February 19, 2018

Success for Gillespies at the Pro Landscaper Business Awards

Gillespies have struck gold at the inaugural Pro Landscaper Business Awards.

The awards, designed to celebrate the best business practices in the industry, took place on Friday 9 February.

international and award-winning business, Gillespies, were successful in the landscape architecture practice category.

Founded in 1962, Gillespies is one of the UK’s longest established and most successful independent landscape architectural design practices.

Gillespies employs some 150 dedicated professionals at all levels, ranging from trainees at the start of their career to senior and management grade industry leaders. The practice is managed by seven partners with support from a 28-strong management team, based across four UK offices – London, Manchester, Leeds and Oxford – and two satellite offices in Moscow and Abu Dhabi.

In a tightly contested category, Gillespies went head to head with shortlisted practices, Davies White, and HLM Architects.

Ultimately, it was Gillespies who the judges decided should head home with the gong, praising the practice for its ‘powerful evidence of equal commitment to promoting from within.’ And ‘pioneering research and training in BIM and the importance of remaining at the forefront of developing landscape design.’

Gillespies has achieved critical acclaim and a reputation for consistently delivering places that respond to communities, with a high regard for the quality of the environment and the physical and cultural context of spaces. Collaborating with others in the landscape sector, its highly-skilled teams work alongside a diverse range of clients including leading developers, architects, and local authorities on a wide range of projects and across a plethora of markets and sectors, including residential, cultural, leisure and tourism, office, transport, education, energy and healthcare. Gillespies has built projects across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America, with the quality of its designs recognised by some of the industry’s highest accolades, including 11 Landscape Institute Awards and two RIBA Stirling Prize shortlists.

The practice is a registered member of the Landscape Institute and a corporate member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). Through individual employees, Gillespies also has associations with the Urban Design Group, Royal Institute of British Architects, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Royal Institute of Town Planners.

Gillespies is also certified under ISO 9001:2008, demonstrating the firm’s commitment to continual improvement and quality, and is currently in the process of gaining a Cyber Essentials Plus certification.

Since 2008, the practice has been a member of CHAS (The Contractors Health and Assessment Scheme) and is regularly audited with respect to legal compliance with Safety, Health, Environment, Quality (SHEQ) management systems and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) guidance and best practice.

Pro Landscaper announced the launch of the new cross-industry business awards in August 2017. Created to highlight those who make outstanding contributions to our industry and bringing people together, the awards offer something different.

Supported by leading industry magazines Pro Landscaper and FutureArch, and the industry’s number one event, FutureScape, the inaugural Pro Landscaper Business Awards was held in the heart of London’s business district at the stunning East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf.

Other awards handed out include best commercial landscaping company, best garden designer, and best apprenticeship scheme.

Augmented Reality – is it the Key to the City?

augmented

If you have read the latest issue of FutureArch magazine, you will have seen our interview with Neil Manthorpe on augmented reality.

If you haven’t – you are missing out! Check it out here

In the feature, Neil discusses the app, Key to the City. Key to the City is an educational app that allows you to unlock the hidden layers of the city to experience its rich heritage, history and culture. It does this by using AR, Videos and information points, depending on where you are in London. The hope is that users will be encouraged to get out into London and use the spaces that have been created, particularly in areas where space has been underutilised.

Augmented reality is a live view of a physical environment that is enhanced by a computer generated visual – looking through your phone or tablet as though taking a photograph, and seeing additional visuals on screen. This is not to be confused with virtual reality where the entire background is computer generated.

 

This video from Key to the City demonstrates how the app works. 

University of York embrace wildflowers with new growing site

University

Wildflower Turf has provided the University of York with a biodiverse boost to newly-built campus facilities.

Based in Hampshire but having recently expanded operations to include a new growing site in Yorkshire, Wildflower Turf worked closely with the University’s landscape partners to enhance the area around the recently completed Piazza Learning Centre.

Situated within a picturesque lakeside setting, the Piazza Learning Centre is both sympathetic to the natural landscape while also being fully accessible to the University of York’s student population. The new building contains a range of high-quality learning spaces and facilities for those living and studying on the University’s Campus East.

At the outset of the project the University developed a very clear and practical biodiversity plan and Wildflower Turf was commissioned by the project’s landscape contractors, J Palmer Landscapes, to provide a wildflower solution that would enhance the existing natural environment.

Over 1,800m² of Wildflower Turf’s unique Native Enriched Turf product was installed in November 2017 and the addition of wildflowers has provided the University with a wonderful and aesthetically pleasing space.  As well as requiring little maintenance, the Native Enriched Wildflower Turf contains over 50 different native and naturalised species and will help the project to qualify for excellent BREEAM standards.

Other key parties involved with this project include Interserve Construction Ltd (Design & Build contractors), Race Cottam Associates, (Architects), J Palmer Landscapes (Landscape contractors), and Martin Woolley Landscape Architects.

Image credit: J Palmer Landscapes 

300 trees planted to mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force

trees

City of Trees, alongside cadets from the Greater Manchester Wing of the Air Training Corps planted 300 trees to mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force.

The new trees have been planted at Parkway Playing Fields, Manchester on Sunday 4 February 2018, extending existing woodland creating a haven for both people and wildlife.

For the initiative the Air Corps teamed up with leading environmental charity City of Trees who have pledged to plant 3 million trees – one for every man, woman and child in Greater Manchester, over the next generation.

Greater Manchester Wing is one of the 33 Wings in the Royal Air Force Air Cadets whose HQ is at RAF Cranwell.

The tree planting is ahead of the centenary of the Royal Air Force, which celebrates its 100th birthday on 1 April 2018 with a series of special events and activities across the country.

This year also marks 76 years of the Air Training Corps and the planting is a culmination of events held throughout 2016/17 celebrating the achievements of the organisation.

300 new trees took root including oak, silver birch, field maple and cherry, all which have strong links to the ethos of the Air Corps, with some being traditionally used in the making of aircraft.

Greater Manchester Wing Commander David Archibald comments; “The aim of the Air Corps is to promote young people to be good citizens within the community so we felt it fitting to support City of Trees’ mission to plant a tree for every, man, woman and child in the City region.”

 He adds; “We hope that the trees will be a lasting legacy to the Greater Manchester Wing and the local environment”.

 Beth Kelsall from the City of Trees comments; “These new trees are not only a great way to mark an important point in the Air Training Corps and RAF history, but will help to combat climate change and boost biodiversity.”

 She adds; “The trees have given the area a new lease of life and will benefit local people and the environment for generations to come.”

 GM Wing has 37 Squadrons around the M60 – to the north Bury, to the east Oldham, to the south Macclesfield and the west Warrington. There are some 1300 cadets with just under 400 rank ranging adult volunteers, Commissioned Officers, SNCO, and Civilian Instructors, supported by around 200 Civilian Committee members and Padres.

Activities range from flying, gliding, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, shooting, adventure training, RAF camps at both home and overseas.

ASLA business survey shows balanced conditions for US Landscape Architecture firms

American landscape

Landscape architecture firms experienced consistently healthy conditions for the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the latest American Society of Landscape Architects’ Business Quarterly survey. Although billable hours slightly retreated, inquiries for new work grew. A growing number of firms are planning to boost hiring during the first quarter.

A five-year comparison of survey results shows that numbers for the fourth quarter are well within range.

The survey found 82.4 percent of responding firms reported stable to significantly higher billable hours for the third quarter, a dip from the 85.7 from the previous quarter. This result is higher than what had been reported during the fourth quarters of 2016 (77.1 percent), 2015 (74.5 percent), 2014 (74.7 percent) and 2013 (75.7 percent).

Fully 84.8 percent of respondents said inquiries for new work were stable to significantly higher during the fourth quarter of 2017, an uptick from the second (83.1 percent) and third quarters of 2017 (82.1 percent). It is a jump from past fourth quarters of 2016 (77.8 percent), 2015 (71.7 percent), 2014 (76.8 percent) and 2013 (74.4 percent).

The survey found that year to year, some 81.6 percent of firms said that billable hours were stable to significantly higher—much higher than what had been reported for the fourth quarter of 2016 (77.3 percent). This number is within range of what had been reported for the fourth quarters of 2015 (81.7 percent) 2014 (80.2 percent) and 2013 (81.5 percent).

Year to year, 88.1 percent of respondents said that fourth quarter inquiries for new work were stable to significantly higher, a jump from what had been reported for the fourth quarters of 2016 (81.7 percent), 2015 (81.2 percent), 2014 (84.6 percent) and 2013 (81.5 percent).

