06:00am (or earlier...)
‘First thing’ is a moveable feast in a house with a young toddler. It can be as early as a 4.00am wake-up and, even if we can settle our daughter back to sleep, I’m wide awake and make the most of the early morning to check on work emails and plan the working day ahead.
If it’s a day when I am in the office first, I like to head down the A15 from home in Bourne ahead of the bulk of commuter traffic to Peterborough.
In the winter, if I’ve a site visit for a valuation or viability assessment, I like to do this as soon as possible in the morning. It’s important to see a site or a property in the daylight. If it’s summer, I can tag a site visit on at the end of the working day.
We have six registered valuers, including myself, and we all like to get out and about on site visits. I guess it’s because the real bulk of our work is analytical and while writing reports for, and on behalf of, clients is the meat and drink of our work, the starting point of the thinking process is visiting and inspecting the property or site itself.
A recent site visit saw me at an old Magistrates’ Court on a valuation visit with another visit being with one of our planners at a local authority to discuss the viabililty of providing affordable housing as part of a residential extension to a large village.
Immediately following site visits, when back at the office, I like to make a note of my initial thoughts which then feed in to the more detailed report, further down the line, once supporting evidence has been researched and gathered.
I am thinking about lunch when I really should be thinking about running before lunch! I try to run at lunchtimes so it was great when we moved to the new headquarters at The Lawns on Thorpe Road, just over a year ago, as it has shower facilities.
It’s head down to start a new report and review the latest draft of another one for a lease renewal. There’s a time pressure on the latter as an occupier client’s current lease is ending very soon and he needs an evidenced report about comparable rental levels ahead of lease renewal negotiations.
Whether working for a landlord or a tenant on a lease renewal or a rent review, the crucial thing is evidence set against the current and prevailing market conditions in the locale and on comparable properties.
As somebody who enjoys detail and analysis, I feel ‘at home’ writing solid and comprehensive reports for clients - particularly if the other party is represented by a surveyor with a similar mind set.
Whether the result is winning a tender submission, a successful business rates appeal or a rent reduction or increase, as appropriate, I can’t be alone in getting a great deal of satisfaction when negotiations turn out in favour of a client.
Having worked at Barker Storey Matthews when studying, part-time, for my degree and then the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) qualifications, I am very disciplined when it comes to managing my time efficiently.
I’ve got 15 minutes to check my notes before the 4:30pm board meeting where I will be updating all the directors on the progress of our young graduate surveyors, one of whom has recently attained APC status.
If it’s not my turn to collect our daughter, I can stay back to avoid the worst of the homeward bound surge of traffic so I can catch-up on admin-type tasks such as timesheets and fee-billing, as well as acknowledging and processing the day’s non-urgent emails and voicemails.
On my return, the house is quiet which means our daughter is asleep and quite often my wife is too! A house with a toddler and one parent on shifts makes for an interesting working day for us all.
Martin Hughes, Barker Storey Matthews, firstname.lastname@example.org