TFT at RICS Building Surveying Conference

Last week TFT decamped to the Royal Lancaster Hotel to join the 2019 RICS Building Surveying Conference (May 2), an industry gathering with a full programme of seminars and panels tackling the state and future of surveying.

Katie Brooks, Associate Building Surveyor, chaired three sessions on two topics across the day, hosting almost 600 people as part of her role in the RICS Conference Working Group which shaped the day’s agenda and content.

Katie’s first session was on offsite and modular construction, a topic which is regaining recognition in the industry due to the cost saving opportunities it offers, and the scale which modular building techniques can provide. A recent RICS report on Modern Methods of Construction declared modular methods could be a route to accelerate home building for the Government’s target of 300,000 homes per year by 2020.

Katie chaired a presentation and Q&A by Tim Prosser of Hawk Technical, who examined the pros and cons of modular and off-site construction methods. Tim drew on case studies he has witnessed over the past few years, and weighed up the benefits for different kinds of developer, and he also showed how differing approaches would result in implications for building sequence, logistics, sustainability and design process on top of the core considerations of time, cost and quality.

The second session on Katie’s agenda was a presentation on the building regulations, and specifically enforcement. A presentation from David McCullogh (who chairs the RICS Fire Safety Leaders Forum and sits on CIC’s specialist Grenfell panel) reminded the audience that the industry has a duty to self-regulate, and to take responsibility for proposing improvements.

We also saw TFT Partners David Mann and Chris Gibbons take the stage to give an update on Technical Due Diligence (TDD) as the RICS prepares to launch the latest Guidance Note on TDD. The pair presented best practice updates on assessing risk, how to approach surveys for different building types, how to use technology such as drones to maximise access and value from a survey, and what clients expect from the best surveyors.

In summary, those are: sharp detective instincts, a commercial perspective on what impacts value the most, and clear, timely communication of the key facts.

Scotland and M&E Partners named amid national team development

We’re pleased to announce a set of promotions across TFT which strengthens our position in Scotland and our M&E offering, as well as growth across several key service lines and regions:

Promotion and new joiners, clockwise from top left: Marc Hill, Lorna Melton-Scott, Andrew Ferrznolo, Jon Grimes, Neil Wotherspoon, Greg Curtis, Clayton McClean, Dan May, Oliver Morris and Shanika Fraser.

Neil Wotherspoon becomes Partner. Having headed up TFT’s Edinburgh practice since it was established in 2016, Neil has grown our presence in the region with major projects including the landmark Edinburgh St James redevelopment, which we monitor for APG.

Marc Hill becomes Partner for M&E, based in our Bristol practice. Marc joined as part of independent M&E consultancy Wye Solutions, which was acquired by TFT in 2014. Today Marc leads a 15-strong team across Bristol, Guildford, London and Birmingham, maximising the value of property portfolios with enhanced building services which combine sustainability and performance.

Reflecting continual growth in our Development and Project Consultancy, Andrew Ferrznolo and Jon Grimes both become Technical Partners, in London and Cardiff respectively.

Oliver Morris is now an Associate in TFT’s Sustainability Consultancy, following commendation as a UKGBC Future Leader. Dan May becomes Associate, specialising in commercial building consultancy, based in London

Regional growth around TFT’s Birmingham office has also led to the promotion of two Senior Building Surveyors, Greg Curtis and Clayton McLean – and the arrival of Shanika Fraser to the practice as a Project Manager from Allen Construction Consultancy.

In Guildford, we welcome Nathan Smith, BS graduate from Atkins.

With new joiners and team shifts underway, we’re also very happy to name Lorna Melton-Scott as HR Manager, based in Guildford. She’s here to provide higher-level HR advice and support across a diverse team of specialists, as well as lead recruitment for further new roles on the way.

Reported in Property Week. Read the article here:

UKGBC, TFT and partners produce new Circular Economy guidance

Many people will be familiar with ‘the circular economy’, as the concept and terminology rises up the political and business agenda. But how can we turn thought into action in our own industry? UKGBC and TFT teamed up with stakeholders across the industry to publish new guidance to do just that.

