We recently sat down with Guy Owen, associate partner in our building consultancy team and asked him a few questions about his career and his first impressions of SW, having joined our Manchester team in August last year.
What does a typical day look like for you at the moment?
I am site based roughly 50% of the time with the rest of my time being office based. My current workload involves a lot of travelling and usually means an early start to beat the traffic.
Last week, for example, I was on site for 2 days with Phil Kenny surveying 300,000 sq ft of warehouse and office space in Preston and the week before I completed a dilapidations survey of 90,000sq ft of offices in Bath.
I particularly enjoy surveying older buildings with an interesting history, you never know what you are going to find. I like to imagine what it was like in the past, in particular, our industrial buildings in their heyday.
What is your favourite building in the North West?
There are a lot to choose from in Manchester, the town hall is spectacular in terms of the stonework and intricate detailing. Co-op’s new HQ building at Angel Square is also very impressive both from the outside and within the enormous atrium space in the centre. I visited it during its construction which was interesting. To give you an idea of scale, apparently, an EasyJet plane would fit in the atrium!
Tell us about a standout project that you have been involved in.
So far at SW the 9 condition surveys at Trinity Saint David’s Campuses in Swansea is my standout project.
I prepared the bid, won the work, managed the survey process and the client’s expectations and delivered the project before the deadline. I can’t take all the credit though, Jade from our Newcastle Office put in a lot of effort on this project as well, and if we hadn’t worked as a team the project would have been a lot more challenging! I am looking forward to writing more bids in the future and generating new opportunities for SW.
What do you think the future looks like in the building consultancy industry?
Use of technology is likely to increase exponentially, we are already seeing the use of drones, infrared photography, surveying apps, BIM and many other technologies that 10 years ago were not even heard of. Who knows what the future holds? A.I. looks like the next big thing.
As tech moves forward I think it will play a bigger and bigger role in enabling us to work more efficiently, get more done and to work smarter. I feel that If we do not embrace the tech revolution eventually we will be left behind.
What would you change to influence the future of the industry?
Businesses form around 80% of our client base so an obvious change would be the removal of barriers to business; such as reduced taxation of commerce, relaxation of planning laws affecting business and a general reduction of bureaucracy surrounding business activities in relation to property.
If you could give one piece of business advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Never turn down an opportunity. Particularly to do something or go somewhere new or to learn a new skill.
This is advice that my grandfather gave me several years ago, he turned down an opportunity to work at the Monaco Grand Prix in his youth and has never forgiven himself.
Name three people, dead or alive, that you would pick to work in your team.
1. Arnold Schwarzenegger – A childhood hero who I still follow today, I would choose him for his straight talking honest opinions, his mental ability to push harder than anyone else and his amazing life experiences.
2. Steve Jobs – For his vision, creativity and ability to always seem to be one step ahead of the competition.
3. Ronnie O’Sullivan – for his pure natural talent, ability to deal with pressure, and of course his comedy value to keep the team laughing and enjoying work.