Laura Mansel-Thomas

Building Services Engineering Partner, Ingleton Wood

"Our partners and employees love living in and around a town which is very family friendly"

How would you best describe your organisation and its values?

Ingleton Wood LLP is a building design consultancy with six offices, the largest of which is in Colchester. We strongly believe that having a local presence in the communities we serve allows us to provide a better service and our staff to have a good work / life balance. 

When did your organisation begin and how has it evolved? 

Ingleton Wood started as a small building surveying practice in Shenfield in the 1950s and has grown organically to a team of almost 200 people. We have been multidisciplinary – representing all aspects of building design and property services – for some 20 years, growing our disciplines and our staff numbers. The practice is managed by seven partners who between them represent our biggest disciplines of building surveying, architecture and mechanical and electrical engineering. The partners are now supported by a very strong practice management team and a dedicated senior staff body. 

How big is your organisation now?

We now employ over 180 people with, at the time of writing, 52 in Colchester.

How do you see your organisation evolving over the next five years?

We opened our fifth office in Cambridge three years ago and this brought structural engineering into our practice. After a period of consolidation and general growth in all five offices, we are actively looking for the next location to build our coverage.

What are the advantages of being a Colchester-based organisation?

Our Colchester office is very successful for many reasons. The location is key; we not only have a strong local economy, supporting public and private sector clients, but great road and rail access to London, Kent and the Midlands. Our partners and employees love living in and around a town which is very family friendly, with a breadth of educational opportunities for their children right the way through to university. 

What are the biggest challenges for business in Colchester?

Traffic and transport is an emotive subject in Colchester! Perhaps victims of our own success, we suffer the usual issues with parking and travel times at peak hours. Whilst the centre of the town is quite compact, the region as a whole is large, and dependency on the car is high. Many members of staff do not live within walking or even cycling distance of work and public transport links are erratic and often expensive. 

As the town expands, what opportunities does this create for business and for the town generally?

Ingleton Wood work with many local businesses and organisations – schools, contractors, housing developers – both social and private – and expansion means construction activity which is always an opportunity at whatever scale. Development of property portfolios by key landowners such as the University of Essex, Colchester Garrison and Colchester Institute benefit the town in terms of aesthetics, employment and business opportunities. Sustainable growth will result in a town which continues to be a great place to live, work and bring up a family.

What do you see as the most important focus for Colchester’s future and why?

Colchester will continue to grow because it has so much going for it and therefore the most important thing is joined up thinking. We need housing, employment opportunities, transport infrastructure fit for the future as well as an approach to the environment and sustainability which must be second to none. It is simply not possible to prioritise any one of these because the interrelationships are too great.