Circular economy principles can have different implications across different industries, products or services – but The Ellen MacArthur Foundation identifies these three key traits of a successful circular model:

  • Design out waste and pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerate natural systems

It’s hard to name an industry which is doing all these things, but as we face more strain on resources of all kinds, it’s incumbent on everyone to improve models which generate waste and pollution for sustainability.

“…the quantity of reused materials in construction has actually decreased since 1998. At the same time, the rates of extraction of materials in our fast-developing world are already way beyond planetary capacity.”

Sunand Prasad, Founder Penoyre & Prasad and Trustee of UKGBC

We face a big challenge to employ circular principles across the built environment and the supply chain which feeds it, due to the systemic change which is needed. Closer coordination is one way to achieve this.

To that end, TFT partnered with UKGBC and a range of construction industry stakeholders to formalise the steps to meet an industry-wide circularity objective.

The first output of this work is a guidance document, focusing on RIBA stages 1 & 2 (Preparation & Brief and Concept Design, respectively). Looking closely at setting a project up for circular success, the guidance provide practical steps to realise the commercial value of circular construction, from ensuring supply chain effectiveness to informing project management and mitigating risks along the way.

If you’re interested in learning how the guidance can be applied to maximise the long term value of your building project or your wider portfolio, contact Helen Newman.

The full guidance can be downloaded from UKGBC, here.

So you think you know property? A Monday morning brainteaser

MIPIM 2019: TFT’s top 3

Another year, another heady mix of sun, sea, beach lunches and wide discussion about today’s property world and its future.

As ever, the week after MIPIM is all about getting back to the day job, giving us an opportunity to reflect on the key themes which came through at this year’s gathering, away from the Croisette.

We’re lucky to have spent time with a broad swathe of industry insiders including investors, developers, architects, lawyers and local authority bodies – who each bring a different perspective to the challenges at hand.

And the really interesting news? It’s not all about Brexit.  

In fact, the quietly upbeat tone suggested many people had moved past a ‘doom and gloom’ outlook. Perhaps, having been busily accounting for potential risks, we’re now in a better place to look ahead and consider the opportunities for economic shifts and innovation in industry practice.

With those opportunities in mind, here are our top three MIPIM takeaways:

The UK market looks buoyant, and less London-centric. 

At MIPIM, the Birmingham and Manchester stands really stood out, communicating impressive plans for future growth in their respective regions. A replica of Scotland’s kelpies also gleamed in the Cannes sunshine, reminding guests that high levels of investment north of the border point to great things for Scotland’s future development.

We have always backed regional growth and development from our offices across the country, operating in the Midlands, North, West and South-East of England, and with a rapidly-growing Scotland practice. The team in Edinburgh is currently instructed as monitoring surveyors for the Edinburgh St James development. This landmark project is set to reinvigorate a site in the heart of Scotland’s capital as a c£800m mixed-use scheme, bringing new retail, leisure and residential prospects to the centre.

Find out more about: Edinburgh St James

While growth is predicted beyond London, Grade A office space remains under-supplied inside the M25. We are looking forward to guiding a series of major developments to serve this need in the coming months, using our experience in significant development and refurbishment projects geared to create sustainable and high-yield office space.

Find out more about: 338 Euston Road, The Heals Building, Wellington House

Major growth ahead for PRS

The idea of home ownership is becoming less of a cultural norm, as flexible lifestyles and financial liquidity take precedence over climbing the property ladder. Accordingly, the prospects are great for owners and investors to capitalise on huge demand for quality offerings in the private rental sector (PRS), which looks to outstrip its supply.

At MIPIM, Grainger CEO Helen Gordon suggested that demand for PRS is set to reach 7.2m households by 2025, while we currently have just 4.5m in place today.

