Dan Clarke, 37, is associate director of Native Land
What has been the hardest challenge you have faced to get to where you are now?
Getting people in development companies to read beyond “qualified Architect”. When I was moving over from being an architect to being a developer. There is a, partially justified, assumption that some architects are not “commercial”.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Definitely still in property development - it’s what excites me as it combines so many aspects of business and the built environment. I am ambitious and want to be further up the chain, involved in ever bigger picture aspects of the role - but that has to be earned!
Where do you see the construction industry going in the next year, three years and decade?
There are so many strands to the industry it will not fare evenly. However, the big challenges afoot are in my view the remaining bad debt on property, the change in balance between public and private spending, the global challenges of the environment and the rebalancing of resources across the globe. The effect being a flat or worsening climate for construction for the next five years with a pick up thereafter as the economy recovers and the public sector begins catching up with the coming period of under-investment.
What has been your career high point so far?
When we (Native Land) managed to keep the NEO Bankside project moving in the dark days following Lehman Brothers. We had to provide the evidence and rational to back our firm gut feel that it would still be a good investment.
And the low point?
I have two. Seeing us miss out on a number of great sites during the height of the boom as huge prices were paid; now looking at many of those sites today having stalled or never even got going. And, seeing the Twin Towers come down. Quite apart from the horrible loss of life, I had developed a soft spot for tall buildings while at Canary Wharf and, after a visit to New York, the scale of those buildings held a place in my imagination.
Who is your hero?
I don’t “do” heroes. I have however been inspired by many people, notably my hardworking parents and, luckily, several outstanding bosses and memorable individuals during my career who all have desirable qualities.
If you could take one thing with you to a desert island, what would it be?
Can I say my wife? If not, I would love to while away the hours in the blistering tropical sun building sand castles like I do with my children in Cornwall at the weekends, so I guess I would need a bucket and spade.