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March 10, 2021

MAJOR TOWN CENTRE REGENERATION PLANS APPROVED BY BOLTON COUNCIL

The completion of a major regeneration project in the centre of Bolton has moved a step closer, as one of the UK’s leading build-to-rent developers is granted planning approval for its £25m Croal Valley development.  North West-based Placefirst, in partnership with award winning architects Levitt Bernstein and landscape architects CW

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Hines appoints Head of Facilities Management – Living, Europe

International real estate firm Hines has appointed Stephen Finch as Head of Facilities Management – Living, Europe within its Property Management Group. A core focus of this role is on its living portfolio spanning its Build to Rent (BTR) and Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA), under the Hines aparto brand.

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Launch of new innovation lab will enable development of intelligent digital solutions for smarter buildings & flexible micro grids

Priva – one of the world’s leading building controls manufacturers – has launched a new innovation lab to accelerate the development and deployment of technology and software solutions that enable better, healthier buildings and smarter approaches to energy use. From its base in De Lier, Holland, Priva Lab for Innovation

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UK’s first next generation 313 GC delivered to BNH

Family run plant hire and waste disposal company Buckland Newton Hire (BNH) is now the proud owner of the UK’s first next generation Cat® 313 GC, courtesy of Finning UK & Ireland, the region’s exclusive Cat dealer. BNH purchased the machine specifically to meet the long-term hire needs of a

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Smartroof Boosts Offsite Production Capability

Smartroof, UK manufacturer of offsite, panelised ‘room in roof’ systems, has completed a £1.2 million investment in its Derbyshire production facility to drive efficiencies, improve quality and meet the growing demand for its modular roof system. The company is an award-winning manufacturer of ‘room in roof’ systems, providing a cost

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Plans Revealed for Leeds’ First £1million+ Penthouse Apartments

Leeds-based developer, Priestley Homes, has acquired 2 Great George Street in the heart of Leeds and submitted plans to create the city centre’s first £1 million+ penthouse apartments. Subject to planning approval, Priestley Homes – a multi-award-winning developer which specialises in the regeneration of historic buildings to the highest standards

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Rippon Homes Builds up Female Employees

Rippon Homes Builds up Female Employees

Mansfield based housebuilder, Rippon Homes, is supporting Junior Quantity Surveyor, Sarah Morris, build a fulfilling career in what is often perceived as a male dominated industry. 26-year-old Sarah, who lives in Edwinstowe with her partner Arron, joined the company almost two years ago and in that time has completed a Higher

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024

March 10, 2021

MAJOR TOWN CENTRE REGENERATION PLANS APPROVED BY BOLTON COUNCIL

The completion of a major regeneration project in the centre of Bolton has moved a step closer, as one of the UK’s leading build-to-rent developers is granted planning approval for its £25m Croal Valley development.  North West-based Placefirst, in partnership with award winning architects Levitt Bernstein and landscape architects CW Studio, will deliver 158 stylish homes, offering a range of quality apartments and houses. The development is designed around a network of pedestrian priority streets, a spacious square, courtyards, rooftop terraces and residents’ gardens. The scheme will also utilise a range of ground floor units to expand on the amount of commercial space available to local businesses. The development will occupy 1.1 hectares at a brownfield site that is currently occupied by vacant buildings and a car park. It is located to the North of Deansgate, opposite the former Beales/Whittakers department store and extending to the River Croal.  Placefirst has worked collaboratively with Bolton Council and other stakeholders for the past two years, including holding detailed discussions and putting its proposals to a number of independent design review panels. The new development demonstrates Bolton Council’s £1b masterplan to transform the town centre by complementing the historic fabric of Bolton centre through a mix of interesting, high quality buildings and well-thought-out public spaces. This includes a new courtyard square and improvements to the River Croal such as a river walk, channel widening and extensive landscape treatments.  Construction of the project is set to commence in April of this year with final completion of the development expected in 2023 which will see the properties let, maintained and managed by Placefirst as ongoing landlords for the scheme. David Mawson, chief executive for Placefirst commented: “Having worked closely with Bolton Council for the past couple of years to make sure this project offers the right design for the town centre, we are excited to see this scheme move on to the next stage. Our aim has always been to leave positive lasting effects on any development we are involved in and we are confident that the Croal Valley development will prove fantastic for this area of Bolton. “We are proud to be involved in addressing the lack of high-quality housing within the town centre and create a thriving community. We can’t wait to see the transformation this development has, all while offering local people a great option to rent affordable modern properties as an alternative to the financial headache of buying a house.” Deputy Leader of Bolton Council and portfolio holder for regeneration, Councillor Martyn Cox said: “Croal Valley is a vital site in Bolton Councils town centre masterplan. The planning approval for Placefirst’s plans will bring much needed modern housing and attractive public spaces on a brownfield site. The new development is set in the heart of Bolton and will attract more people, create new jobs and position our town centre as a desirable place to live and work.” For further information on the Croal Valley development in Bolton, please visit https://placefirst.co.uk/.

