By Helen Solimena

November 2017 saw us officially open our expanded office in Birmingham at 15 Colmore Row.

Having moved in 2014 with only 49 staff, we had lots of space to work, play and be creative in. But to meet the deadlines from new clients, we grew rapidly. Although this was great for business, our breakout areas started being taken over by desks and chairs for the new starters.

We needed the space, but we didn’t want to change our location as it was perfect for commuters and visitors. Therefore, the decision had been made to expand onto the 5th floor and stay on Colmore Row.

Birmingham is the first Cundall office to expand by splitting across two floors. The challenge was to keep high levels of communication, promote a healthy lifestyle and to also maintain levels of productivity by the workforce. Our engineers worked hard with Ben Allen (Studio Ben Allen) to over come this, and the final solution reached: a staircase in the middle of the office!

Our in-house structural engineers worked hard to design the skeletal timber staircase. Working in collaboration with the architect and timber fabricator, our engineers optimised the stair by running multiple iterations of the design on Finite Element engineering software. One of the main challenges for this complex design included the complicated connection geometry within small timber elements, but this was solved by using a repeating panelised geometry.

But to the staff in the office, it’s more than just a staircase. Not only does it comply with the WELL Standard and promotes Health and Wellbeing in the workplace, but it showcases the abilities of our structural engineers in the office. Not being an engineer myself, I cannot lay claim to the design, however, it gives me an enormous amount of pride when I can tell visitors that ‘our engineers designed it’.

We all knew it was something special, but the reaction it has had in the local market has been phenomenal. We have had companies coming in and taking pictures for their own inspiration, we have had enquiries to our structural department and we have recently been featured in Dezeen.

The office fitout has included much more than the staircase, but it is the obvious feature that sticks out in the minds of our visitors. Here are a few quotes and tweets we have had recently;

“Wonderful to see the most impressive staircase ever and its green chandelier at the Cundall’s office in Birmingham today #precision”

“Congratulations on the space – it is both innovative and commercial – it certainly has a wow factor”

“I’m very Impressed with your office, where it sets the bar high.”

If you are in Birmingham and want to see our staircase, then please drop me a note and we can organise a tour (h.solimena@cundall.com).

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