Guernsey Property & Construction - Spring/Summer 23 - Issue 13

Page 1

GUERNSEY PROPERTY AND CONSTRUCTION

Irwin Place

A rebuild that makes the most of its scenic location

Aztech

Football gets high tech with the new training and playing facilities

News and comment

From constructing buildings to selling them, all the latest industry insight

Spring/Summer 2023 Issue 13
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EDITOR

SALES

Matt

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DESIGN & PRODUCTION

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Guernsey Property and Construction is published by Rock and Small Limited. Copyright 2023 All rights reserved. Any reproduction without permission is prohibited. Guernsey Property and Construction contains editorial content from external contributors which does not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers and the factual accuracy of which cannot be guaranteed by the publishers. Guernsey Property and Construction does not accept or respond to unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. The publishers do not accept responsibility for errors in advertisements or third party offers.

EDITOR’S LETTER

Welcome to the first edition of the Guernsey Property and Construction magazine for 2023.

It’s no secret that it’s been a busy time for the industry post-Covid. That hard work is clearly paying off as we had no shortage of interesting developments with which to fill our pages. From private houses to community sports facilities, the range of construction projects shows the breadth of the industry in the island.

While major projects such as Admiral Park are continuing apace, the States’ current approach to capital spending is worrying those in the sector. Industry bodies are clear they need certainty and forward planning to meet the demands of the major capital projects the island requires.

In positive news, many young people in the island are now benefiting from the facilities that Aztech offers at its indoor football centre at Hougue du Pommier. We visited the former indoor cricket centre to find out how the high-tech set up works, and how they hope it will improve the game in the island. With their ambitions to also become a real community space, have a look at what they’re offering on page 24.

Less accessible to the public but no less impressive is our cover star, Irwin House. You’ll find that feature on page 4. This open market house on Fort George is unrecognisable from its former presence, but clever use of the previous structure meant a more environmentally friendly build. We found out about the challenges of the site and how that end result was achieved.

There’s been plenty of change in the industry recently with the sale of RG Falla, the collapse of the Garenne Group and new appointments at Board level at Rihoy & Son. On page 20, we speak to Gavin Rihoy, as he takes on his new role of chairman, about the challenges facing the industry and his ambitions for the business.

Elsewhere we have our usual wealth of insight from experts throughout the industry, sharing their thoughts on topics ranging from the Island Development Plan review to whether Guernsey should allow unused office accommodation to become housing.

If you’d like to share your thoughts on that, or any of our content, please do get in touch. Drop me a line, give me a call, or follow the magazine’s new LinkedIn page to connect.

Guernsey Property and Construction 1 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023 INTRODUCTION

Combining technical expertise with a commercial approach, our highly-experienced property team acts on a broad range of commercial real estate and development projects in Guernsey.

Our work includes acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant agreements, financing and secured transactions, joint venture agreements as well as contentious and non-contentious matters, including planning appeals and other disputes.

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ISSUE 13

04 Irwin Place

The rebuild of this Fort George property has created a modern house that takes full advantage of its prime position

13 Industry news

From planning applications to new appointments, we round up all the industry news in the island

20 Gavin Rihoy

As the former managing director of Rihoy & Son moves to his new position of chair, we find out about his ambitions for the firm

24 Aztech

A total revamp of the Hougue du Pommier site has seen local footballers given a high-tech facility for training and games

30 Kingston Drive

Tucked away in a quiet corner of town, this new development of executive homes is offering family living in the heart of St Peter Port

36 Industry profile

Meet building services engineer, Andrew Freeman, to find out what his job involves and why he enjoys it

42 Guernsey Construction Forum

As the Development and Planning Authority look to review the Island Development Plan, GCF chair John Bampkin says his group has much to contribute

43 GBTEA

In the first of a regular column in this magazine for the GBTEA, council member Lindsey Hart looks at the advantages of joining the organisation

44 Guernsey Society of Architects

As sustainability climbs higher on the industry’s agenda, Oliver Brock of the GSA looks at whether the island could be self-sustainable with timber

48 GOSHA

With a major health and safety conference planned for this year, GOSHA chair Andrew Mills says it’s an important message to listen to

52 Creating a clamour

With its roots in medieval times, the Channel Island clameur de haro is still (occasionally) used today

Guernsey Property and Construction 3 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023 24 04 36 30
CONTENTS

IRWIN PLACE

If the most important thing about a house is its location, then this property certainly merits attention. The complete redesign of this Fort George home takes full advantage of its unique east coast setting, with spectacular views from the inside and an outside space designed to maximise its owners’ enjoyment of their property.