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Prologis completes largest sale of logistics real estate assets on record in the UK

In Q4 2020, Prologis completed the sale of its ‘Platform Portfolio’ to Blackstone for £473 million. This transaction was the largest sale of logistics real estate assets on record in the UK. The majority of assets within the ‘Platform Portfolio’ were acquired from Liberty Property Trust during Prologis’ acquisition of the company in February 2020. The ‘Platform Portfolio’ comprised approximately 4.3 million square feet of buildings as well as approximately 31 acres of consented development land in the UK: 22 stand-alone buildings totaling 4.3 million square feet located principally in The Midlands, England, as well as South West and North West England; Approximately 31 acres of consented development land in Staffordshire and Widnes, England. ”This transaction effectively completed our efforts to realign our UK portfolio with our long-term investment strategy and focus on urban, Last Touch® properties located near consumers,” said Paul Weston, senior vice president, regional head, UK, Prologis. “The outcome achieved demonstrates the strength of the logistics sector as an investment asset class.” “The outcome achieved demonstrates the strength of the logistics sector as an investment asset class.”

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TWO YOUNG FEMALE ENGINEERS SAY APPRENTICESHIPS ARE A KEY ROUTE TO STEM DIVERSITY

IT’S NO SECRET that the UK construction sector is suffering from a serious skills shortage, with a reported 182,000 new engineers alone needed each year to bridge the gap. Apprenticeships have been proven as a great way to combat this crisis and are becoming a serious option for all school leavers as Covid-19 makes higher education a decreasingly attractive option. With most apprenticeships rooted in STEM fields, another key action point when closing the skills gap is encouraging more diversity. The latest figures from the Women’s Engineering Society1 (WES) show that women make up just under 13% of the engineering workforce and just less than 18% of higher apprentices in the engineering and manufacturing sector. This is something Zoe Fittock and Angelina Stankovic, both trainee apprentices at national M&E consultancy Couch Perry Wilkes (CPW), are hoping to change. Zoe said: “Apprenticeships have always been an attractive option for many, including myself, and are increasingly seen as a strong rival to higher education, providing the valuable skills and real-world experience needed for success in the construction sector. “With it being Women in Construction Week, it’s an important time to be talking about the need for more women in the construction sector. Apprenticeships are a great way for women to circumvent the glass ceiling and get their foot in the door. “By making it easier for women to step into the industry from the start of their career, we can challenge stigmas around female engineers and normalise equal representation from the start.” For new trainees entering the industry, the need for frequent technical engagement is a key part of development. CPW’s two-fold approach ensures that this can continue despite the challenges of lockdown restrictions. Firstly, a straightforward mentor hierarchy for trainees keeps lines of remote technical input clear and concise, and secondly, CPW currently retains some weekly office presence options for trainees to sit alongside mentors. Apprentices are given priority over socially distanced desks and office numbers are appropriately limited, while still allowing some of the regular face-to-face interaction that is vital to progression. Angelina added: “The construction industry is as hands-on as it gets and having the opportunity to gain practical experience with software, design implementation, and working as a team on a common project goal is invaluable. “We’ve already had great insights into the sector, enhancing our knowledge of M&E engineering and construction industry trends beyond what could be learnt in a university classroom. “Entering a traditionally male-dominated industry can be daunting to say the least. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy as the ‘boys club’ mentality deters women from applying for roles at all. By beginning at an apprentice level, it paves the way to gender equality in engineering. Learning alongside male counterparts and benefitting from the expert knowledge of your more experienced team members, really helps challenge the stigma.” Authentic on the job learning and an opportunity to earn whilst you learn makes construction apprenticeships an attractive place to start your career. CPW has a strong track record of supporting trainees and apprentices in further and higher education across all ten offices. More than 40% of its team has come through the apprenticeship training programme and trainees are given the opportunity to complete industry-recognised qualifications and work on live projects while being managed in a supportive environment.   Taking on new trainees each year, CPW will be launching its 2021 apprenticeship scheme later this year. For further information visit www.cpwp.com or follow @CpwEastMids on Twitter.

