Sunderland construction boss finds his way back to Durham University

Professor Mike Crang (left) and Ian Baggett on site at the refurbishment project at Durham University.
Professor Mike Crang (left) and Ian Baggett on site at the refurbishment project at Durham University.
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Construction firm boss Ian Baggett has gone back to his roots.

The director of Sunderland-based Brims Construction is back at Durham University, where he studied 20 years ago, to support a major building project.

This is an amazing department and an amazing Uni.

Ian Baggett

Brims recently embarked on a contract to carry out a million-pound development project on the University’s geography department – where he obtained not one but two degrees – including his former classroom

“This is an amazing department and an amazing uni,” he said.

“My years there as both an undergrad and postgrad were completely formative. When I learned that my partners in Brims had won this project, I returned with a sense of ironic sentimentality. It is of course only fitting that the department chose a business they helped create to carry out this project.”

The scheme will involve a complete refurbishment of seminar rooms and lecture theatres at the Geography West building, as well as a partial re-roofing of the structure.  

With work already under way on site, the alterations are due to be finished by September 2016 in readiness for the new academic year.

The refurbishment will improve both the research and teaching facilities providing an enhanced experience for students and staff alike, and provide state-of-the-art facilities for thedepartment, ranked third in the world by the 2016 QS World University Rankings.

Professor Mike Crang, Head of Geography at Durham University, said: “It is a pleasure to welcome Ian Baggett back to the Geography department.

“His undergraduate dissertation on student housing paved the way for his successful empire, while his postgraduate work opened up a world of opportunities here and in the Far East.

“We are very pleased to be working with him again and we are sure that other students will be inspired by his drive and determination.”

This is the third time that Brims Construction has worked on refurbishment projects at Durham University; previous work includes the updating of student accommodation at St John’s College and renovating the dining and kitchen facilities at Collingwood College.

The firm’s previous developments include the Whitburn C of E sixth form centre, and the Toffee Factory.