Works complete on Gosforth Academy extension

Works complete on Gosforth Academy extension in time for the school returning in September 2020. The project comprised of 4 classrooms, staff room, toilets, lift and a flexible learning space in the atrium to provide additional accommodation for the Academy.

Aura were appointed by Newcastle City Council to provide design and build, project and contract management services, a project led by Howard Davies, one of our Senior Project Managers.

Aura were supported by a strong delivery team of Robertson Construction, A.E. Robb & Associates, 3E Consulting Engineers, Todd Milburn and Ian Belsham Associates.


Works complete on Gosforth Academy extension2020-12-02T16:04:43+00:00

Kirsty Thirlwell wins the CENE Outstanding Achievement Award 2020

We are absolutely delighted that our CEO, Kirsty Thirlwell won the Outstanding Achievement award in the Constructing Excellence in the North East Awards 2020.

As a team, we are thrilled that Kirsty has been recognised as the inspirational leader she is, who is committed, ambitious and dedicated to achieving the very best. Over the years, Kirsty’s exemplary actions have changed the performance and behaviour of a number of individuals in the industry.

Well done Kirsty, we are so pleased for you!

Kirsty Thirlwell wins the CENE Outstanding Achievement Award 20202020-12-02T15:39:05+00:00

New Appointment at Aura

North East building consultancy, Aura, has appointed Frances Carey as Bid and Business Development Coordinator.

Frances joins the firm from her previous role as marketing coordinator in an architectural practice, where she managed communications and bid strategy to support successful business development. She holds a BA in History from Newcastle University along with a postgraduate MA in International Marketing and Cross Cultural Studies.

Aura Chief Executive, Kirsty Thirlwell, said “We’re delighted to welcome Frances to our team. She will play an integral role in working with colleagues to secure new business with winning solutions that meet our clients’ needs”.

New Appointment at Aura2020-09-28T13:27:59+00:00

Vacancy – Bid and Business Development Coordinator

About Aura:

Aura is an established building consultancy, providing construction services, PFI Handback & post contract facilities management services, asset management, property management, investment services and bid development. We work in close partnership with our clients, ensuring that their needs are fully met on every project. We have an expansive supply chain providing flexibility and choice, ensuring successful outomes that are on time and budget. Our service on each project is tailored to suit out clients’ requirements with the emphasis on the quality of service we provide. Our ethos is centred around fostering lasting working relationships with both our clients and supply chain, and we pride ourselves on the numerous success stories of our projects in the last 15 years.

About the Role:

As part of our company development plans, we are looking for an enthusiastic and self-motivated Bid/Business Development Coordinator to work alongside our existing team in the Gateshead office. The Bid/Business Development Coordinator role will be responsible for a diverse range of duties that are essential to the running of any company. This includes primarily; bid management, business development, Quality Management System upkeep, and marketing. The role will also look to encompass website management, and general administration and office duties.

We are looking for someone who has the capability to work on their own initiative and drive change. The role will involve working closely in a small team environment, so good communication skills and a can-do attitude is essential. This role would suit someone who is enthusiastic, confident, and happy to learn new skills, it is an important role to the business and will contribute to the lasting success of Aura in meeting its objectives and long-term strategy.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Manage existing bid portals such as NEPO, TED, OJEU to assist in the “Bid Go/Bid No Go” process
  • Manage the full Bid Lifecycle for all incoming bids
  • Producing good quality content drafting, primarily dealing with common bid themes and standard bid requirements
  • Working with the wider bid team to produce high quality documents used in submissions (the use of InDesign would be advantageous)
  • Working with in-house Project Managers to produce content for inclusion on the website, mail shots, twitter etc.
  • Managing the Quality Management System ISO 9001:2015 & 14001
  • Maintaining appropriate company certification including ISO, Construction Line, ACCLAIM etc.
  • Coordinating all Aura, SPV and NNT LIFT boards

Key Duties:

  • Reviewing and updating company marketing including company presentations, hard and soft copy marketing documents
  • Providing key skills to support the bid process, including bid lifecycle management, content drafting, proof reading, compilation of bids, reviewing wider bid team responses for compliance with client requirements, compilation of supporting documentation & drafting and gathering client feedback on bids and incorporating into future bids
  • Undertaking relevant audits such as Quality Management System and office Health & Safety
  • Preparing, recording and dispatching the board minutes for Aura and SPV boards
  • Planning and managing marketing events including workshops and conferences
  • Bringing new ideas to the team to enhance the bids, the Aura brand, awareness of Aura and the Aura services
  • General office administration, e.g. organising meetings, coordination of diary’s, filing, control of petty cash, answering phone etc.

Essential Skills:

  • High level of competency on Microsoft office suite (Word, Power Point and Excel etc.)
  • Marketing; specifically, the production of high-quality bids
  • Bid Management (Bid Lifecycle Coordination & Bid Writing)
  • Organisational Skills
  • Recording minutes of Board Meetings
  • Being able to foster excellent relations with clients, staff and suppliers
  • Construction Industry Knowledge

Advantageous Knowledge & Skills:

  • Knowledge of Educational Organisations
  • Knowledge of Framework Contracts
  • Financial Awareness
  • Experience in Managing Community Projects
  • Website Management
  • Proficient in Adobe InDesign
  • Quality Management Experience

Competitive Salary

If you are interested in the above opportunity, please submit your CV and Covering Letter to the team via email on

Closing Date – Noon Tuesday 11th August 2020.  

Interviews will be held between Thursday 13th August – Wednesday 19th August 2020.

Due to the current circumstances all interviews will be held remotely via ZOOM Video Conferencing Facility.

Vacancy – Bid and Business Development Coordinator2020-07-28T13:49:31+00:00

PFI Handback and Post Contract Facilities Management Services

Are you ready for PFI Handback? 

Aura’s PFI Handback and Post Contract Facilities Management Service can help public and private sector clients achieve an effective conclusion of the concession contract and commencement of new services.

See our flyer for further information.


PFI Handback and Post Contract Facilities Management Services2020-06-03T12:42:24+00:00


Aura, the North East building consultancy, continues to grow its team with the appointment of Gareth Devine as Senior Project Manager.

Gareth brings more than 25 years’ experience in the construction sector, managing the successful delivery of major infrastructure projects across the UK. He has over 17 years’ specialist experience in PFI and strategic asset management and has led private public partnerships with Durham and Lancashire County Councils and Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. He will lead the growth of Aura’s new PFI Handback and post contractual facilities management service, recently launched to provide expert advice to manage the process of asset transfer and management at the end of PFI contracts.

Aura Chief Executive, Kirsty Thirlwell said:

“We are delighted that Gareth has joined the team, adding significant strength in depth to the business as we continue to develop our client service in line with our strategic growth plan.

“Gareth will lead the development of our PFI Handback service which offers expert advice and a detailed process to manage the return of assets as many PFI contracts are now nearing the expiry of their contractual term.”

Aura, based in Gateshead, specialises in building consultancy, design and construction, property management and investment. The company has a proven track record and has delivered over £750 million of infrastructure projects in the last 10 years.

NEW APPOINTMENT AT AURA2020-05-18T12:13:21+00:00


Aura, has launched a specialist service for organisations involved in the growing number of PFI projects that are approaching the end of their contractual term.

With over 70 years combined experience of PFI projects in health, community and education sectors, the team at Aura will advise the public sector, project companies and service providers, equipping them to address the risks and challenges of PFI handback and Post Contract Facilities Management. The national service will advise clients on maintenance options after a contract has finished and ensure that assets and equipment are returned in line with contractual standards.