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Hines appoints Head of Facilities Management – Living, Europe

International real estate firm Hines has appointed Stephen Finch as Head of Facilities Management – Living, Europe within its Property Management Group. A core focus of this role is on its living portfolio spanning its Build to Rent (BTR) and Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA), under the Hines aparto brand. Finch joins Hines from the NHS, where most recently he was Head of Estates for a Trust working as part of its Covid-19 response team, working in line with UK government protocols. Prior to this, Finch worked for the British army, specialising in operations, project management, tactical delivery, training and logistics. At Hines, Finch will join the firm’s expanding Living platform across Europe which includes 13.5 million sq ft of assets and EUR3.8 billion in AUM. He will be responsible for facilities, operations and mobilisation across its portfolio, reporting into Tom Rix, Managing Director, Living – Europe. The Living sector is a key strategic growth area for Hines across Europe, with the firm targeting to acquire or develop BTR assets this year, while continuing ongoing growth of its student housing platform. Most recently, Hines has acquired a 30,000-square-meter portfolio of eight prime sites in France, to develop a series of BTR residential schemes, on behalf of its Hines Pan-European Core Fund (HECF). In total, the sites will provide 500 units of high-quality living space across eight locations in France. Other notable key projects under the Hines Living banner include, Cherrywood in Dublin, Südkreuz in Berlin and two projects in Milan, Giovenale and Ripamonti. As part of Stephen’s appointment, Andy Fletcher will transition to the role of Technical Operations Director at Hines, taking responsibility for the firm’s entire UK portfolio technical needs. His focus will be on supporting the Asset and Project Management teams across its UK sites, to drive tenant satisfaction, and investment returns, through operating its assets more efficiently working closely with on-site engineering teams. Tom Rix, Managing Director, Living – Europe, at Hines, says: “It’s a coup to have someone of Stephen’s experience join our team. We have clear growth plans across our Living assets in Europe, and Stephen will be a vital component of our operational and facilities management setup as we expand. We welcome Stephen to the Hines family and Living team.” Finch, Head of Facilities Management – Living, in Europe, at Hines, adds “It’s great to join Tom and the wider Living team at Hines. The firm has an exceptional reputation in the burgeoning BTR and PBSA sectors, working on some incredible projects across Europe. I look forward to progressing our strategic plans, building on our reputation with the delivery of first-class operational and facilities management services to deliver for our customers.”

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Launch of new innovation lab will enable development of intelligent digital solutions for smarter buildings & flexible micro grids