Guernsey Property and Construction 4  FEATURE
Guernsey Property and Construction 5 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023
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THEY WANTED THE HOUSE TO BE AMAZING AND DIDN’T WANT TO MAKE ANY COMPROMISES IN ENSURING THAT WAS THE CASE. WHEN IT CAME TO COMPLETING THE HOME, I DON’T THINK WE DID COMPROMISE WITH ANYTHING AND IT’S CERTAINLY A PROPERTY THAT I AM VERY PROUD OF.

The owners of Irwin Place bought it at the height of the pandemic, when they weren’t even looking for a major project. But struggling to find a finished house on the market that did meet their requirements, the Fort George property caught their attention.

When Tom Bourgaize of the Drawing Room got involved, he saw it as an opportunity to create something rather unique: “While the clients hadn’t initially been looking for a project, once they committed to this house it was a fantastic chance to design something really special. They wanted the house to be amazing and didn’t want to make any compromises in ensuring that was the case. When it came to completing the home, I don’t think we did compromise with anything and it’s certainly a property that I am very proud of.”

When Tom approached the design for the 6,000sq.ft. home, he needed to combine the practicalities of the somewhat tricky site with the changes that were required to the previous property. The result was an approach to keep much of the layout of the lower ground floor, while the ground floor was knocked down to the road entrance level.

For Tom, it was a sensible compromise: “It wasn’t about the cost as there would have been very little difference between that work and demolishing the whole house. But it is obviously the more environmentally friendly option to retain what we could of the previous structure. Unless there is a really good reason to fully demolish a property, we would generally try to avoid it. We always try to work with current structures where we can, and in this case there was a lot we could do.”

What was done included a full refurbishment of the property as well as waterproofing upgrades and recladding. Granite stonework has given the house a distinctive look which also fitted the low maintenance requirements of the owners. New vaulted roof shapes to co-ordinate with the rooms below add to the interest of the house and give volume to the living spaces inside.

The view from the house is a key part of its appeal, so capturing that was a priority for Tom when it came to the design: “We needed to make sure the design took full advantage of the wonderful views over Herm, Sark, Havelet and Castle Cornet. Because the house is at the lowest point in Fort George, it’s almost in its own little bowl

Guernsey Property and Construction 7 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023

without any other properties encroaching on its view. The view is also framed by the landscape from the house, so on a high tide it feels somewhat as if the water is coming up into the garden, it’s really quite incredible.

“To maximise those views, we really focused on creating beautiful living spaces that took full advantage of them. There is full height glazing in those areas so from the moment you come in through the front door you just see the ocean, beautifully framed by the house. But it wasn’t just the living areas we focused on – even in rooms such as the master suite we actually reduced the space of the bedroom to ensure the bed could be in a position to appreciate the vista, although we made up for the smaller bedroom with en suite and dressing room space.”

That master bedroom is on the ground floor level of the house, along with the kitchen and living areas – future proofing the house for its owners. Venture downstairs, however, and there is another four en suite guest bedrooms, a cinema, a gym and a wine cellar.

But while the inside space was clearly a priority, just as much attention was spent on the outside, as Tom explained: “One of the issues with houses on the east coast of the island is that the sun is never in their favour; most houses on Fort George are in complete shade by mid-afternoon. We were determined to rectify that as much as possible. We therefore modelled in 3D to see where the sun would be moving throughout the day and how we could capture it for as long as possible.

“The result was a new terrace structure which protrudes some way from the building and therefore gives the house afternoon light for much longer in the day. For us as designers it’s all about thinking things through to ensure that the home is as enjoyable a place to live as we can make it.”

Making the house comfortable entailed a comprehensive air tightness strategy as well. Plenty of insulation was installed to protect residents from the windy coastal environment while good glazing and a heat recovery system means that air can be recovered and recirculated. The energy

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Guernsey Property and Construction 8  FEATURE
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TO MAXIMISE THOSE VIEWS, WE REALLY FOCUSED ON CREATING BEAUTIFUL LIVING SPACES THAT TOOK FULL ADVANTAGE OF THEM. THERE IS FULL HEIGHT GLAZING IN THOSE AREAS SO FROM THE MOMENT YOU COME IN THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR YOU JUST SEE THE OCEAN, BEAUTIFULLY FRAMED BY THE HOUSE.

efficiency rating for the house ended up being as good or better than many new builds, and Tom was delighted to prove it was possible to achieve that with a refurbished property.

