2023 Newsletter

A Thank You from All at Shire

A great big thank you to all our clients, suppliers and colleagues for their support during 2022. Any year that includes a war In Europe, materials shortages, rapidly rising prices and a drought is always going to be interesting. One positive legacy from the Covid years is an industry wide desire to work more closely together and this has helped enormously with this year’s challenges. So once again a big thankyou from everyone at Shire.

Penguin Time

The recent cold spell has reminded us that we all need more penguins in our life. Please click on one of the three links below to download your very own pet penguin.

Charity Food Bank Donation

Up until last week, we were going to adopt a colony of penguins, but the empty shelves at the local food bank changed that. Instead, we have decided to limit the adoption to one penguin (she’s called Pauline) and make a donation to the Foodbank at Catshill Baptist Church.

Merry Christmas

We will be closing for Christmas on Friday 23rd December and will return on Tuesday 3rd January.

Merry Christmas from all the Emperor, Little Blue and Rockhopper penguins at Shire!

Rootbase Patent & Future Build Show

We are thrilled to announce that we have been granted a patent for our innovative Rootbase S-Range product – designed to solve challenges faced in the building industry, to make for a more sustainable environment.

About Rootbase

Our Rootbase S-Range product is an innovative product designed to support loads of up to 15 tonnes individually. This product is intended to be an alternative concrete foundation, which is often expensive and labour intensive to implement. The Rootbase can be implemented in just fifteen minutes, with a range of connection heads that allow them to be used with various other materials. What’s more, they are reusable – ideal for temporary building projects.

This product has many benefits – not only because it is an affordable alternative to traditional concrete – but also because it is lightweight, compact in size, and easy to use.

Popular uses of the Rootbase S-Range include single storey buildings, shipping and storage containers, temporary cabins and classrooms, and holiday lodges and glamping pods.

Due to its innovative design and range of benefits, Rootbase has also been shortlisted for a Big Think Innovation award – an award group that recognises those who bring new ideas to life and change the way we experience the world.

Sustainable Design

One of the main benefits of the Rootbase S Range is that the product is reusable, contributing for a more sustainable built environment. The current climate crisis is one that all industries need to be aware of and should be working and adapting to fight. Using products such as the Rootbase that can be used time and time again, with a lifespan of over 60 years, helps the environment and strengthens the climate movement.

FutureBuild Show

We recently attended the FutureBuild show – an event that brings together brands across sectors, to collaborate and share knowledge with the focus to deliver a more sustainable built environment. The event featured keynote stages and a brand exhibition, allowing businesses to come together to combine expertise to discover and create solutions to make the industry more environmentally friendly.

If you’d like to evolve your building environment and use the Rootbase S-Range, contact our friendly team now.

Beatles Christmas Competition WInner!

We’d like to say a big thankyou to everyone who entered our Christmas Beatles Competition! We had lots of fun looking through all the entries. Most of you hit the nail on the head with your entries and some of you even found some Beatles references that we didn’t intend to be there!

We put all the correct entries into a hat and drew a winner at random.

And the Winner is…

Congratulations,Maureen from Sedgwick!

Maureen said, “Loved your email – very entertaining and smart! And also made me read the whole email!”. We’re glad that our winner enjoyed taking part and we hope the rest of you did too.

We’d also like to offer a big congratulations to Caitriona Pearsall, who had the highest score of all the Shire Staff entries.

We hope 2021 is off to a good start for everyone! We’ll catch up with you soon with some more news from Shire.

Check Your Answers

If you want to check your answers, we’ve highlighted them in green below (and you’ll find the 3 bonus points highlighted in grey):

What a Year!

Well, it’s been a long and winding road, but we have finally made it to the end of the year! We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support throughout the last year and wish you a very Merry Christmas. Things seem to be getting better and, hopefully, we can all get back to normal soon but for now, after a helter skelter of a year, it’s time to forget yer blues and come together with family and friends (of course, following whatever guidelines are in place) to enjoy some merriment.