Priva – one of the world’s leading building controls manufacturers – has launched a new innovation lab to accelerate the development and deployment of technology and software solutions that enable better, healthier buildings and smarter approaches to energy use. From its base in De Lier, Holland, Priva Lab for Innovation (Lin) has been developed in response to the major energy challenges faced within the built environment supply chain. Together, building and construction are responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world[1], with operational emissions (from energy used to heat, cool and light buildings) accounting for 28%.  The Lab’s growing suite of smart building technologies will also help organisations to participate in the ‘energy transition’. This will make it easier for carbon-conscious businesses and the public sector to take advantage of smarter, more flexible approaches to energy consumption. It will also enable more efficient balancing of demand from green, renewable sources.  Technology suite The Lin Lab capitalises on sophisticated digital twin technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to bring new, data driven solutions to the smart buildings / smart energy market. The launch portfolio is focused on two technologies: ecoBuilding – an already proven technology which is an intelligent layer of cloud-based software that sits on top of an existing building management system. Already deployed in sites across Europe, ecoBuilding uses digital twin and AI technology to learns how to balance indoor climate control against external factors such as fluctuations in energy tariffs and make continuous operational improvements to a buildings.  ecoGrid – a cloud-based smart microgrid solution which enables fully-automated balancing of energy consumption, demand and storage by optimising the flows between the connected energy elements. It makes buildings with renewable energy sources even more self-sufficient and ready to connect to energy grids at a local level.   Commenting on the launch of Priva’s Lab for Innovation Peter Vandendriessche, VP Strategy & Commerce, said: “We are extremely excited to share Priva’s Lab for Innovation with the world. We are a business that never stands still; we always look to the future. The Lin Lab will act as an important accelerator for cutting-edge technologies that will re-shape the way our customers and partners use – and resource – energy. In doing so, it will be possible to embrace the smart energy revolution and accelerate the journey to Net Zero emissions. We very much look forward to inviting you all to the Lab as soon as we are able.” Online profile To support the launch of Priva’s Lab for Innovation a comprehensive website has been developed which includes case studies and references of ecoGrid and ecoBuilding as well as regularly updated content on topics around energy in the built environment. To explore the Priva Lab for Innovation, click here: www.privalabforinnovation.com

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UK’s first next generation 313 GC delivered to BNH

Family run plant hire and waste disposal company Buckland Newton Hire (BNH) is now the proud owner of the UK’s first next generation Cat® 313 GC, courtesy of Finning UK & Ireland, the region’s exclusive Cat dealer. BNH purchased the machine specifically to meet the long-term hire needs of a recycling customer, as the new machine enables high productivity at lower running costs. The next generation 313 GC offers increased power and is designed to boost operator efficiency. It also lowers maintenance costs making it popular for rental and all-round excavating applications that require reliability. It includes two modes, Smart and Power, as well as a new, larger cab with improved ingress/egress to boost operator comfort. BNH’s fleet consists almost exclusively of Cat equipment and the 313 GC is not the only new addition. The company has also ordered its first wheel loader, a 950 GC, to arrive later this year. The 950 GC is a versatile, reliable machine with a high power density Cat 7.1 engine, the automatic Cat regeneration system and unmatched reliability and uptime. Both GC machines have been purchased with service contracts, so Finning can guarantee a low cost of ownership. Alongside its purchase of the 313 GC and 950 GC, BNH ordered a fleet of twelve machines from Finning, to support the launch of a new facility in December 2020. This included the company’s first dozer, a D6. “We are always looking for ways to improve and upgrade our fleet,” explained Brad Perrett, Manager at BNH. “The 313 GC is a natural evolution — it means we can maintain our competitive pricing, while offering all the creature comforts of Cat. I was impressed with the simplicity of the design, it is an easy-to-use, powerful, nice looking machine. “Our customers are looking for reliable, durable products,” added Perrett. “We have worked with Finning for over 30 years and see Cat as central to our brand — it’s the thing that makes us stand out locally. Our customers are raving about the next generation Cat equipment — people love them!” “The GC series is a way for companies to become Cat owners at really competitive price points,” explained Jack Cezair, Territory Account Manager at Finning. “They bring many benefits to plant hire companies, as they deliver clear return on investment and means they can become a Cat owner for less than they think. Operators enjoy the comfortable cab design, increase their productivity, while saving on fuel and maintenance costs. We are encouraging others in the industry to challenge their realities and follow suit.” The GC series includes the 313 GC Small Excavator, 315 GC, 320 GC Medium Excavator and the 950 GC Medium Wheel Loader. All four are designed to offer the reliability and durability of Cat products, while offering affordability and lower running costs. For more information on the GC series of equipment, visit https://equipmentuk.finning.com/gcseries/.

