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Ben Whitehouse Bookmark and Share

Twitterised: Me in less than 140 characters.

Frankly an impossible task in 140 characters!! Curious, analytical and inventive. A people person, commercially minded and entrepreneurial.

Why I decide to do what I do

My earliest memories involve taking things apart and (trying) to put them back together again, all with various degrees of success. That curiosity to understand how something works has remained a strong personality trait so far so I guess it was highly probable that I would end up with a career in some kind of Engineering discipline, or alternatively perhaps something like a ‘safe cracker’.

I also find people fascinating and thoroughly enjoy the challenge of delivering something seemingly impossible as a team. I think there is something very satisfying leading a group of people working together to find a way around an apparently impossible situation to achieve success. Again, transferable skills that could be well utlised by a successful gang of bank robbers.

Having considered my options, and with the help of some very sensible guidance from a good friend, I chose Building Surveying and partly because I am not keen on extended periods of time in small enclosed spaces.

My potted history

With a seemingly mapped out and predestined career within the Leisure & Hospitality sector ahead of me I decided that I was more interested in how a buildings structure and space could be evaluated, reconfigured/designed, altered and built to change how it functioned. Managing a busy kitchen didn’t seem as interesting as transferring a vision or idea on paper into a semi-permanent and optimally functional space rather than a meal on a plate that would disappear, hopefully permanently, in a matter of minutes. An early career change was obviously on the cards.

Architecture seemed too specific, Quantity Surveying didn’t excite me, but Building Surveying appeared to offer a breadth of activity which encapsulated the things I had enjoyed being involved in. I graduated 3 years later just in time to be looking for my first professional role at the back end of the last recession. As I say I do like a challenge.

Elected to full membership of the RICS three years later I found myself working in the property department for an incredibly ambitious and relatively small leisure retailer with an eye on being a FTSE 100 company within a couple of years. It made crazy statements predicting a growth from 1500 sites to 5000 during a similar timeframe. I don’t know if any of us believed it could do it but it taught me an important life lesson, if you aim high there is a possibility you may actually achieve it. What was unbelievable was that the company passed its ambitious targets and then began to exceed all predictions, consistently. I grew personally and professionally reaching a sub Board Level role which I successfully held for nearly 10 years.

In this environment I was encouraged to think creatively and push beyond my comfort zone in the interests of the business. It was a wonderful place to find and exceed your own limits and it taught me a lot. I similarly learned a lot about leadership and the importance of investment in a team’s development. I feel very proud of my contribution to the phenomenal success that that business managed to achieve.

After such an exceptional experience I was eager to find the right employer with a culture of ambition, innovation and people focus. I feel very at home at BWB where all of these things are of great importance.

The best project I have ever worked on at BWB

That was providing Technical Due Diligence on a confidential instruction referred to as ‘Project Alexander’. This was a fast-paced project providing property advice on a €13bn, pan European property portfolio acquisition spread across 17 countries. This project required that I draw upon every aspect of my technical, commercial and leadership skills and experience. We also needed to devise a creative solution to evaluate, record and present large amounts of data on the whole portfolio. All against an almost unachievable timescale.

Trying to evaluate what each and every stakeholder needed on a very fluid brief tested our team to the max. Only after the dust had settled on another successful delivery were we able to look back and comprehend the huge amount of data and information we processed to provide such high quality professional advice to our client.

What I like to do in my spare time

Because I like to take things apart and put them back together again I acquire, restore and collect vintage and classic vehicles. Sometimes they even work afterwards 😊

I also still venture into the kitchen occasionally in between spending time with my children.

What I hope to be doing 5 years from now

I hope to have a strong and diverse team of property professionals delivering high quality work for our clients whilst at the same time ensuring that we are developing the next generation of surveyors and consultants to future proof the profession and BWB. I would hope to retain my curiosity and be using it to help develop technologically innovative solutions to make sure the professional service we offer is industry leading and relevant.

Ben Whitehouse

Bsc (Hons) Building Surveying Full Member of the RICS

Principal Building Surveyor


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