Like every other business in the UK, we were forced to adapt to new ways of working and were constantly being told “you can’t do that” but thanks to the hard work and dedication of our teams, many of them working 8 days a week, we have been able to continue to provide most of our services.

Despite everything going on, there have been many positive parts of the year for Shire. Our RootBase concrete-free foundation system was nominated as a finalist in the Equipment Innovation category as part this year’s GE Awards, which for obvious reasons took place virtually, as well as being nominated as a finalist in the Big Think Innovation Expo at the Futurebuild Exhibition. We also took part in The Subsidence Forum’s Training Webinar where we demonstrated a day in the life of a Geotechnical engineer to show how different soil samples are collected.

For more news on what we’ve been up to and information about our services, visit shire-uk.com

Helping Homeless Young People Get Back into Work

At Christmas, we normally send our clients something fun to spread the Christmas cheer and say thank you. However, it seems out of step with the mood of the country to send a Christmas gift to offices this year, so we have decided to donate the gift budget to St Basils, who are focussed on supporting homeless young people.

St Basils supports those young people in getting into employment and learning how to look after themselves. Our donation will provide accommodation for twenty young people in Bromsgrove to help bridge the gap between starting work and receiving their first pay cheque.

If you want to learn more about St Basils or make a personal donation, please visit their website.

Competition Time

You may have noticed some references to Beatles songs throughout this email. There are a total of 12. If you can find them all, let it be known by naming all 12 songs via email to christmas@shire-uk.com for the chance to win a framed signed Beatles Abbey Road photo print and mini gold vinyl cd.

All correct entries will be put into a hat and a winner will be drawn on 8th January 2021.

Merry Christmas

This year we are closing our offices a little earlier than usual for the festive period – we will be closing at 1pm on Friday 18th December and will return on Monday 4th January 2021.

All together now – “We Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

Best wishes,

Simon Crook, Richard Hartshorne, Ron Mace & the Team at Shire

P.S. I love you.


  1. The Long and Winding Road
  2. Getting Better
  3. Get Back
  4. Helter Skelter
  5. Yer Blues
  6. Come Together
  7. You Can’t Do That
  8. 8 Days a Week
  9. A Day in the Life
  10. Let it Be
  11. All Together Now
  12. P.S. I Love You

Bonus Points

  1. Something
  2. The End
  3. Help

Shire is Proud to Sponsor Local Football Team

Shire is proud to announce that we are now sponsoring the under 8’s team of the local football club – AFC Bromsgrove.

Shire believes that it is important to support the local community and sponsoring the local football team is just one area in which we can help. Our sponsorship helps fund AFC Bromsgrove which means they can continue to provide valuable opportunities for local children. With the football kits taken care of, organisers can invest their money in other areas and focus on providing better clubs, more coaches as well as support and recognition for their volunteers – ultimately leading to even more opportunities for local families.

AFC Bromsgrove is a recently formed football club that offers children of all abilities a chance to develop their skills. They play regular matches at home and away and we are very pleased to have provided their kits to help them not only play well but look great doing it.

You can see AFC Bromsgrove in action around the local area where they are already sporting their fantastic new kit that was funded by Shire – unfortunately, we can’t take any credit for the design, but we are extremely proud to see our logo worn by such talented individuals.

You will find AFC Bromsgrove’s fixtures on their Facebook page, so get down to one of their matches and give them some support – we hope to see you there.

Shire Exhibit at The Glamping Show 2019

Shire is happy to announce that we will be visiting The Glamping Show 2019 to exhibit some of our innovative, concrete-free foundation solutions that can provide the ideal base for glamping structures.

The Glamping Show 2019
When:19th – 21st September 2019
Where:NAEC, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, CV8 2LZ
The Glamping Show 2019

Glamping is a word derived from Glamourous and Camping. It describes a style of camping that is not unlike traditional camping, but often with added luxury. Glamping features structures such as Yurts, tipis, pods, bell tents, vintage caravans, vintage trailers, safari tents, tent cabins, treehouses, small brick structures and more. They often have private bathrooms, log burners, cooking facilities and other modern amenities that are not usually associated with camping.

