Partner at Knight Frank Newcastle
6.30am. I get up, make breakfast for me and my two boys who are 9 and 13, take our dog Murphy for a walk and then set-off for work. I drive and it usually takes me about 20 minutes, followed by a short walk along the river, which isn’t the worst way to start your day!
8.15am. Coffee. Possibly two. Needs must. At this time of day it’s quite calm and still in our usually busy, open plan, office on Newcastle Quayside. We overlook the Tyne and the view never gets old. I can sit and think through everything my team has got going on, before the phones start to ring and the emails start bouncing through. 9.00am. I have a two-hour conference call with the lawyers of a client that we are managing a build project for. They are a global manufacturing giant spending over £10m on huge improvements to their facilities and we are managing the project from beginning to end from the design, to procurement, to the build itself.
On the call we talk through a range of legal requirements that need to be actioned before we can start the build at the end of the month.
It’s a really exciting project to be involved with and will provide a step change for the business but it hasn’t been without its challenges. Together with the architect, and the client, we have been in lengthy consultations with planners and heritage bodies because part of the development includes the regeneration of a fairly significant listed building.
11.00am. I have a catch-up with one of my team, Puneet, about how he’s getting on with some Due Diligence surveys that we carried out last week for a London-based fund. This job came on the back of previous surveys we’ve done for this particular client and this time they’ve instructed us to survey a portfolio of care homes that they are considering buying.
The whole point of the survey is to reduce the risk in the purchase. We do this by highlighting any structural issues with the buildings, any statutory non-compliance, lack of maintenance and end-of-life issues, but we also point out potential opportunities for improvements. Most importantly, we tell them what capital works need to be done, the cost of that and who has responsibility to pay for it.
The report helps the client fully understand what they’re buying, at a glance, and ensures they’ve considered the impact of any significant issues within their financial figures and analysis.
We do Building Surveys and Dilapidations Surveys on a whole range of different property types from offices, to hotels, to leisure centres, to factories. And throughout any typical day I take several phone calls to deal with technical or other queries.
12.30pm. Lunch is usually on the hoof. I grab something from a café on the Quayside, or a supermarket if I am out on inspections. Not too many glamorous, Michelin-starred, corporate lunches for me I’m afraid.
1pm. I head off to the hills of County Durham for a site visit with my colleague Sarah to check on the progress of a £1m, 17,000 sq. ft. HQ office relocation that we are project managing. Now this one has been a labour of love because the client is really fun to work with and very passionate about their vision for their building. Seeing it coming to fruition after many months of planning and construction is really satisfying. Enabling businesses to move from old to new premises is a big part of what we do. A move can involve so much more than physical build work from rebranding, to IT solutions, to HR – it’s so important that all of these are taken into consideration.
4pm. I have a meeting with one of our building surveyors, Wilf, about a dilapidations exercise we’re doing. The client is a landlord of a large factory in Northumberland where the long-standing tenant has recently moved out.
The tenant has significant repairing obligations under the terms of their lease, which we have identified and costed to demonstrate the expenses involved. To make sure we have captured as much as we can, we’ve also been running tests on the building’s services. All of this will form part of a claim that we’ll submit to the tenant’s surveyor. 6.00pm. Both my sons play cricket, football and rugby and I’m a volunteer at two of those clubs so many an evening, straight after work, I’m heading off to some sports pitch or other. If they aren’t playing sport, then I probably am. Then it’s home to have dinner with the boys and my wife Kate.