Founder and managing director of mechanical and electrical engineering (M&E) consultancy Building Services Design (BSD), David White, talks through 2017, as well as his hopes for the coming year.
The past 12 months have been huge for BSD as we celebrated 25 years in business and continued to thrive in an environment where the next challenge is always just around the corner. As always, we met it head on, overcame it and moved on with added strength and determination.
It’s safe to say the industry has changed over the decades, and quite considerably since we opened our first office in Crowland, Lincolnshire, back in 1991. We have since grown nationally, boasting eight offices across the UK – London, Kettering, Birmingham, Manchester, Cambridge, Leicester, Nottingham and Derby – and turning over more than £6 million.
This year has been extreme and the roller coaster ride reflects very much the nature of our industry. We have had set backs just like any business, but on the flipside, we have promoted three directors from within, which has strengthened our management team and increased unity within the company – a company culture upon which we were established and have flourished.
We started the year by moving into our new Passivhaus head office, based in Kettering, after relocating from our previous headquarters in Corby, where we’d been located for almost 20 years. The carbon neutral building showcases what we do and provides a great working environment for our brilliant team, led by Shaun Gregory. It has exceeded expectations for everyone. We really went above and beyond to achieve the energy efficient building standards because of the benefits both for the environment and staff wellbeing. It’s also estimated we’ll save 60 per cent on our annual running costs.
From a personal point of view, our new office is a piece of work that’s been really amazing for me to work on and now work within. It’s the first office space we’ve bought, built and designed ourselves, highlighting a real landmark for us as a business.
Promotions have been aplenty, with Mark Dyer, a BSD stalwart of 16 years and Joel Sawyer both becoming directors of the Cambridge and Birmingham offices respectively. Mark and his Cambridge team have made great strides to get us back to our 2012 levels of work – surpassing this year’s targets and gathering real momentum in Cambridge and East Anglia.
Joel has been supported in the Birmingham office by Jo Jones, who has also been promoted to associate director – the first woman in the business to take on the senior role. There are very few women in the industry and, at BSD, we are doing all we can to eliminate the stigma attached to construction and engineering being a ‘man’s job’. The Birmingham team are in the midst of relocating to a new, larger suite in Fort Dunlop ready for an extremely busy 2018 so I’m pleased to entrust the team in the safe hands of Joel and Jo.
Sean Langton and Charlotte Glover have established BSD in Manchester and we are currently adding to a great team to cope with the new projects the office has secured. Craig Jackson and Eoin Hickey continue to head our London office and continue with their established team to deliver amazing results on a wide range of projects in the capital.
As we move into 2018, we are excited by the extent of the high profile projects which are going through design and will enter construction during the New Year. As our reputation grows, we are attracting larger and more complex projects, allowing us to recruit, promote and develop new engineers for the future.
Our core business is M&E; I set out to bring something different to the industry, something that wasn’t available in the 1990s – delivering quality, practical, sustainable and commercially-minded designs completed on time and to budget. This hasn’t changed and is something we keep in mind across every job – no matter the size or value. We rely heavily on the relationships we’ve formed over the years and I truly appreciate all of the friends we’ve made in the last 25 years – we’re looking forward to another fruitful year and an active construction industry which is prepared to weather whatever comes its way.