Glamping is on the rise, and more and more businesses are investing in glamping sites and facilities. The Glamping Show offers an opportunity for these businesses to learn about industry trends, plus pick up tips and ideas. It also gives them the opportunity to discover new technologies and suppliers they need to help them add those extra touches to their Glampsites and grow their glamping businesses, all in one place.

Shire At The Glamping Show

The entire stability of any building is dependant on its foundations. Every year in the UK, millions of pounds are spent repairing damage to buildings caused by foundation problems, and this includes temporary, semi-permanent and permanent glamping facilities.

This year, Shire will be at The Glamping Show to demonstrate how our innovative range of concrete-free foundation systems, designed for both temporary and permanent structures, can provide the perfect, cost-effective and hassle-free base for your glamping structures and help prevent foundation problems that are all too common.

What We Will Be Exhibiting

We will be taking along two of our concrete-free, easy and quick to install foundation systems: 


QuickBase is a multi-award-winning flooring, beam and pile system.  A totally unique lightweight foundation system for conservatories and lightweight structures, revolutionising conventional construction methods. QuickBase is easy to deploy and can overcome the challenges set by less than perfect ground.

RootBase S-Range

Shire’s RootBase S-Range is designed to solve the challenges of expensive, labour intensive, traditional concrete foundations. With a range of options and connection details, they are designed to support loads of up to 15 tonnes individually and can be installed in as little as fifteen minutes.

Come and Say Hi!

The Glamping Show 2019 will be held at the National Agricultural and Exhibition Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth between 19th and 21st September 2019. Sire will be glamping out at stand 170. We’d love the opportunity to show you how our concrete-free foundation products can help you with your glamping businesses venture and provide a reliable and cost-effective solution to your foundation needs so please pop by and say hi!

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or click on the banner below to find out more about The Glamping Show.

The Glamping Show 2019

The Old Court House

The Old Court House, Worcestershire

Architect Harrison Brookes Architects

Client Mr William Rucker

Contractor Speller Metcalfe Gloucester

Structural Engineers Shire

Archaeologist Mike Napthan Archaeology

Ecologist Clarke Webb Ecology

The Old Court House sits hidden in the midst of a large farm complex in private ownership. The farm had been bought with a number of outline consents for the conversion of farm buildings to dwellings and staff accommodation but these consents were all linked to the repair of the Old Court House which had been derelict for over 30 years and was on the buildings at risk register.

The building itself was shrouded in mystery. The Local Planning Authority had placed a Section 106 agreement on the property detailing its rescue from dereliction and were minded to increase its listing status to Grade I as it was rumored to be a hunting lodge gifted by Queen Elizabeth to Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester. Dendro-dating carried out during the course of the works confirmed that the building had been constructed in phases between 1526 and 1613.

The repair and conservation of the Old Court House has been particularly challenging but rewarding project requiring a wide range of conservation skills and the use of specially made components (bricks and tiles) combined with modern technologies such as Hempcrete.

On appointing Shire as Structural Engineers to the project, Rhys Brookes from Harrison Brookes Architects comments:

“Working on historic buildings can be very challenging, especially when they are derelict or in significant distress and at risk of collapse.  Such was the case with the Old Court House, in Worcestershire.  The ability to work with, rather than against the building in an attempt to save it required a special type of engineer capable of thinking laterally and coming up with creative, yet sensitive, solutions to often complicated problems.  It was for this reason that Harrison Brookes Architects approached Shire and in particular Richard Hartshorne who brought a pragmatic and calming influence to this taxing project.  In order to save the building Shire were able to identify key structural elements and helped evolve a method for catching the building with an external skeleton which enabled the building to be safely repaired and jacked back into place without dismantling.  The result was the retention of practically every last bit of historic fabric and a retention of the building’s character”.