Announcing the new service, Aura Chief Executive, Kirsty Thirlwell, said:

“There are currently over 700 operational PFI contracts in the UK with a capital value of around £60 billion, many of which are approaching the end of their life. It’s imperative to have a detailed understanding of the contractual obligations for assets being returned. This is a process that needs to start at least 5 years before the handover deadline.”

“Our team has extensive knowledge of PFI and lifecycle, having supported the delivery of some of the biggest PFI projects in the UK.”

Aura North East, based in Gateshead, specialises in building consultancy, design and construction, PFI Handback, property management and asset and investment management.

For further information on our PFI Handback and Post Contract Facilities Management Services, please visit our website. 



Global Head of Neuroscience Discovery marks official launch of The Biosphere

Dr. Fiona Marshall, Global Head of Neuroscience Discovery, MSD visited Newcastle to mark the official launch of The Biosphere.

 Located at Newcastle Helix, The Biosphere is a specialist lab facility tailored to commercialisation of life sciences.  It providesbiology and chemistry laboratories and high-quality office space.

Dr. Fiona Marshall was joined by Cllr Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Employment and Investment and Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive, Newcastle City Council who used this opportunity to bring the sector together and thank everyone who has been involved in the project to date.

Held at The Biosphere, this event was attended by key figureheads from the business community, academics, funders and other key stakeholders from across the region.

MSD is one of the top biopharmaceutical companies in the world. Dr. Fiona Marshall joined them as Vice President Head of Discovery Research UK and has since taken on the role of Global Head of Neuroscience Discovery.

Dr. Fiona Marshall said: “I would like to congratulate Newcastle City Council on their vision of creating a new bio tech cluster, helping to attract new investment and facilitate new innovations that have the potential to impact people right across the world.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Newcastle for making me feel so welcome.  It was a pleasure to officially open The Biosphere, a building that will play a vital role in the growth of the life science sector.  The spirit of innovation is really alive in Newcastle and there is so much support to help companies to develop and grow.  The range and quality of the science happening in the Biosphere is remarkable and I have no doubt that more and more academics and entrepreneurs will choose Newcastle as a base to commercialise their products and new discoveries.”

Cllr Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Employment and Investment, Newcastle City Council added: “This event provided an opportunity to celebrate the story so far and showcase this specialist facility locally, nationally and internationally. The Biosphere was a significant investment for the local economy and marked a clear commitment to life sciences growth.  So much has been achieved since 2015, the design, construction and operation of a new lab facility that is now home to 10 dynamic life science businesses with global life-changing ambitions. We now have the right infrastructure that will allow new and growing life science businesses to thrive, and as this happens it will bring more opportunities and jobs to the local area in this emerging and exciting new sector. This coupled with the innovative community on Newcastle Helix will help accelerate growth, entrepreneurial activity and the commercialisation of ideas within life sciences. I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone involved.”

The Biosphere is already home to several leading life science businesses including Iksuda Therapeutics, NorthGene, Jiahua, MDNA Life Sciences, Northern Retrieval Registry, Alcyomics, Atelerix, Newchem, Biberchem and Demuris.

NorthGene who are aleading provider of DNA-based relationship testing and human identity services were among the first companies to move into The Biosphere. They needed cutting-edge lab facilities to support the rapid growth of their business and the expansion of their testing repertoire.

Ryan Wetherell, Operations Manager said: “Newcastle is the ideal place for a growing life science business. The city has a strong reputation for research excellence led by two outstanding universities, four national centres of excellence and one of the UK’s leading NHS trusts. Additionally, Newcastle has great local and national transport links which are essential for our ‘direct to consumer’ testing services.

“The Biosphere is in the heart of a supportive, business community that actively collaborates and pulls in the same direction to achieve shared growth. Newcastle’s life sciences community is thriving, helped in no small part by the supportive infrastructure provided to growing Biotechnology industries.”

They are joined byIksuda Therapeutics, who are leading the way in creating next generation biopharmaceutical drugs that target difficult to treat cancers.

