People News

Our people: Andrew Somerville.


Andrew Somerville, Director

Providing solutions that solve problems others have not.

My interest in science buildings…

…started as a child as my Father owned a building services engineering consultancy specialising in science buildings. From my early teens, I worked during my school holidays surveying and snagging science spaces. As I developed in my career, I started to specialise more and more in biological research and life science buildings and got to know the users and what they are trying to achieve. To see buildings and projects that I have worked on producing treatments and therapies that have positive life-changing implications is so inspiring.

Since being at Hoare Lea…

…I have been amazed by how many good people we have who want to work on science buildings as they enjoy the technical aspects of them and the challenge they bring. Bringing these people together in the sector team has been transformative for us and enabled us to grow the sector exponentially.

My most challenging project so far…

…is a tough question to answer. In the sector, we don’t tend to do “easy” buildings as we have to meet tight control conditions or integrate complex systems.

Probably one that pushed us technically more than most others is the satellite testing facility at Harwell where we came up with the novel solution to the fire risk of making the room hypoxic (lowered the oxygen level to where a fire cannot start) and made the only facility in the world that has solved the risk without causing damage to the satellite.

I think that is what we are good at listening to our clients and providing solutions that solve problems others have not.

Working in this sector…

…is humbling, amazing and awe-inspiring. Being part of the team that is working on solving some of the world’s biggest issues is just incredible to me, and why we work so hard for our clients. Being part of the Dementia Research Institute or for clients that are fighting cancer, such as the Institute for Cancer Research or Autolus. Where those diseases have impacted so many and will continue to do so unless we can treat them with discoveries from our projects. How can you not want to be in this sector?

Outside of work…

…I have been renovating our family home to be more sustainable by super-insulating it and utilising an air-source heat pump for heating. This has taken a long time but we are getting close to finishing it. I also try to spend time with my family and walk our dog Daedal.