While the end result has been very satisfying for those involved with the project, its timings meant that it has had its challenges. When the second Covid lockdown hit the island, contractors Rihoy & Son had to stop work on the site. But even when they were able to continue with the construction, there were still issues, as Dan Taylor explained: “There have been such constant cost fluctuations for materials, and also issues with availability. That doesn’t only apply to specialist materials, it has affected items you would always expect to be readily available such as sand.

“At one point we were coming round the building putting up the retaining blockwork walls. Suddenly there was no sand in the island and we had a real shortage. Obviously without sand you can’t make up site concrete or build blockwork so that work just had to stop. There have been many of those types of examples that you really can’t plan for as there has been no way of knowing what would be the next thing that would be subject to supply issues.”

Guernsey Property and Construction 9 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023

For Tom’s design, the exterior granite was affected not so much by Covid but Brexit. While Guernsey has traditionally imported a lot of its stone from Europe, the new rules have made that channel much more difficult, while increased shipping costs from China have also ruled out that avenue. Instead of looking to France, Spain or Portugal, the tumbled stone for Irwin Place ended up being shipped down from Scotland.

Added to those issues was the very location of the property, which posed its own problems for those working on site. “Because part of the ground floor structure had remained, all of the external work on the seaward side had to be done around the building,” said Dan. “Everything had to come through that narrow area so there was a bit of a bottleneck, especially with the external works taking place in the latter stages of the project. At the same time, the house was at the bottom of a fairly steep dead end road. While the neighbours were very friendly and accommodating, there were still issues with parking and loading and unloading. We also often couldn’t take full loads up the hill because of its gradient, so that added time and difficulty to the project.”

Guernsey Property and Construction 10 FEATURE

Despite that extra time the project completed in just under two years, with the final touches added last autumn and the owners now happily enjoying their new home.

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Garenne Group enters liquidation

States of Guernsey among its clients, has also entered the liquidation process.

Former Group companies AFM and Granite Le Pelley Guernsey have both confirmed management buyouts of those firms.

However, it announced last August that it would be restructuring. Several sale and management buyouts followed, including Geomarine, which saw the group’s portfolio shrink considerably. Shortly after the RG Falla sale, it was announced that chairman Julian Winser had left the group.

The Garenne Construction Group has been put into liquidation, following the collapse of Camerons in Jersey at the end of February and difficulties across the business. Rabeys Commercial Vehicles, which counts the

The news came shortly after the announcement that its long-standing construction business, RG Falla, had been acquired by a private Guernsey owned investment company.

At the height of its success, the Garenne Group owned dozens of businesses spread across Guernsey, Jersey and the UK.

Uncertainty over capital projects

Capital projects totalling £460 million are in train, including the hospital modernisation, post-16 campus and much-needed housing. They are all being reviewed, with P&R saying no new funding should be approved in the short term.

Over the past 60 years, RG Falla has built some of the most island’s most notable buildings, most recently the new bathing pools development at La Vallette and Perrot Court at Elizabeth College. It is shortly due to complete the new medical centre at L’Aumone and Le Platon care home.

Guernsey’s capital projects are on hold until deputies decide which should be paused, delayed, stopped or scaled back. Policy and Resources (P&R) is reviewing all planned major building and infrastructure work after the States failed to agree a strategy to plug the gap in public finances.

The news comes as costs rise on the island’s current major projects, with the project to modernise the Princess Elizabeth Hospital (pictured) now projected to cost £154 million. The £34 million first phase is due to be completed next year, but the expected costs for the second and third phases of work have risen from a projected £50 million in 2019 to £120 million because of inflation and higher building costs.

Board changes at Rihoy & Son

Dan Taylor has been appointed managing director and will focus his attention on driving the overall performance of the company and leading the firm’s strategic direction with the Board.

Current chairman, Jeremy Rihoy, moves to non-executive director to continue his advisory role to the Board, while joining as operations director is Steve Brehaut.

The same factors are affecting the Transforming Education Programme, which includes the new sixth form centre, which has seen costs climb from around £100 to £128 million.

P&R president, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, has mentioned the possibility of bringing in off-island builders for the major States projects. Industry bodies including the Guernsey Construction Forum and the GBTEA have been critical of the uncertainty for the island and the construction sector.

Guernsey’s largest construction company, JW Rihoy & Son Ltd, has announced new Board appointments.

Gavin Rihoy, managing director for over 20 years, will be taking the position of chairman, with his role going forward focusing on pre-construction project procurement and tendering.

