We has swapped the hurly-burly of management at Berkeley Homes for the post of managing director at Silver Homes, a privately owned housebuilder developing just 20-50 upmarket homes a year in Sussex, Surrey and Kent
You’ve been in the job at Silver Homes for three months now. What’s it like?
It is very different. It is a shock to come into a company this size. There are things that you take for granted, in terms of systems and procedures, that just aren’t there. But that is also part of the fun. It’s great to get back to basics and pay attention to the minutiae again.
Why did you join Silver Homes?
For many reasons: I liked the diversity of their schemes; it is a market I’m familiar with; it’s a small company with enormous potential; and it puts a lot of thought into the product. They have a passion for it.
Are there similarities to working for Berkeley?
Yes, I was at Berkeley for 11 years, doing mainly small and medium-sized bespoke schemes. Berkeley has changed focus, but it is very much Silver Homes’ market. Tony Pidgley stamps his passion for the product on the firm. I wanted to go somewhere with the same ethos.
Richard Silver, Silver Homes’ chief executive, says the company has “big expansion plans”. What are they?
I can’t tell you in huge detail. Richard has taken the company to a certain point, and I’m here to take it to the next level. We’ve done a business plan and taken it to the funders. We have a lot more projects coming through. I’m particularly keen to move into west Sussex, east Hampshire and southern parts of Surrey.
What other business objectives do you have?
I want to increase size and numbers, and I’m anxious to raise our profile and brand awareness in the local market.
Silver Homes is associated with upmarket executive homes. Is it still possible to build those nowadays?
On smaller sites, yes. The opportunities are fewer and that begs the question of the premium that might be attached to them in future. We are diversifying and developing more small homes, but we are still looking to make them a premium product.
What’s the best thing about being with a small company?
The lack of internal politics. Berkeley’s structure changes so often it is easy to question whether its unsettled pattern is exciting or destructive. But when a company is as successful as Berkeley, it is hard to argue the latter.
And the worst?
Organising funding. Berkeley is extremely strong financially and I never had to worry about where the money was coming from. When you are with a small company it is a constant concern.