Cluttons' new partner on his first week on the job and reasons to be cheerful despite the recession
I wasn’t actively looking for a new job but was cold called to see if I was interested in setting up a new QS/project management venture.
So I went along for an interview with Paul Chilton and James Gray, who head up Cluttons’ project and building consultancy. Things moved pretty quickly thereafter.
What attracted me to the job was the opportunity to not only set up the new cost and management consultancy group but to fashion it in my own way.
To be honest, I was surprised by the size of the project and building consultancy as well as its strength and expertise, as I had never thought of Cluttons before as a QS or project manager.
In fact I had no idea that the project and building consultancy employed nearly 80 people throughout the South-east. It was for this reason as well, as the impressive client list and strong brand, that made me want to join.
I am sure many people will think now is a risky time to start a new job, but the chance of heading up a new department at a firm like Cluttons, and to have an opportunity to sell a quality service to new and existing clients, was too good to pass up.
Anyway, I am of the firm opinion that the current economic climate presents some fantastic opportunities for those who are brave enough and have the ability to take advantage of any openings that present themselves.
I would not say there is still plenty of work out there, but you could be forgiven for thinking when reading the newspapers that the property and construction markets have shut up shop and closed down.
I am of the firm opinion that the current economic climate presents some fantastic opportunities for those who are brave enough and have the ability to take advantage of any openings
There’s no doubt complacency had set in to the market during the last few years and now everyone involved in this industry is having to reappraise where the work will come from, especially as the majority of big developments have been put on hold – but, for all that, the work is out there.
For instance, a number of landlords and tenants are taking the opportunity to refurbish or to invest in some active management of their commercial or residential properties to make them more lettable or saleable for when the market turns.
The registered social landlord market is also quite strong, and so too the healthcare sector. It will also be interesting to see what the government has in store for us in terms of public spending to kick-start the economy.
It looks like there could be quite a lot of public sector work in the next few years.
I am optimistic about the future; the market is cyclical and will recover in due course. Naturally, the financial side is paramount at the moment and so the obvious reaction in a downturn is to slash costs, although more often than not investing in the future during a downturn can reap rewards in the longer term.
The emphasis right now has to be on maintaining and providing a quality service. What companies could do are simple things such as taking the opportunity to improve systems and invest in staff training.
Businesses need to be aware of how to maintain and improve delivery standards in this market, for now and when things pick up. A bit of longer-term thinking now will pay dividends in the future.
Alan Bertram recently joined Cluttons’ project and building consultancy division as a partner. He was previously employed by Northcroft Construction Consultants.