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Our Practice

Founded in 2005, Design ID is an award-winning structural engineering practice, with a reputation for innovative design solutions and lateral thinking. From our offices in Hillsborough (County Down), London and Norwich, we have developed a diverse portfolio of work, extending throughout the UK and Ireland.

Our team of dynamic, creative and ambitious structural engineers and designers are known for their flexible and pro-active approach towards working with fellow architects, artists, designers, developers and contractors.

Our experience of working within multidisciplinary teams enables us to make a positive contribution at the early stages of the design process, where our engineering input can help achieve elegant and cost-effective solutions.

Skills & Expertise

We pride ourselves on developing skills and expertise beyond those of traditional structural engineers. Our work combines the informed use of technology with our extensive experience of working with a wide range of materials.

Our projects consist of large-scale residential developments, commercial, healthcare, hotels, bespoke residential properties, education, leisure, cultural buildings and retail. We also have considerable experience of remedial and refurbishment work in the conservation of historic buildings.

Our knowledge and skills include:

General building structures

  • Steel framed structures
  • Reinforced and pre-stressed concrete
  • Timber frames, floors and roofs
  • Load-bearing masonry structures
  • Aluminum structures
  • Temporary works design and appraisal
  • Foundation and basement design

Specialist Structures

  • Furniture, Signage and lighting systems
  • Specialist staircases and balustrades
  • Sculpture and artworks
  • 3D modeling and analysis
  • Refurbishment and re-modeling of historic and listed structures
  • Lightweight structures, fabric, cable nets, and other geometrically non-linear structures.
  • Structural glass design and detailing

Civil Infrastructure

  • Road, Rail and Pedestrian Bridges
  • Marine Structures and Coastal Protection
  • Public Realm Infrastructure & landscape engineering
  • Asset Protection by inspection, strengthening and refurbishment
  • Retaining Structures
  • Temporary Works & Design for Demolition

Added Value Services

  • Due Diligence appraisals
  • Expert Witness
  • Construction Logistics & Feasibility Modelling
  • Project Management to Statutory Approvals

The Team

We have developed a practice where research, material and technical knowledge are key in providing services beyond those of the more traditional engineering consultants. Our work covers an unusually wide range, both in nature and scale, with projects varying from minor alterations and extensions, to major new buildings and refurbishment projects. We use the most recent developments in materials and construction techniques to keep at the fore of our ever evolving industry.

We have developed the skills required to engineer geometrically and structurally complex projects. Three dimensional computer modelling is becoming an integral aspect in realising many design visions and we are able to use our skills in this area at conceptual stages to help other members of the design team and clients visualise various solutions

Our approach, along with our creative background allows us to work in harmony with Architects without compromising the integrity of their concept. This inspires and drives us to create ingenious, forward thinking but appropriate designs to overcome engineering difficulties and material limitations.

We have also continued to build on our pro-active and enthusiastic relationship with major Contractors to expand on our Design & Build offering. We have therefore been able to offer efficient design services on a range of structural and civil infrastructure projects, including design for temporary works and construction logistics feasibility.

Key Staff

Ian Douglas BEng CEng MIStructE

Studied Structural Engineering with Architectural Design at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and graduated top of his year in 1996 after being awarded the Watt Club Medal for achievement. Initially working for Arup in London and subsequently Glasgow he was involved in landmark projects such as the Royal Opera House in Covant Garden and ‘Homes for the Future’ at Glasgow Green. Following a return to Northern Ireland in 1999, Ian joined Mott MacDonald in Belfast and played an integral part of developing their structural capability; introducing new technology and creativity to their design process. He worked on a variety of retail, education and industrial projects and developed relationships with a number of leading Architects.
In 2005 Ian established Design ID as a design lead engineering practice with the aim of providing a service focused on working with Architects to achieve exceptional design in the build environment.

Jonathan Macauley BEng CEng MIStructE MIEI

Studied Architectural Engineering at Queen’s University in Belfast and graduated top of his year in 2001 with the IStructE Award. His initial career was spent working on large scale industrial and education projects at home and overseas with Mott MacDonald. Jonathan later worked for Irish practice O’Connor Sutton Cronin and was able to develop his creative and practical flair on several multi-million Euro office and mixed-use developments. In 2006 he was nominated for the Chartered Engineer of the Year by the Institution of Engineers of Ireland.

In 2007 Jonathan joined former colleague Ian as a partner of Design ID further develop the ethos already established.
Jonathan has been a guest lecturer at the University of Ulster’s Art College and tutors at the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen’s University. He continues to produce bespoke furniture and sculptures influenced by the mathematical principles whilst applying the hands-on knowledge to engineering solutions. Jonathan also sits on the assessment panel for new technical papers published by the Institution of Structural Engineers.

Recent Awards

2016 IStructE Project Award Winner – Clic Sargent, Belfast
2016 IABSE Design Competition Winner – Strabane Pedestrian Cycle Bridge

2015 IStructE Project Award Winner – Weavers Court, Belfast
2015 RIBA House of the Year - Shortlist - House Maghera by McGonigle McGrath
2015 RIBA National Award - House Maghera by McGonigle McGrath
2015 RICS Northern Ireland - Regeneration - Larne Market Yard Highly Commended

2014 RIBA Award - Home from Home RVH by McGonigle McGrath
2014 RSUA Award - Home from Home RVH by McGonigle McGrath

2013 RIBA Stirling Prize - Shortlist - Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre by Heneghan Peng

2012 RIBA Award - 109 Osborne Park Belfast by ARD (ciaran mackel) Architects


  • Constructionline - Ref 60697
  • SER Approved Certifiers of Design
  • TRADA Member
  • Concrete Society Members