The majority of respondents (82.4 percent) described business conditions for 2017 as stable to significantly better than the previous year. This number is a drop from what had been reported during the fourth quarter of 2016 (83.3 percent), 2015 (83.9 percent), and 2014 (87.5 percent). It is much higher than what had been reported for 2013 fourth quarter survey (68.4 percent).

Some 60 percent of responding firms with two or more employees said that they plan to hire during the first quarter of 2018, a significant increase from the third quarter of 2017 (49 percent). This number is greater than what had been reported for the fourth quarters of 2016 (57.3 percent), 2015 (51.4 percent), 2014 (50.6 percent) and 2013 (48.5 percent).

Fully 83.3 percent of firms with 50 to 99 employees added that they will hire either an experienced landscape architect or an entry-level landscape architect.

A new question added to the survey asked respondents to indicate whether or not their firms’ recruiting and hiring practices seek to increase diversity. Some 63.1 percent of responding firms with two or more employees said they have an established diversity process or are planning to establish such a process.

The survey also asked respondents to answer questions about general business conditions in 2018. Fully 90.6 percent of responding firms said they expect business conditions this year to be about the same or better than they are now, a leap from the 81.3 percent from the 2016 fourth quarter survey.

In addition, about 98.1 percent of respondents said their level of optimism for the general business climate in 2018 is about the same or more optimistic. This number is greater than the 82.1 percent reported for the 2016 fourth quarter survey.

Key Survey Highlights:

Compared to the third quarter 2017, your fourth quarter 2017 billable hours were (all firms):

Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 15.7%

Slightly higher (5% to 10% higher) – 25.8%

About the same (plus or minus 5% or less) – 41.0%

Slightly lower (between 5% and 10% lower) – 11.3%

Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 6.3%

 

Compared to the third quarter 2017, your fourth quarter 2017 inquiries for new work were (all firms):

Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 10.8%

Slightly higher (5% to 10% higher) – 37.3%

About the same (plus or minus 5% or less) – 36.7%

Slightly lower (between 5% and 10% lower) – 12.7%

Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 2.5%

 

Year to year, compared to the fourth quarter in 2016, your fourth quarter 2017 billable hours were (all firms):

Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 26.0%

Slightly higher (5% to 10% higher) – 32.9%

About the same (plus or minus 5% or less) – 22.8%

Slightly lower (between 5% and 10% lower) – 10.8%

Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 7.6%

 

Year to year, compared to the fourth quarter in 2016, your fourth quarter 2017 inquiries for new work were (all firms):

Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 19.5%

Slightly higher (5% to 10% higher) – 32.9%

About the same (plus or minus 5% or less) – 22.8%

Slightly lower (between 5% and 10% lower) – 10.8%

Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 7.6%

 

How would you describe business results for 2017 compared to 2016?

Significantly better (more than 10%) – 26.4%

Slightly better (5 to 10% higher) – 33.3%

About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 22.6%

Slightly worse (5 to 10% lower) – 11.3%

Significantly worse (more than 10%) – 6.3%

 

Do you plan on hiring any employees in the first quarter of 2018 (multiple answers filtered for firms with two or more employees)?

Yes, we’ll be hiring an experienced landscape architect – 20.9%

Yes, we’ll be hiring an entry-level landscape architect – 30.0%

Yes, we’ll be hiring an intern – 22.6%

Yes, we’ll be hiring support staff – 10.4%

Yes, we’ll be hiring other design/architecture/engineering staff – 15.7%

Yes, we’ll be hiring other staff – 7.0%

No, we’re not currently hiring – 40.0%

 

Do your firm’s recruiting and hiring practices seek to increase workplace diversity 2018 (multiple answers filtered for firms with two or more employees)?

Yes, we have an established process – 54.1%

No, but we are planning to develop a process – 9.0%

No, we currently do not – 38.0%

 

Do you think that in 2018 general business conditions will be better than they are now, about the same, or worse?

Better than they are now – 37.5%

About the same – 53.1%

Worse – 6.9%

Not sure – 2.5%

 

What is your level of optimism regarding the general business climate in 2018 for the landscape architecture profession?

More optimistic – 51.3%

Less optimistic – 13.1%

About the same – 33.8%

Not sure – 2.0%