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Business support grant helps Coventry geotechnical company upgrade laboratory

One of the largest independent site investigations companies in the UK has upgraded its geotechnical laboratory after receiving a grant.

Geotechnics Ltd in Torrington Avenue, Coventry, was established in 1983 to provide geotechnical and geoenvironmental investigations and advisory services.

The 100-strong business, which also has offices in Chester, Leeds and Exeter, carries out projects ranging from risk assessments for new houses to multi-million-pound developments including high-rise buildings, brownfield regeneration sites, waterside developments, bridges, railways, highways, water pipelines, power stations and energy networks.

Managing director Paul Hayes contacted the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub for advice on accessing grants to update its laboratory with additional, more modern, autonomous equipment to improve capacity, capability and productivity in the already busy laboratory.

He was put in touch with the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and secured a grant to buy several pieces of equipment with associated data logging software.

Paul said its clients, which range from house-builders to major international consultancies and contractors, were already seeing the benefits since their results could be turned around much more quickly and data could be used to aid important design decisions.

He said: “We wanted to improve the quality and speed at which data was made available to our clients. This is being achieved by data logging, which no longer relies on periodic manual readings being taken by a member of staff.

“It has proved to be much more efficient and means we are collecting information 24-7 including weekends rather than from 8am until 4pm from Monday to Friday  –  it is increasing our capability and capacity since the results are being produced much more quickly.

“This increase in capacity is helping us in all areas of our business because we previously had to sub-contract some parts of our work to approved laboratory partners but now all the projects from our offices in Chester, Leeds and Exeter can be carried out at our laboratory in Coventry.”

Jim Clark, account manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said Geotechnics has also employed apprentice Matthew Bell on an 18-month programme to join its laboratory team.

He said: “There are many unknowns when digging underground which is why Geotechnics’ work is so important before construction starts to test the ground to confirm it is suitable for building projects.

“The Growth Hub offers advice and support to a wide range of businesses in different sectors which includes pointing them in the right direction to make the most of grants that are available which not only improves their day-to-day operations but boosts the economy in Coventry and Warwickshire.”

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, said: “I really pleased that we have been able to use European funding to support Geotechnics – they are an ambitious local company and now they have been able to invest in kit to support their ambition and growth plans. They have also been able to take on an apprentice so they are investing in the future of their workforce too which is great.”

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Caption: Front, left to right, Paul Smart (Laboratory Manager), Cllr Jim O'Boyle, Len Threadgold (founder of Geotechnics), Jim Clark (CWLEP Growth Hub) and Richard Middleton (Coventry City Council) are pictured with members of the team at Geotechnics

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