IF you don’t already know the name Saira Hussain you are bound to have encountered some of her builds across Lancashire.

What started as a small scale career at her parent’s house in Burnley has evolved into a large-scale company.

In the last 4 years, the company has expanded all over the UK with offices in Lancashire, London, Manchester and Leeds.

She is one of the founders of HAD & CO property consultants, which is a female-led architecture, planning, property and interior design consultancy.

Lancashire Telegraph: Saira HussainSaira Hussain

Over her career, Saira has also scooped awards including one for ‘the most influential woman in architecture’ back in 2017.

However, climbing through the ranks of the industry hasn’t always been easy.

Construction and architecture is typically a masculine dominated industry, a stereotype that she is trying to break and encourage more women to pursue. 

“We had a guy in who was a work experience sat right at the back of the office," Saira recalled.

“The client walked in and completely ignored me, speaking directly to the guy in the back of the room.

"He assumed the man was in charge and not the women in the room."

Unfortunately, this wasn’t an isolated incident.

However, Saira maintained that it “motivated” her and gave her “a lot of energy” to make waves in her career

She added: “I wanted to show that women can do exactly what men can do- maybe even better.”

“We just want to be the best we can possibly be and motivate other women to do the same.”

The company’s social media platforms have a combined total of around 50,000 followers; according to Saira a lot of these are young women with a desire to join the architecture and design industry.

Every day, they are inundated with messages of support and questions from women hoping the break into the industry.

Saira added: “I try and make time every day to respond to these messages with advice”.

Life in lockdown

Compared to most other industries, construction is faring relatively well in lockdown.

It’s one of the only industries allowed to continue in the pressing times- but Saira wishes she, and other architects, had more support during lockdown.

She said: “We have found lockdown really difficult.

“The majority of our industrial clients are in the hospitality sector- while they may be getting some government support we haven’t been entitled to anything.

“I hope that things will get better soon and we can get up and running again.”

However, one positive of lockdown is that home owners are really starting to understand their homes and know exactly what they want to change about it.

Lancashire Telegraph: Saira and the team, hard at workSaira and the team, hard at work

“As more people have been working from home, I’ve realised that clients know every detail about their house.

“I’ve noticed that open plan living was popular last year or the year before- but we’re losing that now as there is a lack of privacy associated with open plan living.”

Builds around Blackburn and Burnley

While Saira and the rest of the team have worked on numerous architectural projects of the decade, but transforming the Lava and Ignite nightclub is one that sticks in her mind.

Lancashire Telegraph: The nightclub is being renovated into luxury apartmentsThe nightclub is being renovated into luxury apartments

The club was an integral part of Burnley’s nightlife until it closed in 2014.

In 2018, plans were made to transform the Grade II listed property into a set of luxury apartments.

As it is a Grade II listed property, a lot of thought has been put into the design of the new apartment such as the importance of keeping the iconic chimney.

Another interesting project for Saira was the work on the vicarage for St Mark’s Church in Blackburn.

The architectural historian, Nikolaus Pevsner, considered this to be one of the most interesting churches in Blackburn.

She said: “We found a lot of exciting old stuff in that vicarage.

“It’s also linked directly with the church so we had to do a lot of heritage work with it too.”

The team is currently working a sculpture piece for Thompson Park in Burnley.

Lancashire Telegraph: Thompson Park pavillion sculpture Thompson Park pavillion sculpture

According to Saira, it is “A sculpture piece to be used as a beacon for the park and to encourage and represent all cultures and creeds that form Burnley as a town.”

If you would like to learn more about the company’s work, and maybe even hire the team for yourself, you can discover more on the HAD & CO website.