But it’s not just the volume of property set to increase. We’re already seeing a diverse array of schemes offered up for the rental market, and if we as occupiers expect to spend our days in rented accommodation we’ll expect a broader range of rental solutions (buildings and services) to fit our personal needs. Buildings will be flexible and run in more innovative ways to meet those demands and get the most value from a hugely promising sector.

This isn’t a UK-specific trend, as we’re seeing similar forces playing out in European markets driving demand across the board.

Contact David Mann to learn more about the opportunities and challenges to navigate to make the most of the growing PRS sector.

Changing building safety from a regulation to a feature

A conversation we had several times throughout MIPIM centred on building safety, particular when it comes to fire and cladding issues. The impact of the Hackitt review of course is a significant driver of these inquiries, though we believe it’s also an indication of forward-thinking landlords understanding public attention is shifting to become more aware of these matters.

Increasingly, occupiers will query and make decisions of their property choices based on the safety measures in place. So a robust safety strategy, implemented well, will be crucial in residential accommodation and also for commercial property assets. The occupier market won’t necessarily see regulation as isolated to, for instance, residential towers of a certain height – they’ll expect all buildings to perform to a high standard where safety, health and wellbeing of inhabitants is concerned.

Investigating and implementing the right safety strategy is a nuanced process which plays out differently per building. Contact Alan Pemberton to learn more about how we can meet your needs.

TFT Partner becomes Chairman of local Bristol charity

The West of England MS Therapy Centre, newly branded as ‘The Brightwell’ is one of TFT’s local charity partners for 2019 and TFT Partner, Paul Spaven, has today been announced as their incoming Chairman.

The charity, based in Bradley Stoke of North Bristol, provides both treatments and therapies to those living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other neurological conditions. Paul joined the charity as a Trustee in April 2016 following his introduction to their team when completing remedial works on the Centre and has since supported the centre through donations, fundraising and volunteering, both individually and alongside colleagues in the TFT Bristol office.

In September 2018, Paul joined three TFT colleagues in the TFT-sponsored fundraiser “Take the Plunge” for the Centre, donating over £750 to bring comfort and ease to the daily lives of the members from the centre.

Last May, TFT were also sponsors of the “2018 Brunel Neurological Alliance Study Day” which focussed on mental health and wellbeing with the aim to provide a deeper understanding of the impact neurological conditions can have on these, and vice-versa.

As part of his new role, Paul will be taking forward the new branding as a catalyst for growth, recognition and development of the centre and its services. He aims to improve the facilities for members, widen the appeal and use of its facilities and to increase access to oxygen service, such as for those requiring a speedy recovery from sports injuries.

My journey to property: Pardip Kaur, Business Data Manager

Lastly, we speak to Pardip Kaur, Business Data Manager, to learn a bit about her journey to TFT and why she encourages more women to continue pushing boundaries and add something unique to the property industry!

How did you get into the industry and your role?

I started working in the property industry 20 years ago at RICS within their events department. I was at the RICS for 6.5 years. When I joined RICS, the events were heavily attended by male surveyors, but by the time I left, I was working with females who were on the professional working groups for building surveying and building control.

My profession means I can work within a variety of industries, but it’s because of the wonderful people I have met through the years that I have remained in property circle (some of these are now my close friends!).

Have you come across any particular challenges within it? 

I’ve not really found any challenges within the industry. This might be due to the type of roles I have had and my strong personality. 

Do you have any advice to give people who don’t know too much about it or who are considering going into the industry?  

My experience within the industry has always been a positive one. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it had not have been for the people I met throughout my career. The industry is very open and approachable.  

My journey to property: Jennifer Hobart, Senior Building Surveyor

Here we speak to Jennifer Hobart, Senior Building Surveyor, to learn a bit about her journey to TFT and why she encourages more women to fight stereotypes and continue pushing boundaries.

How did you get into the industry and your role?

I went down the standard route of applying to university as an encouraged next step after 6th form but very quickly realised I did not enjoy studying Classics as much I thought I might. As a result, I dropped out and went home. However, I’d always found the architectural part of Classics interesting and somehow found a very tenuous link to surveying.

