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Management reshuffle at Couch Consulting

New directors at Couch Consulting Engineers, Sutton Coldfield (from left) Mark Evetts, Lawrence Hawkins, Nick Reed, Geoff Hall, Tony Rundle, Matt Dorril and Douglas Croft
New directors at Couch Consulting Engineers, Sutton Coldfield (from left) Mark Evetts, Lawrence Hawkins, Nick Reed, Geoff Hall, Tony Rundle, Matt Dorril and Douglas Croft

One of the region’s largest civil engineering firms has undergone its biggest management restructure in its 28-year history in response to construction sector growth.

Five people have been promoted to director level at Couch Consulting as its founders react to a surge in activity across the board.

The company, which has been involved in schemes like the biomedical hub at the University of Birmingham and the Rolls-Royce development in Coventry has expanded in recent months, with plans to take on more.

The company has operations in Sutton Coldfield, Warwick and Stoke-on-Trent.

Tony Rundle, who founded the business alongside Nick Reed in 1986, said projects that had been mothballed during the recession were back on the table, and growth had come from both residential and commercial sectors.

He said: “The growth has been across the board. One of the reasons we have been so strong is we have got a lot of fingers in a lot of pies, and we have never aligned ourselves to a particular sector.

“We have got a lot of exposure in lots of sectors – health, local authorities, education.

“We have of a lot of housing, and the housing market is just going ballistic at the moment.”

Five people have been made directors of Couch – Matt Dorril, Geoff Hall, Lawrence Hawkins, Douglas Croft and Mark Evetts, while Matt Bonsall has been made an associate director.

Couch has taken on seven people in the past six months, with another four coming in the new year, and currently has a 33-strong team.

The latest improvement comes as the UK construction industry posts an eighth consecutive month of growth.

The Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI survey in December showed the sector was continuing to claw back ground lost during the downturn.

The final month of 2013 finished with a headline activity reading of 62.1 for December. That was well above the 50-mark which separates growth from contraction but was down from 62.6 in November, which is the highest reading since mid-2007.

Mr Reed said Couch had been able to remain strong in tough times due to long-standing relationships with firms like JCB, with which it has been working for 15 years, and housing associations, which have continued to invest.

It was also involved in structural work of the Fisher House military patient development at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
He added: “The changes reflect the increased workload and the confidence we have in terms of future workload. They are dusting off projects that have been in mothballs since 2008. There is a bit more confidence to build speculatively.”

Couch has grown despite the recession, with a headcount of 22 in 2008.

Mr Rundle added: “We have taken a look at the business and it has been run by Nick and I for 20 years now.

“That was fine when there was 10 of us but now there is 33 we need to put a management structure in place. That is why we are making these three employees directors, to strengthen management and push on. We are trying to look to the next four or five years. If we grow as we have been then we could be 40 or 50-strong in a few years’ time.”

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Couch Consulting Engineers (Midlands) Ltd. Registered in England, Number: 02695503

Registered Office: The Old Forge, Priory, London Road, Canwell, Sutton Coldfield B75 5SH