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MD has designs for growth after takeover of Durham firm

A former trainee at a North East architect and civil engineering practice has signed a takeover deal that has seen him become MD of the growing firm.

Richard Marsden, who started his career as an undergraduate with Building Design (Northern) Ltd, has concluded a management buy-out, taking over as sole shareholder of the Durham firm. 

The Sunderland-born, trained-architect, who joined BDN 15 years ago as an undergraduate, has acquired the remaining shares of former managing director Clive Oliphant, and co-director Gary Ward. Though both will remain at the firm in a consultancy capacity, Richard will take on overall responsibility for the business, directing its work and that of its 11-strong team.

Richard, who became a director with BDN when he was just 25 and a shareholder almost three years ago, having originally joined the company while studying for a degree at Northumbria University, said: “Having spent my whole professional career at BDN, I am delighted to now be in a position of owning a business I’m extremely passionate about. 

“I’ve seen huge changes during my time with BDN, having built the architecture arm of the business from a standing start, and I’m really excited to now be in a position to oversee the ongoing growth and development of the whole firm.”

The business - which opened a new office in Ulverston, in the Lake District, earlier this year - has plans to take on more projects that will see it develop its own properties, designed by its architecture team, then project-managed to completion. 

BDN is currently building a new executive housing development, Spire View, in Sunderland, with eight super-sustainable properties that boast panoramic views across the city. 

Richard added: “We have an extremely talented team at BDN, and the quality of the schemes we are able to design and engineer, project manage and ultimately bring to market, are fantastic.  We always look to test the boundaries of design, innovation and technology.  Schemes that allow us to be visionary - to do something different – are attractive to us, and we have proven we have the ability to create special schemes, like Spire View.

“I am keen to develop that part of the business, as I think we can really do some incredible work. And the scheme in Sunderland is showing just what we are capable of. 

“Having joined the firm when most of our work was done by hand, designing and engineering through hand-sketched plans, BDN has transformed, and culturally, we have developed into an innovative, forward-looking business that is pioneering developments that conserve the environment, while delivering truly modern environments to live, work and enjoy.

“We really feel we can kick-on and establish ourselves as a leader in the market in this part of the UK and beyond.  We have plans to expand into other areas of the country - we’re very ambitious for the future.”

BDN was founded in 1983, operating from a base in Darlington, before moving to Durham’s in 1997. Their current headquarters are stationed within Salvus House Aykley heads. The company offers architecture, civil engineering and project management services, as well as development. 

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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