Shire were proud to be appointed as Structural Engineers for the project.  Richard Hartshorne, Director of Shire commented:

“The most challenging part of the project was ensuring that the structure remained stable during the restoration works. Complex temporary works were needed to stabilise the building and make it safe for operatives to carry out the numerous repairs needed to allow the building to function as it should. It was a rewarding experience salvaging as many elements of the original structure as possible”.

To date, The Old Court House has achieved the following:

  • RIBA conservation Award 2018
  • RIBA regional Award West Midlands 2018
  • RIBA Project Architect of the Year Award 2018
  • BRE built Environment Award winner West Midlands 2018
  • National Brick Award Finalist 2017
  • Grand Designs National House of the year 2018 finalist
  • Constructing Excellence National Award Finalist 2018
  • Build 2018 Best Boutique Architectural Design Practice – England
  • Build 2018 Best Historic Conservation Project

Worcestershire College

Teaching Visual Communications to Students at Heart of Worcestershire College

Three times a year, Shire’s Mark Hartley sets off for Heart of Worcestershire College to teach a module in visual communications.  Mark, who heads up the Telecommunications Design Team for Shire, has written a specific module for the Foundation Degree in Interactive Media & Games design.

The first step is an introduction to Shire and how photomontage is used in a commercial environment.  Mark teaches the students about the importance of 3D modelling, photomontage and other visual skills to communicate design vision & design details to various people involved in the building industry.

The final project for the course is fully flyby & walkthrough a newly designed building with full 3D modelling and animation.

This is our 9th year of doing the course and have at times employed some of the students to work in the telecoms dept.

Solid foundations to protect your investment

The entire stability of any building is dependent on its foundations.  Every year in the UK, millions of pounds are spent repairing damage to buildings caused by foundation failures.  Preventing these problems early is far less expensive than rectifying them afterwards. The most common factors to consider are rapid changes in soil moisture, soft ground, drainage or lack of design consideration:

Clay shrinkage: Fluctuations in moisture content don’t cause significant variations in the volume of sandy soils.  However, clay soils expand when they are wet & shrink when they are dry. If a structure is supported on clay that is moving in this way, the building will move with it causing damage. Trees can cause shrinkage down to 4m.

Clay heave: As tree roots pull moisture out of the clay, the soil shrinks and ground level drops.  If a tree stops extracting moisture, then the clay rehydrates & swells.  The forces generated by swelling clay are large enough to lift up any structure. A common cause is when trees are removed from a site.  Ground heave can start immediately and continue for months & years afterwards.

Soft ground: Some soil types are weaker than others and not strong enough to support building structures.  These include river alluvial deposits, peat & man-made soils.  When foundations are dug into these soils, the building’s weight can cause movement in the soil’s structure.

What steps can be put in place to prevent foundation problems occurring? Below are 4 practical steps to consider:

  • Don’t accept a ‘one size fits all’ foundation
  • Take reasonable precautions to mitigate against the effects of nearby trees and soft soils
  • Choose the right kind of foundation for your building
  • Consider access requirements & restrictions. Ask for advice if needed

The foundations are one of the most important parts of your building investment.  Often more time is spent considering the type of floor tiles than the foundation type.  Foundations are often specified as a standard design ‘to be confirmed on site’.  This can lead to inappropriate foundations being constructed.  It is essential that adequate thought is given to the foundation type and depth before work starts on site.

At Shire we design foundation systems for a wide range of project types.  We have developed patented systems like QuickBase giving deep piled foundations that can be taken down to depths below the zone of influence of any tree roots or down to 20m in soft soils to find ‘good ground’.  QuickBase has also been designed to be installed in areas where parking & access is restricted.  Foundations are installed quickly, often leading to cost reductions in the overall schedule.

Where there are unknown ground conditions, our geotechnical team can investigate and give advice on the appropriate solution.