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Guildford Firm In Top 100 Construction List

Published on: 28 Feb, 2019
Updated on: 1 Mar, 2019

by Hugh Coakley

Guildford company, Hewson Consulting Engineers, is once again ranked in the New Civil Engineer (NCE) Top 100, a position it has held since 2016.

This is a remarkable achievement for a company which was founded only 15 years ago by chartered engineer and bridge designer, Nigel Hewson, from the back room of his home in Merrow.

It now employs a total of around 150 people if you include its sister companies in Hong Kong and Malaysia and is based in very pleasant offices in 84 North Street, Guildford.

The landmark bridge, the New Wear Crossing in Sunderland, was completed in 2010. Hewson Consulting Engineers carried out the structural design for this incredible structure.

Nigel talked with enthusiasm to The Guildford Dragon NEWS about the work his company undertakes and how the specialist structural engineering consultancy has grown.

Starting his own consultancy, Nigel said: “was a jump into the dark” especially with a family and a mortgage to support, “but I always believed that it would work.”

It now has an impressive portfolio of work which includes major structures such as the New Wear Crossing in Sunderland, advising on the buildability of the 3rd Bosporus Bridge and checking the erection engineering on the Stonecutter Bridge in Hong Kong, to name but a few.

The firm also works with construction contractors to design temporary works for them, a speciality that big consultants tend to shy away from.

Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge (3rd Bosporus Bridge). Hewson Consulting Engineers advised on the buildability of the bridge structure.

The motivation to start his own company was “to get back to the technical side of design”. Nigel was joined a year later by another chartered engineer, Andy Hodgkinson, as an equal partner in the firm.

Nigel said: “As soon as we started our consultancy, people were in contact, people who had worked with us and personally knew our reputations.”

Nigel Hewson with the NCE Small Consultant of the Year 2011 and the Queen’s Award for International Trade 2013.

And it just grew from there. The work has mainly been overseas but is increasing in the UK. The firm also has an expanding expertise in other areas such as foundation work and building designs.

Winning the NCE Small Consultant of the Year in 2011 and then the Queens Award for International Trade in 2013 firmly established Hewson Consulting Engineers in the industry, especially abroad.

“British engineers are still well thought of overseas.” said Nigel, “and the Queen’s Award has helped enormously.”

When asked about Brexit, Nigel was typically upbeat. “Brexit has been a boon for us exporters with the reduced value of the pound making us more competitive.

“There has been a slowdown in work in the last few months but the UK work is likely to pick up again. We are looking forward to it being sorted out.

“Overall, I think that Brexit could be good for the UK construction community as we can fill the gaps left by the EU companies.”

And lastly, what has been the secret of the success over the last 15 years? “We keep it simple.” said Nigel. “We get really close to our clients and then we listen.”

A straightforward philosophy indeed but it has worked.

Stonecutters Bridge in Hong Kong, completed in 2006, one of the longest cable stayed bridges in the world. Hewson Consulting Engineers carried out an independent check of crucial building engineering.

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