Dr David Simpson, Co-founder and CEO at Iksuda Therapeuticssaid: “We were actively looking for centralised laboratory space to enhance our position in the bio tech space. Once the region had committed to the build, and with the opportunity to create a bespoke space for Iksuda our relocation to The Biosphere was never in doubt.  As well as the specialist cutting edge facilities, the eco-system at Newcastle Helix was a key driver for us. The model for clusters and scientific centres of excellence is well proven globally to enhance the success rates of biotech companies. The region has a growing biotech cluster and is well positioned to access key technical skills needed to deliver our research programmes. We are delighted to be part of the Helix community and a fast-growing life science sector here in the North East.”

The Biosphere is based on Newcastle Helix – a landmark 24-acre hybrid city quarter in the centre of Newcastlebuilt for international tech and science businesses, the local community and residents.

Kier were chosen to build the new facility which was designed by Ryder Architects.  Property and Facilities Management Services are delivered by established building consultancy, Aura North East – all who benefit from commercial and technical guidance from life science specialist Cam-Sci.

The Biosphere has secured significant funding through the current European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Government’s Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Both funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry MP, said:“We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the Northern Powerhouse and building a Britain fit for the future.I am delighted to see the official launch of The Biosphere, made possible with £8.6m from the Local Growth Fund. This highly impressive building is a fitting example of the North’s growing international reputation for excellence in life sciences and biotechnology.”

Alan Welby, Innovation Director at the North East LEP, added: “The Biosphere offers regional facilities but with a global vision, presenting a welcoming home for ambitious companies within life sciences, healthcare and emerging fields of biotechnology. Being based at Newcastle Helix not only gives companies access to essential support services but also opens a wealth of opportunities such as access to university expertise and research but also the potential of collaboration with others on site – and it’s when companies collaborate that will see real innovation happening which can unlock business growth and ultimately lead to more and better jobs.”

Global Head of Neuroscience Discovery marks official launch of The Biosphere2019-07-09T15:15:27+00:00

Aura Grows Team

Aura has appointed Victoria Bell as Bid and Business Coordinator.

Victoria joins from SES Engineering Services with specialist experience in the creation of winning bids for building services and infrastructure projects. She will support business development, quality management and marketing.

Aura Chief Executive, Kirsty Thirlwell, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Victoria to our team, which has a wide range of expertise and experience in the complexities of the tender process in the construction sector. She will play an integral role in the continued growth of the business. Aura’s success is built on developing a clear understanding of our client’s needs and consistently delivering winning solutions.


Aura Grows Team2019-05-24T08:52:15+00:00

Aura To Design 3 New Schools in Newcastle


Newcastle City Council has awarded Aura a contract to design three new schools as part of its programme for new and expanded schools in the north and outer west of the city.

Aura will undertake detailed design work for two new build schools, First School Newcastle Great Park and Simonside Primary, as well as an expansion of Kingston Park Primary.

The schools will be built to meet current and future demand for school places which is increasing with the continued growth in local population. The designs will create a 21stCentury learning environment which enhances teaching and inspires users to learn. They will encompass a sustainable approach to construction, environmental servicing and travel to school with the use of modern technology for energy efficiency and sustainability.

All of the new school buildings will be constructed to Council specifications, enhancing the immediate environment and providing a welcoming safe and secure facility for children on a site that balances the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Aura Chief Executive, Kirsty Thirlwell, said: “We are delighted to have won this contract and look forward to working closely with Newcastle City Council to create the best possible designs for new schools that will provide a modern sustainable learning environment. Our team has an extensive track record in delivering successful schools projects as well as a detailed understanding of the needs of the local communities which these schools will serve.”

Aura, based in Gateshead, specialises in building consultancy, design and construction, property management and investment. The company has a proven track record and has delivered over £400 million of high-quality infrastructure across the North East in the last ten years.

Aura To Design 3 New Schools in Newcastle2019-03-06T09:36:20+00:00