An interview with David Blakey, Board Director at Summers-Inman

David Blakey BSc (HONS) FRICS MAPM

How long have you worked for Summers-Inman?

Coming up 22 years this year!

How did you get into your current role?

Having left college, I started as a trainee QS for a Harrogate based firm called Wilfred Sykes & Needham.  After 5 years I moved to Richard Cavadino & Associates in Leeds ending up an Associate.  In late ’99 I decided to move and knew of Summers & Partners as it was then. Joining in 2000 as a senior QS I became an Associate in 2003 and a main board Director in 2008. The rest is history as they say!

You are the Board Director responsible for The Northern Region (Leeds, Newcastle and Manchester) , can you tell us a bit more about your role?

I am a Fellow of the RICS and a Chartered Quantity Surveyor by trade so I do still undertake technical delivery of projects and programmes in the region for clients but also look after business renewal in the Northern region, so Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester and our newest office in Teesside.  Supporting and nurturing staff to achieve their ambitions and help them gain their full potential is an important aspect of the role as we seek to achieve a sustainable future for the practice.

What type of projects do you work on?

We work in all sectors of the industry.  Perhaps one of my strengths lies in the residential and extra care sectors and I have been fortunate to work with some great clients creating communities where people are proud to live.

What would you say is the most important aspect of your role?  

Ensuring we have a sustainable business, happy staff and delighted clients who want to work with us again and again. Building and maintaining relationships with clients and teams to ensure the highest standards of quality on our projects. We have an excellent reputation and I like to keep it that way!

From your own experience, what would you say are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the industry today?

Where do you start! Given what has happened in the last 24 months no one could have forecast that rollercoaster.  Sustainability and the environment have to be the key drivers in what we do. Presently we are faced with materials and supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic and (less so) Brexit, but skills shortages are a real worry, both professional and trades. Whilst a big challenge I also feel sustainability and the environment can be our greatest opportunity.  The UK construction industry is extremely adaptable and innovative and can rise to the challenges ahead. In terms of opportunities, of course it has to be achieving net carbon zero; not just being able to quantify and capture but reduce or eliminate carbon. 

What advice would you give anyone wanting to get into the industry?

Talk to people already in the industry.  Drop an email to local companies and ask to go in for an informal chat on what potential there is out there.  The industry is wide and varied so take time to explore aspects that may be of interest to you. Maybe it’s an age thing but write/email prospective employer’s rather than going through recruitment consultants you may meet at a careers fair.  They are only interested in making a quick buck whereas employers are interested in you! If you find a company that is a good fit and vice versa, you can carve your own career path and achieve your goals!

What’s it like working for Summers-Inman?

A decent bunch to be fair.  It’s a great team environment and our people really are our greatest asset. We care for our staff and their well-being, so it’s important that they have a good work/life balance and are happy. The variety of clients and projects is excellent and because of that no two days are the same.

And finally, what would career plan B have been?

I’d have to say a Formula 1 driver……and no I don’t have any points on my licence!

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