The commercial property solicitor would simplify and relax planning restrictions and ideally eat Italian food every day

Why did you choose construction as a career?

When I chose law as a career and became a trainee in 2002, property markets were exciting with real opportunity for growth and progression – I knew that was where I wanted to be. Applying this interest to the legal sector fitted my skills and educational aptitude the best.

Riaz Dudhia, Nelsons_

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

Becoming partner has been the pinnacle. I had the best sleep I had in a year after I signed that paperwork!

What has been the biggest challenge of your career to date?

Helping progress the careers of those in my team while still growing the business and doing the best for clients is a challenging yet fulfilling balance. I genuinely care about my colleagues and their success so developing a strong team culture has been a huge thing for me.

If you could change one thing about the construction industry, what would it be?

I find that planning constraints are often behind complicated issues. I have had the privilege of travelling a lot in my career and, when you look at some of our planning laws and regulations compared to those abroad, it’s hard not to feel that we are hampered by tradition.

It restricts creativity and limits opportunities, perhaps pushing people to leave the industry. If I were to change anything, I would relax planning restrictions and allow more scope to push boundaries.

What’s the most helpful advice that you’ve been given?

Ultimately the choices made are down to the client and you should never let what you would do personally impact your approach. It is about providing rounded advice and guiding the client to make a decision that is right for them.


Source: Shutterstock

The Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai stands on an artificial island 280m from Jumeirah beach and connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge

Name your favourite building in the world?

The Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai. I have been lucky enough to stare at it for two weeks while sitting in the sun one December and it is amazing. You don’t appreciate what’s gone into it, but they have essentially created a huge structure in the ocean, and then built the infrastructure from the bottom up.

Which famous building do you wish you had worked on?

The Burj Khalifa, also in Dubai. They set out to break so many records and they succeeded. It is an amazing technical feat of human ingenuity.

What one piece of advice would you give someone starting out in your profession?

No one has proved me wrong when I say that hard work always pays off. If you can work smart, too, then that is even better.

Who do you admire in the construction industry?

I have had to privilege of working for many of our property clients for more than 10 years and I admire all of them in different ways. It has been a pleasure to see the growth of these property-related businesses over the years and I have enjoyed supporting them and seeing how far they have progressed.

What is it like being you?

I am very blessed, in my work and personal life, so it’s pretty good being me!


Source: Shutterstock

At 829.8m, the Burj Khalifa hotel is the world’s tallest building 

Do you have a life philosophy?

Having a good routine is key, but it is equally important to have a balance. Working hard is good, but you have to look after yourself.

What do you think is your best quality?

I hope it is how approachable I am and how committed I am to helping my team and clients. I was drawn into this profession to be challenged technically but also to support people, and I encourage my colleagues to take this human approach to work as well.

What trait do you most dislike in yourself and other people?

I am quite hard on myself, and it’s easy for me to expect the same from others as I expect of myself. Over the years, I have learnt that how I am with myself does not necessarily translate to what I should expect of others. Everyone works differently, and I have had to learn how to draw the best from each of them as individuals.

Name three things that you like?

I’m a total tennis addict and I love good food. But most of all I like spending time with my family.

Tell us a secret skill that we don’t know you have

I am incredible at stringing tennis rackets.

What’s your most prized possession?

I have a lot of nice things, but I wouldn’t mind if I had to give them all up. I always say, “I own them, they don’t own me”, which I believe is a good way to live.

Early bird or night owl?

Night owl, but work and family means that I must be an early bird these days.

What is your favourite food?

Anything Italian, or a good steak.

What would your superpower be?

Teleportation. I could have Italian food every day then. 

Nelsons was established in 1983 and provides support to businesses, individuals and families with their legal and investment needs. The firm has offices throughout the East Midlands in Nottingham, Leicester and Derby.