Tell us about your area of the business
A surveyor can cover so many different roles, most people outside the industry have no idea of what most of them are - aside from selling houses! As a department, we manage commercial properties and residential apartment blocks. Personally, I specialise in commercial property management. In short, I look after commercial property for the landlords, which can range from a single unit to a multi-let building, estate or portfolio.
What was your route into property management as a career?
I originally graduated in Business Studies at university and came across surveying as a profession after graduation. Although there are now work-based routes, to qualify as a chartered surveyor back then, you required an RICS accredited degree, so I took a Masters in Real Estate Management to satisfy this requirement. After this, I joined Cooke & Arkwright and had experience of a variety of roles from valuation, business rates and some agency work. After qualification however, back in 2010, a permanent post in Property Management came up and the rest, as they say, is history!
What does the role entail?
Our role usually includes carrying out a variety of duties on behalf of the client, such as collecting rent and insurance from tenants and administering a service charge. We also deal with statutory compliance of managed buildings and landlord and tenant matters, such as rent reviews, lease renewals, applications for consent to assign or sub-let, among other duties. We also advise on more strategic matters in respect of consultancy and advisory roles relating to service charges - a varied and interesting part of the role.
Give us an overview of what an average day for you could entail?
If there is one thing I have learnt in this role is that you can rarely plan your day! Quite often you will receive telephone calls from clients or tenants which mean your day needs to be reorganised. For example, you may get a call from a tenant reporting an ad-hoc maintenance repair that needs attention urgently, and everything has to be dropped. With recent weather conditions this has quite often been leaks from excessive rain especially in older buildings that we look after!
So a typical day this week has involved dealing with contractors for required works, carrying out routine site inspections, and actioning recent risk assessments. We also need to balance this with office-based tasks, such as approving supplier invoices, budgeting for new service charge years, and reviewing and approving accounts for periods that have passed.
I have also been liaising with solicitors over a new lease that I negotiated and is being drafted, and liaising with a client over predicted cash flow for their portfolio over the next 12 months. I have also been preparing for a new instruction to inspect a client’s portfolio across the whole of Wales, as well as report on its statutory compliance.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
The variety. You can be meeting contractors one moment, talking about bins or drains(!), to speaking to a Managing Director or Financial Director of a client or tenant the next. I enjoy meeting all different types of people and the ability to communicate at all levels is essential.
What’s been a career high point to date?
Over the years I’ve enjoyed increasing amounts of autonomy and responsibility. I’ve particularly enjoyed the involvement in the management and strategic advice of a mixed-use redevelopment site. More recently, I’ve enjoyed addressing the challenges of managing a multi-let building in Central Square which formed part of a wider redevelopment so was primed for demolition. Managing the building and the termination of tenancies while a new building was being built behind was particularly varied and challenging at times. It involved working closely with the tenants, the owner and also the developer dealing with the demolition to successfully work to agreed timescales – no easy task!
We have a vacancy within Property Management - find out more here