Q&A with Dudley Cross
Many will recognise Lambert Smith Hampton from their bright red marketing boards but there is much more to the national property consultant than advertising property for sale or let.
All Things Business caught up with Dudley Cross, Head of LSH’s Northampton and Milton Keynes offices to find out more.
So tell us about LSH?
LSH is multi-disciplinary property consultancy which operates nationally across the UK, we number around 1,500 staff in forty locations.
Our transactional teams are the most widely recognised aspect of our business and we buy, sell and lease all aspects of commercial land and property. What many don’t know however, is the depth of our consultancy business which includes building surveying, valuation, planning and development, specialist project management and quantity surveying, rating and property management amongst other specialist services.
In summary, we are able to advise and assist our clients on all aspects of commercial property.
How do you typically operate?
For some of our clients, property is their business – for these clients such as investment or pension funds or developers, we advise strategically on developing their portfolios and maximising returns from their property. This could be assisting with acquisitions, surveying target acquisitions, maintaining the condition of retained assets or advising when it is time to remove a property from a holding or portfolio.
For certain clients however, property is not their principle concern and is just a necessary wrapper for their business activity. For these clients we seek to remove the burden of their property from them, allowing them to focus on their own business. We assist clients when entering properties to ensure that they are aware of their obligations and liabilities, during the property life-cycle in designing and managing repair, refurbishment or redevelopment schemes and on vacation from a property, helping to ensure compliance with leases and other statutory instruments.
LSH are long established in Northampton, how big is your team now?
LSH have been present in Northampton for more than 30 years. We currently have 40 staff based in our Grange Park office covering transactional, building surveying, project management, quantity surveying, rating and valuation services.
What is the main strength of your team?
The success of any consultancy business is all down to the people involved, we manufacture nothing and our assets are our team who advise our clients. Unlike many of our competitors, all of our professional staff are Chartered Surveyors or are working toward a Chartered qualification, we don’t employ technicians or assistant staff.
Many of our team are recognised experts within the profession and the majority of our instructions come from repeat clients with whom we build relationships over a number of years. Our aim is to be a trusted advisor to all of our clients.
How do you recruit and retain staff in Northampton?
Many of our team join us as graduates having previously completed degree courses.
We’ve an excellent programme of learning and development within the business – there’s no better example than me. I joined LSH from University 23 years ago and now hold a senior role in heading two offices and leading our building surveying division throughout the South.
In addition to technical training, we support our team as they develop to manage staff and engage with clients meaning that roles are consistently developing and challenging.
What does the year ahead look like for LSH?
Brexit is playing a huge role in the property market with many people undecided on property decisions whilst our future with the EU is unknown. We’ve seen a lot of activity in the industrial sector with clients taking short term interests in space for Brexit material stock-piling whilst on the flip side, certain new developments are on hold pending clarity on our longer term relationship.
Good quality second hand stock is short in supply and we are seeing an increasing amount of new build development to cater for demand.
Against this backdrop however, we’re growing the size of our Northampton office and are looking to expand our work locally as well as with the national clients that we serve.
If you’d like to discuss your commercial property requirements contact Dudley 01604 664366 or DCross@lsh.co.uk