.

 

What are the next steps?

If you would like further assistance in preparing a bid and would like to have an assessment of your requirements, please get in touch with us.

Creating the Greenest County Awards 2021 sponsors show how they are making a difference.

Suffolk facilities management company Vertas, Opus People Solutions and design and property consultants Concertus are coming together to sponsor Suffolk’s Creating the Greenest County Awards, taking place on 12 November at The Hold in Ipswich.

As we approach the United Nations COP26 event in November, all three companies are working hard to improve their environmental credentials and help Suffolk move towards its net zero carbon 2030 target.

Vertas has committed to minimising the impact of its operations on the environment, particularly emissions to air, land and water, and continually improving its environmental performance. Driving positive change through its supply chain has eliminated the use of single use plastic cutlery throughout its sites, instead using wooden alternatives, removing over 1,000,000 plastic items a year.

Vertas has also focused on eliminating the waste it produces, over the last 12 months it has collected 18,720 litres of cooking oil to turn into biodiesel and recycled 500,000 kilos of waste paper back into paper products, which is the equivalent of saving 8,500 trees.

Opus has recently achieved ISO14001 certification for environmental management, offering green travel discounts, a Cycle 2 Work scheme and ensuring printed materials are made from recyclable/sustainable materials and come from environmentally responsible suppliers to encourage positive change.

Concertus is passionate about using sustainable design to reduce its carbon footprint whilst delivering the best engineered solutions for the built environment. Adopting the approach of Fabric First, it is committed to recommend environmentally friendly and sustainable materials, and is currently delivering two Passivhaus certified care homes – Hockliffe Road (one of the first registered Passivhaus care homes in the UK) and Steppingley Road (the largest registered Passivhaus care provision in the UK).

Councillor Richard Rout, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance & Environment for Suffolk County Council, said:

“The county council has the ambitious goal to be Net Zero by 2030 and further countywide aspirations set out in the Suffolk Climate Emergency Plan. So it’s important that we are actively reviewing all the choices we make across the council and our wholly-owned companies. Vertas, Opus and Concertus are great examples of this, from making seemingly small changes such as swapping out canteen cutlery, to larger infrastructure decisions. But for me, these are perfect examples that every carbon reduction change we make, is a positive one.

“Every decision we make as individuals or businesses will have a positive impact on carbon emissions, energy saving and climate change. Of course, the council and its companies still have work to do, but we’re proud of the progress we’re making and I thank all staff who are making positive choices, no matter how small.”

The Awards provide an excellent opportunity for individuals, businesses, communities, schools and voluntary organisations to be celebrated for the environmental work they do to combat climate change, or simply for improving the area where they live.

Nominations for the Awards are now open and have been extended to close on Thursday 21 October 2021. Nominations can be submitted online at greensuffolk.org/awards.

We are pleased to announce we have been appointed to Fusion21’s four-year national £120m Consultants Framework. The framework will deliver projects across a wide range of public sector organisations. We were successful on all five lots we submitted a proposal for: Lot 1 Project Management, Multidisciplinary Services and Lead Consultant, Lot 4 Architecture, Lot 5 Fit Out Consultancy, Lot 7 Structural & Civil Engineering and Lot 8 Building Engineering Services.

Fusion21 is a social enterprise specialising in public sector procurement through a framework approach. Social value is a priority, with every pound invested in Fusion21 Frameworks being used to support local communities. Fusion21 also work closely with their consultants to deliver economic and environmental benefits for its members, helping to hit targets and shape the future of communities.

Phil Woodhead, Category Manager, said “We are delighted to welcome all of the new suppliers onto the framework, including Concertus. The tender process was highly competitive and the process has identified the best consultants for our members to use.”

To find out more about Fusion21’s Consultants Framework, please click here.

Lois Wilkes and Danni Ager joined our Architecture team for a two-week work experience placement in August. Kelly and Tracey mentored Lois, providing an insight into the role of an Interior Architectural Designer, whilst Katherine and Daniel were mentors for Danni, focusing on Architectural Design.

Lois and Danni attended ArchiCAD training and were given a brief to design an extension or standalone building. Lois has worked on the external and internal building concept design, planned room adjacencies, and more detailed elements. She was also given the opportunity to present her work to gain further experience which can be applied to her future studies. Following analysis of the existing school site and floor plans, Danni created a moodboard to depict her initial ideas. Danni then developed her proposal in more detail to produce floorplan sections, elevations, fittings, finishes and reflected ceiling plans. During her second week with us, Danni assisted on a feasibility report for one of our live projects.

Imagery

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