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Fire safety focus “must go further than cladding”, says Wrexham Mineral Cables

A leading UK manufacturer of fire-resistant mineral insulated cables has called for unidentified fire safety hazards to be put under the spotlight, or else, it says, more lives could be put at risk. Last month, the UK government set out a five-point plan to address unsafe cladding issues including an additional £3.5 billion in funding for the removal and replacement of cladding on buildings over 18 metres in height. This was welcomed by the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP); however, the ASFP did not believe it went far enough and should be made available to cover all identified defects. Wrexham Mineral Cables is adding weight to the ASFP’s arguments. The company believes it is the identified issues – such as the installation of inferior fire-resistant cables – which need to be put under the spotlight and addressed in order to make tall buildings safe. For many years, Wrexham Mineral Cables has been calling for more stringent testing standards as it believes too many cables – which have been installed in buildings across the country – are classified as fire resistant and yet are not fit for purpose in real-life fire scenarios. Steve Williams, Commercial Manager at Wrexham Mineral Cables, commented: “Whilst we welcome calls to look at all identified fire safety hazards, we believe the call for change needs to go much further. Sadly, there are simply too many cables classed as fire resistant but that would not be adequate in the event of a fire, as the tests do not represent real-world conditions. All over the UK, this is putting lives at risk. Higher classification needed “We strongly believe there should be a higher classification of cables introduced to identify those which can survive, rather than simply resist fire. There should be no compromise, and as an industry we can no longer aim for minimum compliance to get the job done. Whilst legislation such as the Building Safety Bill will make everybody in the supply chain more accountable throughout the various stages of the building’s existence, we can only truly make buildings safe by identifying all possible hazards, and ensuring that the tests which construction products are subjected to are relevant and can be relied upon.” Wrexham Mineral Cables contributed to the call for evidence by the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt, and has lobbied the UK Government for their support in calling for more stringent tests.

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Smartroof Boosts Offsite Production Capability

Smartroof, UK manufacturer of offsite, panelised ‘room in roof’ systems, has completed a £1.2 million investment in its Derbyshire production facility to drive efficiencies, improve quality and meet the growing demand for its modular roof system. The company is an award-winning manufacturer of ‘room in roof’ systems, providing a cost effective, safer and more efficient method of constructing roof structures. The investment at the company’s Swadlincote facility will see manufacturing capabilities increase by an impressive 150%. It means they will have the ability to produce up to 25 plots per day. As part of the investment at the 48,000ft2 production facility, attention has been paid to layout and flow of materials. Five state-of-the-art fabrication bays have been installed along with 18 new overhead cranes. To further increase the efficiency of production processes, new automated CNC saws enable safe, accurate and fast cross-cutting, while new roof and spandrel benches have been constructed to incorporate retractable airline hoses for improved safety. Whilst improving staff safety and reducing waste, the investment has dramatically increased the company’s production capability. Speaking about the company’s investment in its UK manufacturing operation, Kevin Sherlock, Managing Director at Smartroof said: “Following the continuing growth of our business it became clear we needed to further invest in our production facility to match the expectation and growth in demand from our customers. With housebuilders turning to ‘room in roof’ systems, this investment has allowed us to improve our output and support the delivery of UK housing programmes with an innovative system that meets the requirements for quality, safety and performance.” The Smartroof system is a complete roof solution, designed to offer housebuilders and developers a solution to maximising sellable space by creating rooms in roofs. Comprising a series of factory produced panels incorporating insulated roof panels, spandrel wall panels, dormers, roof windows, GRP chimneys, soffit and fascia, it is delivered to site and craned into place. Once in place, the roofs simply require roof tiling. The system has many benefits – less waste, better control of quality, safer to install – and meets the industry’s demand for solutions that allow us to build better quality homes, more efficiently. The investment programme has reinforced Smartroof’s position as one of the UK’s leading offsite manufacturers of ‘room in roof’ solutions, enabling the company to meet the housing sectors growing demand whilst improving working conditions of its growing workforce.

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Plans Revealed for Leeds’ First £1million+ Penthouse Apartments