Gavin Rihoy, whose grandfather started the business in 1924, commented on the recent changes: “The last few years have seen significant growth for Rihoy & Son. Managing that has not been without its challenges, but our team of directors and managers have responded well and helped build the structure and systems to deliver it sustainably, whilst maintaining a large workforce.

“After 20 years as managing director, and as we approach our centenary year in business, the time is right to consider management succession and strengthening our Board. I look forward to Dan’s contemporary approach and new ideas as he takes over the role of managing director.’

Dan joined the company in 2014 as project manager, having previously worked for a local property development and investment firm. He joined the Board as projects director in 2017. He said: “I’m looking forward to taking on this role with such a longstanding local company and continuing to develop our people and culture at all levels, as these drive everything we deliver, on every project.”

Guernsey Property and Construction 13 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023  INDUSTRY NEWS

New tenant for Admiral Park

The accountancy firm will be taking the second floor of the 67,000sq. ft Grade A office. They say the move will provide a modern office facility with individual work stations, the latest technology, and breakout areas designed for staff collaboration. The office has also been developed to maximise both natural light and the efficiency of the space.

be moving to a dynamic area of town. At BDO we believe in investing in the future of Guernsey businesses, with an acute focus on workplace wellbeing at the top of our agenda. The combination of location with the high-spec quality of office will provide new and current employees with a modern environment that meets their needs and encourages socialising and engagement between colleagues and friends.

BDO Guernsey is the latest company to announce a move to Admiral Park, when the final phase of the Comprop development completes next year.

The new development aims to be Guernsey’s first BREEAM-rated building, meaning it will be accredited for its energy performance and sustainability.

Richard Searle, managing director of BDO Guernsey, said: “We are excited to

JG Architecture marks decade in business

JG Architecture Ltd is celebrating 10 years in business as a full-service, chartered architectural practice. The team has grown over the past decade to now include nine technicians and designers, all working from its Cobo premises.

Founder and managing director, James Gavey, said he’s proud of what has been achieved: “With new build dwellings, listed building upgrades, residential development, commercial office fitouts and retail projects all completed by the firm, it’s been a decade of growth, high service levels and team building.

Housing stock to remain with States

In 2021, the two committees agreed in principle to the transfer, pending detailed work on the practicalities including a stock condition survey and stock valuation report.

The recent decision not to continue with the transfer was made following confirmation that the aggregate value of the 1,649 social housing units managed by the Housing Service was £155 million.

“The eco credentials of the building, as accredited by BREEAM, make this one of the greenest buildings in Guernsey, which is fantastic news as we continually look to minimise our impact on the island’s beautiful natural environment.”

The Committee for Employment & Social Security and the Policy & Resources Committee have decided not to transfer the Housing Service and social rental housing stock to the Guernsey Housing Association.

As the social rental housing stock generates a net annual rental income of £12 million, both committees agreed it was not the time to introduce a sustained long-term reduction to States revenue of this sum.

“But we’re much more interested in looking forward than back. Our motto is ‘design for the future’ and sustainability is key for any new project. With growing concerns over climate change and the finite nature of these resources, there is increasing pressure on architects and construction firms to reduce their environmental impact so that is a real focus for us.”

As part of its anniversary celebrations, JGA is sponsoring active challenge ‘Epic Week’ this September, which encourages islanders of all ages and abilities to set their own challenge and raise money for charities This Is EPIC and the Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation.

Deputy Peter Roffey, president of the Committee for Employment & Social Security, said: “A lot of good and useful work has come out of this project, which has provided us with a clear and detailed assessment of the condition of the social rental housing stock at present. We are writing to all tenants so they will be receiving a letter from us explaining in more detail the decision not to go ahead with the transfer and reassuring them that we are committed to keeping the stock in good condition.”

Guernsey Property and Construction 14  INDUSTRY NEWS
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New sales manager at Norman Piette

Originally from Warwickshire, Sam Wanless moved to the island from Australia in October last year with his local partner.

“I’ve spent the last three years in Sydney and Brisbane enjoying the sunshine and managing a team selling solar power systems,” said Sam.

“I’m very interested in renewables and sustainability. Attitudes to energy consumption have radically altered in recent years. The need to slow down climate change and the costs associated with fossil

Bid to turn L’Eree Bay Hotel into flats

The plans submitted involve converting the building to residential use, including three one-bed, nine two-bed and two three-bed units.

