AN employee who joined a civil engineering firm as a trainee architect has been named managing director of the firm, fifteen years later.

Richard Marsden started as an undergraduate with architect and civil engineering firm, Building Design Northern (BDN), where he learnt the skills of the trade and climbed the ranks into management.

BDN was founded in Darlington in 1983 but now operates from Durham and its recently-opened site Ulverston in Cumbria.

Sunderland-born Mr Marsden recently concluded a management buy-out, acquiring the remaining shares of its former managing director Clive Oliphant, and co-director Gary Ward.

This meant he formally took over the firm as it's sole shareholder and managing director.

Mr Marsden said: “Having spent my whole professional career at BDN, I am delighted to now be in a position of owning a business I’m extremely passionate about.

"I’ve seen huge changes during my time with BDN, having built the architecture arm of the business from a standing start, and I’m really excited to now be in a position to oversee the ongoing growth and development of the whole firm.”

The Durham-based firm is currently building a housing development in Sunderland, Spire View, which will feature eight super-sustainable properties with views across the city.

Mr Marsden said: "“We have an extremely talented team at BDN, and the quality of the schemes we are able to design and engineer, project manage and ultimately bring to market, are fantastic.

"We always look to test the boundaries of design, innovation and technology.

"Schemes that allow us to be visionary - to do something different – are attractive to us, and we have proven we have the ability to create special schemes, like Spire View.

"I am keen to develop that part of the business, as I think we can really do some incredible work. And the scheme in Sunderland is showing just what we are capable of."