Leeds-based developer, Priestley Homes, has acquired 2 Great George Street in the heart of Leeds and submitted plans to create the city centre’s first £1 million+ penthouse apartments. Subject to planning approval, Priestley Homes – a multi-award-winning developer which specialises in the regeneration of historic buildings to the highest standards of living – aims to transform the Grade II listed former Victorian school into 76 luxury apartments. The £31 million regeneration and new-build scheme will be a premier development in Leeds and the first to bring £1million-plus penthouses to the market. Each 3,000 sq. ft. penthouse will be finished to the highest standard, offering excellent city views, floor to ceiling glazing throughout, luxury fittings, a private roof garden with hot tub, plus an indoor and outdoor kitchen bar area. The building will feature luxury one-to-three-bedroom apartments throughout, with the two-bedroom apartments on lower floors offering up to 1,500 sq. ft. of living space. All residences will be completed to the highest specification, with large, original windows, designer fixtures and fittings, underfloor heating, and the latest smart home technologies. Nearly half of the apartments will also have a private outdoor area, with the addition of a communal roof-top garden, creating a social hub for all residents. The decision to include private outdoor space for some apartments accommodates the expected long-term shift to working from home, with access to outdoors proven to boost mental health. Alongside the communal roof-top garden, the development will also feature a private, on-site residents’ gym and concierge facilities. In creating these new homes, Priestley will ensure that the history of the building is retained. The developer has a strong track record of heritage building restoration, with its award-winning Hanover House scheme in Leeds as well as Conditioning House in Bradford. These projects set the benchmark for sympathetic restoration, with the former selling out within eight weeks of launch. Located in the city’s Northern Civic Quarter, just off Millennium Square, 2 Great George Street sits within a major regeneration zone and cultural hub known for its grand Victorian architecture. The building dates to the 1900s when it was home to Thoresby High School, an all-girls’ school. In 1972, it merged with Leeds Central High School to form the new City of Leeds School, which later moved location in 1994 to Hyde Park. Following the move, the site was adapted to offices for Leeds City Council, with staff continuing to work there until 2018. A new future for the building was consented to in 2018; however, the original plans to convert the former school into a 173-bed premium lifestyle hotel were not finalised. Since then, the council offices have sat empty. Priestley Homes’ plans will regenerate the derelict property, creating a thriving residential community at the core of one of the busiest districts in Leeds. Priestley Homes partnered with UK-wide specialist lender, Together, which provided a multi-million-pound facility to help purchase the site. “We have previously partnered with Priestley Homes on several of its award-winning schemes, including recent flagship development, Conditioning House in Bradford. The developer is renowned for delivering exceptionally high-quality and innovative projects, and we are proud to be able to provide the finance to create these luxury apartments in a prime area of Leeds city centre,” commented Ritchie Watson, lending director from Together. The planning application was lodged with Leeds City Council in February 2021, with a decision expected in late Spring. Priestley Homes’ main contractor, Priestley Construction, intends to begin work as soon as approval is granted, aiming for a Q4 2022 completion.

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Rippon Homes Builds up Female Employees

Rippon Homes Builds up Female Employees

Mansfield based housebuilder, Rippon Homes, is supporting Junior Quantity Surveyor, Sarah Morris, build a fulfilling career in what is often perceived as a male dominated industry. 26-year-old Sarah, who lives in Edwinstowe with her partner Arron, joined the company almost two years ago and in that time has completed a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Construction and the Built Environment and started a bachelor’s degree in Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management at Nottingham Trent University. She entered the housing industry after taking an admin job at Wynbrook to escape the unsociable hours of the hospitality industry and it was there she found an interest in surveying. “I met an amazing woman at Wynbrook who became a kind of mentor to me, she supported my ambitions so I was able to step into her role as a material buyer once she moved on which is where I discovered surveying. Her confidence was inspiring and she taught me the importance of speaking up for myself, which is especially important in rooms where women aren’t as present. She made me a strong believer in girl-power, which is something I’ve seen through my education too. As there have only been a few girls on my courses, we band together and are stronger for it.” The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is “Choose to Challenge”, and Sarah is clear that it’s not just down to the women to rise to it. “Men play just as much part in supporting women in the industry, and the team at Rippon has been incredible at that. My senior surveyor, Andrew Linley, has been fantastic at offering assistance and advice at every opportunity, and of course I’m so grateful for the company’s support in beginning my bachelor’s degree.  “I’ve been so lucky in the mentorship I’ve received so far in my career, helping me build the pillars to achieve my ambition of becoming a commercial manager one day. I’ve loved the chance to share the wisdom I’ve learned by mentoring younger members of the team, helping them with college assignments so they too can build the career they dream of. “To any women considering a career in the housebuilding industry, I’d say don’t be afraid of it. It can be seen from the outside as an intimidating man’s world, but there are fantastic people everywhere so reach out to them and don’t let anyone push you out.”

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