As well as the residential units, the plans include a covered bicycle store, electric car charging points and removing nine parking spaces at the front of the site. The vehicular access would also be changed to improve safety and the swimming pool would be removed.

fuels make solar an extremely attractive option. By harnessing my expertise I am hopeful the solar market will be an area of expansion for Norman Piette in future.”

Sam now manages a team of 11 people including the internal sales team who mostly deal with inbound enquiries, quotations and tenders. He also looks after the company’s representatives on the road who visit sites and businesses and offer advice ‘in situ’.

The hotel was bought from Randalls in 2019 by the RED fund, part of Bailiwick Investments. They say the building is not able to return to the required standard for visitor accommodation, no suitable offers for purchase or lease have been made since it changed hands, and the costs of refurbishment would not be sustained by future tourism income.

The site falls outside of the main and local centres defined within the IDP, although it doesn’t fall within any identified areas of protection or special significance.

Extra units proposed at Domaine des Moulins

see approximately 54 units of key worker accommodation developed at Domaine des Moulins, the former CI Tyres site.

The land was purchased by the GHA in August 2022. Previously, the expectation was that around 25 units would be included in the new development. Scoping work has been undertaken to determine the feasibility of the higher density development and the conclusion was that it should be pursued.

Vic Slade, chief executive, Guernsey Housing Association said: “There is currently huge pressure to provide more affordable housing, so it makes sense to maximise use of the space on the site to provide as many homes as we can, whilst making sure that we protect design and space standards. We recognise the urgent need to deliver this much needed key worker accommodation, so we’re pursuing the revised development as a top priority.”

With the support of the States of Guernsey, the Guernsey Housing Association (GHA) is developing revised plans that could

Subject to planning permission, it is estimated that the development will be complete in early 2026.

New unsightly property powers for DPA

The Development & Planning Authority (DPA) has been given new powers by the States to fine unsightly property.

It will be able to serve civil notices to the owners of land and property perceived to be negatively impacting the amenity of an area.

The department’s original policy letter was diluted by an amendment excluding

residential property and domestic curtilage, while the ordinance will also exclude greenhouses.

Additionally, an amendment scraped through which will see States property and land included within the new ordinance, despite it being opposed by DPA president Deputy Victoria Oliver.

Guernsey Property and Construction 16  INDUSTRY NEWS
A planning application has been submitted to convert the closed L’Eree Bay Hotel into 14 local market flats. Norman Piette’s new sales manager brings years of experience in the solar power industry to Guernsey’s largest builders’ merchant.
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Savills Guernsey expands team

Real estate advisor Savills has recently welcomed six new joiners to its Guernsey office.

The appointments include property managers Merrick Bramley and Kayley Bowyer-Smith in the commercial team and graduate surveyor Joe Brown in building and project consultancy.

Merrick was previously responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of 30 commercial and 70 residential properties at Lovells, while Kayleigh was an asbestos analyst in the UK. They will now be advising a variety of clients across the Savills portfolio.

Joe has a master’s in building surveying from the University College of Estate Management and will spend the next two

Briarwood approved with conditions

Following discussions around the financial viability of the development and changes to the proposed access, the Development & Planning Authority (DPA) voted by a majority to approve the application with 26 conditions.

years gaining experience and developing his skills as he works towards his RICS chartership.

Other new hires include Tom Bonsall and Bobbie Lee Dodd who have joined the residential lettings team as property manager and assistant property manager respectively. The residential sales team has also recently welcomed Charlotte Glen as a sales consultant.

Commenting on the changes, Tony Rowbotham, head of office at Savills Guernsey, said: “We are always keen to attract and retain top talent within key areas of our business and these appointments ensure the evolution of our team continues and the services that we are able to offer clients across the island is further enhanced.”

ensuring that development takes place in accordance with the Island Development Plan.”

The planning application to develop 26 dwellings at Briarwood in St Martin’s has been granted permission with conditions following an Open Planning Meeting.

Deputy Victoria Oliver, president of the Development & Planning Authority, said: “Having deferred this decision in December 2022, it was important that we as a Committee made a decision one way or another to provide certainty to the developers. There is still great demand for private housing, and we have a role to play in helping to address this demand and

The project centres on the Grande Rue car park, with new developments on green spaces to the north and south-east of it and the car park redeveloped to make it safer. The site stretches from Grande Rue to the rear of St Martin’s Primary School.

Despite being large enough to trigger the GP11 planning policy, the affordable housing requirements may not apply due to the amount of money being spent on improving the infrastructure around the school.

Jerbourg WWII features given Protected Building status

a part of what later became known as Hitler’s Atlantic Wall.

