On Line Design & Engineering

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by On Line Design & Engineering's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from On Line Design & Engineering is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
BrendanConlan, managing
director of On Line Design
and chairman of industry-led
initiative CATCH
Designing the pipe work – the arteries
of everything that flows within the UK –
gas, oil, water, chemicals and waste
Since being founded by chairman Jeff Laird in 1982,
On Line Design has provided exceptional consulting,
engineering, engineering design, procurement and
construction management, as well as independent project
management services to the oil and gas, petrochemical, food
and steel industries, covering both greenfield and brownfield
developments, at sea and on land. The company is made up of
more than 250 professional engineers, consultants and project
managers, meeting customer requirements for quality and
experienced design solutions. On Line Design is part of On Line
Group Limited, a family of companies committed to providing
integrated engineering solutions to customers in the Humber
region and the UK more generally. They’ve shown that, despite
competition from the Far East, British businesses can still thrive
in this area. Elaborating on this and on the company more
generally is their managing director, Brendan Conlan.
Our role in the market
With many years of experience in large construction sites and construction projects,
the founders were able to identify the need for a design firm with the necessary
experience and knowledge of the engineering sector to better understand customer
needs and provide tailored solutions. From humble beginnings in a Portakabin
on the North Killingholme airfield, south Humberside, our company focused on
»Managing director:
»Established in 1982
»Based in Humberside
»Services: Specialist in brownfield
engineering design and project
management services
»No. of employees: Over 250
»Our designs are at the heart
of $1 billion worth of capital
investments within the UK
On Line Design
collecting designers of all disciplines,
each with a sound understanding of
design, fabrication, manufacturing,
engineering and constructionmethods.
I joined On Line Design and
Engineering in 2015, after
transitioning from Centrica Storage
(the largest gas storage facility in
the UK) as I recognised On Line’s
future growth potential and the
value of related values formed by
the founders, Jeff Laird and his
family. On Line grew continuously
under the leadership of Jeff Laird
since its founding, and he wanted to
ensure his legacy and the continued
growth of the company into the
future. It genuinely fills me with
pride to say that we offer an entirely
“British” approach to supporting
our customers’ requirements,
where we continue to develop our
talents and fight the urge to send
our designs to offshore locations to
make them cheaper and increase
our profit margins. This is not to say,
however, that we do not recognise
and introduce overseas talent where
we need it, but rather that we design
and work in the UK, supporting our
customers as closely aspossible.
Indeed, this commitment to closely
considering the needs of our clients is
a core commitment of ours. We believe
that the durability of our customers is
a measure of our success, and we are
honoured by the high response rate of
our customers and are similarly proud
of our relationships and of the broader
family of shareholders, employees
Humberside’s best kept secret
As a company, we are known as one
of Humberside’s best kept secrets, but
our remit does not stop there. The
impact of the changing world we live
in is very evident in the Humberside
region. Traditional industries are
constantly faced with the difficult
economic situation, have to compete
within the UK and worldwide, with
many restructurings, development of
new processes and, in some cases,
downsizing. However, the region is
also experiencing the beginnings of an
emergence of the offshore renewable
energy sector, with announcements of
developments such as Hornsea and the
existing operations of the Lincolnshire
coast. This is something we are well
suited to take advantage of. From the North Sea to
your home – we help
our clients deliver
As a company,
we are known
as one of
best kept
secrets, but our
remit does not
stop there
Highlighting best practice
With our large customer base
across the UK, we are established in
petrochemical, oil and gas (onshore
and offshore), food, power and water,
nuclear and steel industries.
The world we live in is constantly
changing, with Brexit being only
part of that change. As our business
grows, we are looking for security and
decisiveness from government, which
we believe is a priority in order for
British companies to achieve all their
growth and investment plans for years
to come.
Changes in the sector
Britain as a whole is losing a lot of its
competency in the area we work in,
despite being historically specialised.
Part of this is due to intractable
changes in the global economy –
namely the opening of cheaper eastern
markets – but much of it is tractable,
so long as there is the social and
political will.
It is too easy for companies to export
technical requirements and forget the
traditions we’ve grown out of as one
country. In the UK, only 4 per cent
of young people want to pursue a
career in engineering, placing us in this
respect 35th out of the 37 countries
in the OECD, which is unacceptable.
We need more government support to
ensure nationally that we recreate the
reputation of British engineering by
building our own talents. Ultimately,
we owe it to the next generation to
provide them with meaningful work
and to pass on the skills that so many
of our forebears worked hard to be
world-leading in. There is no reason,
in this digital age, for the younger
generation to not develop competency
in this area of work.
Whatever the future holds though,
we will be prepared. We’ve been in
this market for decades, and in the
process have witnessed all kinds of sea
changes. For us, the future consists
in staying true to our mission, which
is as follows. Firstly, to be the best
and most widely respected consulting
engineers, project managers and
technical employment agency in
Humberside and throughout the
UK – all, moreover, supported by our
machine and fabrication business;
and secondly, to create value and
make a difference for our employees,
clients, shareholders, as well as for the
communities in which we live.
We need more
support to
nationally that
we recreate
the reputation
of British
engineering by
building our
own talents
In times of uncertainty,
our clients increasing
their storage capacity
is of paramount
importance for the


This article was sponsored by On Line Design & Engineering. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister