Why did you choose construction as a career?
I had wanted to be an architect since I was 14 and I went on to qualify as one. But I was always interested in the wider question of how you get developments off the ground – what it takes to get these things done.
What are you most proud of in your career to date?
Native Land’s NEO Bankside scheme, which completed in September 2012. It was such a step change for the area – the South Bank and Southwark. It was a complicated proposition, but we had a great team working on it, including the late Richard Rogers.
It also laid the groundwork for the wider transformation of the Bankside area, which has culminated in Bankside Yards, our £2.5bn, 1.4m sq ft scheme currently being developed. We are creating eight new buildings and restoring 14 railway arches in what will be the UK’s first major mixed-use scheme to operate without any fossil fuels. It is a huge moment for us as a business and we were very proud when the first office building, Arbor, completed in 2022.
What has been the biggest challenge of your career to date?
It is going to sound like a cliché coming from a developer, but it is the planning process.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
It would be great if we could maintain the consistency of our teams from project to project, with all the relationship benefits and learning that accrues. We do this a fair amount of the time at Native Land, but sometimes it is just not possible for good reasons. As with everything in the industry, it is a balance.
What is the most helpful advice that you have been given?
When you are sending anything important, it is usually best to leave it overnight and recheck it in the morning. Don’t rush. Someone told me that a long time ago. I flouted it at points but learnt why it is a very good idea.
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