What’s your professional background?
I’m a quantity surveyor and I’ve had just two employers: Faithful+Gould for four years after graduating, and EC Harris, who became Arcadis, from 2003 until 2016. I’ve now come full circle and I’m delighted to have this new challenge at Faithful+Gould. We have a great track record and work on leading projects, so it’s exciting and satisfying.
What attracted you to the residential sector?
It’s about place-making. I want to create environments that add to quality of life, playing a part in people’s aspirations to own or rent a quality property. It’s also a reasonably safe bet that we’ll always need to build or adapt homes, so a good career choice.
A fully modular residential project in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, with components built in Nottingham. The UK needs to embrace off-site construction. High-profile student accommodation has also been a highlight, most recently 1400 beds at the University of Salford. It’s great to create a new community, a home away from home, where students take responsibility, look after it and enjoy it.
The UK isn’t building suffcient new homes and there continues to be a widening gap around affordability.
What changes are we seeing in the sector?
The balance between tenure types is a big change. We’re moving closer to a more European model of long-term renting, with demand for good-quality rental products. We’re seeing institutional funds invest in large developments, and hotel-type services becoming part of the high-quality rental package.
So what could happen next?
The UK isn’t building suffcient new homes and there continues to be a widening gap around affordability. There has to be a response to the affordability issue, whether that’s people’s ability to buy, or developers’ ability to create quality affordable rentals. With Milton Keynes now 50 years old, there’s the next generation of new cities and garden villages to consider.
What’s your main focus over the next year?
The private rented sector (PRS), both commercial development and student accommodation. The biggest opportunities in the market lie here, our skillset is an excellent fit, and I believe we can respond very strongly.
Have you a longer-term focus?
This is a time of uncertainty, but I think the market will increasingly respond to the call for much-needed later living and extra-care accommodation. Our skills make a difference here, ensuring that developers and occupiers get the very best value, so we expect to contribute more to this market segment.
This is a time of uncertainty, but I think the market will increasingly respond to the call for much-needed later living and extra-care accommodation.
Your next career challenge?
I’ve joined Faithful+Gould to help build a business that is sustainable in the residential sector. I’m encouraging in-house collaboration, to make best use of an excellent team, ensuring that clients get the best resource for their projects.
Life outside work?
We have two pre-school daughters and family life is busy. I like to get the kids away from the digital world and into the real world, so we do sporty things and have lots of days out. We’re very sociable and I’m a keen golfer too.
What’s your own home like?
A traditional detached house in a leafy Nottinghamshire suburb, which suits us well – but one day I’d love to design and build a new family home. I’d focus on the quality of the property rather than the size, and hopefully something that makes an architectural statement. We’d be unlikely to relocate far though, as we have everything we need locally, including our children’s grandparents.
How’s your work-life balance?
For me, a healthy work-life balance means thinking carefully about where you live and work. I wanted to work for a business that wasn’t London-centric, so I’m leading a national sector from Nottingham – and that feels refreshingly healthy!
This is a great location for travelling around the UK and supporting our regional offices, which is important. I think it’s great that employers now give more thought to work-life balance and also to the working environment.