Surveying as a career seemed to fit with how I saw my work- life going. I didn’t always want to be in the office so getting out and about to see buildings sounded interesting. Though I was quite disappointed when I found out that using the tripods you see on the sides of roads would not be part of the job!

Have you come across any particular challenges within it?

Not really. Though I do recall being told early on that this might not be the career for me… Luckily, I’m stubborn and it spurred me on!

Do you have any advice to give people who don’t know too much about it/who are considering going into the industry?

Do your research and ask current professionals about the job – there are so many directions you can go in. When I first started at university, I only really envisaged surveying houses for homebuyers, it didn’t even occur to me that there were commercial routes, valuation, general practice etc. Make sure the university you apply to is RICS accredited.

Lastly, always have your phone on your person on site, you never know when you might accidentally lock yourself in a cupboard!

Diversity and culture (and you) help us navigate the future

TFT Partner for HR & Operations, Chris Keates-Lewis, explains how a personal and flexible culture helps diverse teams thrive, and enables the business to navigate a changing world.

How can we make International Women’s Day more than just an annual celebration? By acknowledging its central message – that what individuals can do is more important than the labels we might carry, and that nobody should be limited by bias.

It sounds simplistic, and of course the reality can be complex in organisations or industries which have deeply entrenched legacy practices. But wider understanding of diversity as critical to our business’ performance should help to undo these legacies sooner.

We in the property and built environment industries are grappling with challenging forces, including geo-political uncertainty, technological progress, social change and environmental factors too. Together, they are shifting our needs and expectations of buildings, both as owners and occupiers – they also mean more people than ever before can take part in the industry and shape our built environment for a brighter future.

Through over 30 years at TFT, I’ve seen first-hand the evolution of building, growing to encompass a broadening array of issues than in the years before. While tools and knowledge are always developing, we also need diversity to bring greater vision and different talents to complex challenges.

Today, TFT’s teams include more diverse roles and skills than at any time in our history – from sustainability, architecture, engineering, building surveying, wellbeing, energy modelling, development management and more besides. Even disciplines which resemble those we’ve been hiring for throughout our history are changing, with new technology and commercial challenges to address.

READ MORE: We spoke with five ladies across TFT who represent a growing range of roles and experiences across the modern industry. Find out more about their journeys here.

We’re proud to look across our offices today and see a diverse array of talented people all contributing their skills to shape the future built environment. We’ve been growing our business with people of all backgrounds, gender, age, nationality and qualifications – creating a richer business from a broad set of roles, skills and perspectives.

It also requires a different approach to management and culture. It means our talent development policy can’t be one-size-fits-all, so we consult with individuals on their own needs and invest in solutions to help them succeed. Whether it’s raising a family, overcoming health challenges, supporting a passion project or changing career path, different people have different needs to meet. As an employer, we want to help our people be the best they can be, whatever their circumstances.

The most diverse organisations aren’t necessarily the loudest ones on International Women’s Day, but those fostering a culture to provide every employee the best experience year-round.

To the pioneers coming in to the industry to build a better future, we hope that TFT will always be a place to grow, challenge yourself and make an impact on the world – and that our differences will only make us stronger.

My journey to property: Jacqui Allen, Partner

Here we speak to Jacqui Allen, Building Surveyor and Partner at TFT, to learn a bit about her journey to property and why she encourages more women to continue pushing boundaries.

How did you get into the industry and your role?

I originally did a degree in architecture as I was interested in art, design and buildings. I then re-trained as a building surveyor when I was involved with conservation work at English Heritage.

Have you come across any particular challenges within it?

In my opinion, there are no particular challenges as a female, but I think you need to have a robust personality and be strong to be in the construction industry as a woman. If you know your stuff and do a good job it doesn’t matter what gender you are!

Do you have any advice to give people who don’t know too much about it/ who are considering going into the industry?

Do it! It’s a really varied role and no two days are the same. It is constantly challenging mentally and the opportunity to work on a huge variety of buildings definitely keeps it interesting.