/LSP Community Interview – Chris Lydon & Nick Holt

/Community News

Date: 4th October 2018

LSP Community Interview – Chris Lydon & Nick Holt

This week we sat down with Chris Lydon and Nick Holt, the Directors of HL Structural Engineers, who have been based in LSP since 2013. Over this period they have grown their structural engineering consultancy business and to facilitate this growth have recently moved into a new office on the ground floor of iC3. Since starting the business in our Blue Starter Pod Centre, the HL team is now seven strong and continuing to flourish.

Prior to forming HL Structural Engineers they completed the structural design of LSP’s Innovation Centre 3 working with other current tenants Ryder Architecture and Morgan Sindall. In an impressive feat of engineering iC3 offers both form and function by maximising the available floor space for offices and laboratories whilst maintaining much of the original grounds and carparking on the site through the use of cantilevered upper floors and a link bridge to iC1.

With so much history working with the Park, it’s not fate that it became the preferred home for Chris and Nick’s new business and here we find out a little bit more about Chris and Nick, the challenges and journey of engineering IC3 and what they have been working on since.

Nice easy one to begin with, Tea or Coffee?

Chris (right on picture): Coffee!

Nick (left): Coffee!

What is the most interesting thing that’s happened whilst working on a project?

Chris: Whilst completing a structural condition survey of the elevations of the India Buildings on Water Street the cherry picker we were using broke down leaving us suspended 70 metres up at 3 o’clock in the morning.

Nick: Not long after forming HL we received an unusual commission from ITV to design a floating weather map for their 25 year anniversary shoot of This Morning at the Albert Dock. During filming we spent the day with the cast and crew, including Keith Lemon, who is as crazy off camera as he is on!

So, down to business, is there a typical day at HL and, if so, what does this involve?

Our practice is involved in the design of multi-storey buildings from concept stage through to construction on site, with a typical project being 18 months in duration. Each project and each stage is different but a typical day might include inspecting construction works on site, meeting with Clients and prospective building users, attending design workshops with architects and other designers or we might be in the office doing maths and drawing work!

You’re quite clearly skilled at delivering impressive feats of engineering. How challenging was iC3’s cantilever design to engineer?

The building actually cantilevers on three sides! Part of the challenge was to limit the depth of the structure to ensure the new building could tie into the existing second and third floor levels of iC1. The design was further constrained by the requirement to provide onerous floor vibration performance for the laboratory space in the new building. The solution is a lot of heavy steelwork, which is now largely concealed within the floors of the new building.

What have you been working on since?

We work throughout the UK, with approximately 40% of our work in London. In the Northwest our current projects include a programme of new leisure centres for Trafford Council, a horticultural centre for the National Trust, and 200 new apartments adjacent to Stanley Dock and the Titanic Hotel.

If you weren’t structural engineers, what would you be doing?

Math’s teachers!

Where would you recommend to eat and drink around here?

Eat in The Quarter and drink in the Pen Factory.

A massive thank you again to Chris and Nick for taking the time to talk to us. If you’d like to find out a little more about the HL team and the projects they’re undertaking, have a look at their website to find out a little bit more about them here.