The features, which are situated across private and public land, include the command post which is visible at the far end of the car park at Jerbourg point, together with 22cm field gun positions, machine gun posts, ammunition, personnel and observations bunkers.

researching the features that form this historic structure. Although there is special interest in each of these individual features, when they are considered collectively as the naval battery, the high level of special interest becomes even more apparent.

The Development & Planning Authority (DPA) has designated the German Naval Batterie Strassburg at Jerbourg as a Grade A Protected Building. Batterie Strassburg is made up of 64 World War Two features,

Deputy Victoria Oliver, president of the DPA, said: “I’d like to express my gratitude to Festung Guernsey for the specialist support they have offered in surveying and

“Part of the DPA’s role is to protect and preserve our island’s heritage, look, feel and culture, of which the German occupation and the associated structures form a significant part. Designating these as a Grade A Protected Building offers the protection that a site of this significance deserves.”

Guernsey Property and Construction 18 INDUSTRY NEWS
Top to bottom, left to right: Merrick Bramley, Kayley Bowyer Smith, Joe Brown, Tom Bonsall, Bobbie Lee Dodd and Charloette Glen

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GAVIN RIHOY

As Gavin Rihoy moves from his 20-year tenure as managing director of JW Rihoy & Son Ltd to chair the company’s Board, he told us about his passion for the family business and his ambitions for its future.

The company that bears Gavin Rihoy’s family name will mark its centenary next year – an impressive achievement in an industry that can bear the brunt of economic downturns. But as the firm reaches that 100-year milestone, Gavin has achieved a more personal one, becoming chair of its Board. It’s a fitting role for someone who freely admits his passion for his professional life.

“The personal connection to the company means everything to me, I live and breathe work. The success of the firm is a lifelong driving force for me.”

Following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps may have seemed an obvious path for Gavin, but he says it was one he came to later in life than might be expected.

“During my teenage years and while I was growing up, my father never expressed any desire to bring me into the family business. He felt the huge responsibility of running the company was a millstone, and it wasn’t something he wanted to oblige his children into.”

But construction clearly ran in the Rihoy blood. Gavin’s university education and subsequent work as a quantity surveyor in the UK showed his interest in the industry. He was content forging his career there until his father approached him about joining the family firm.

“I was in my mid-20s at the time and didn’t see my future in Guernsey. I was planning to go travelling so I said no to him and headed off to Southeast Asia and Mexico. When I returned to the UK, I married my Italian

girlfriend, had a child and got a mortgage – no master plan, it just all happened at a rate of knots. We decided to settle down in Guernsey, and that’s when I made a conscious decision to get involved in the family business.”

Gavin spent 11 years working as a Rihoy & Son quantity surveyor, joining the Board of Directors in 1998. But his father’s retirement at the turn of the millennium sparked a life change for him.

“It was a chance for me to assess where I could make the most difference to the business, and I embraced the opportunity to move into the man management side of Rihoy & Son. As I reached my mid-30s, the previous decade’s work experience had given me a broad picture of the business. It occurred to me that not only were there a lot of issues that needed addressing but that I cared enough about it to want to be the one who did that.”

With that clear in his mind, when Gavin took on the managing director role in 2002 he approached it with enthusiasm, if not some reservations.

“Looking back, the timing was premature and given the choice I would have waited another five years. But there were obvious gaps that needed filling and the lessons

Guernsey Property and Construction 20 INTERVIEW

I learned from being thrust into it at that age have stood by me to this day. I think it frequently happens in industry: premature promotion, you sink or swim. From that experience, today I recognise readily, both during interviews and in the workplace, those who will make the grade.”

While the trajectory of Rihoy & Son over the past 20 years bears testament to the fact that he has succeeded in the managing director role, Gavin is clear that he has done so with plenty of help and support from his team along the way.

“Working with my brother Jeremy, a lifelong business partner and very close friend, has helped fuel my passion. We’re both very competitive, not just on the golf course, but in a drive to succeed, which serves

to focus the mind and in business that partnership has worked well. That’s never to be taken for granted.”

“In 2002 when I took the MD role, we had a chap called Laurie McLeman on board as surveying director. He was at the end of his working career and had a wealth of experience, which I benefited from hugely. His knowledge of construction contracts, programmes and project management was vast. We worked closely together for a few years and he served as a mentor – although with his military background, I wasn’t always so keen on copying his man-management methods.”

Following on from Laurie came someone who is a key part of Gavin’s team to this day. When Steve Moores responded to an advert in the Manchester Post for a quantity surveyor, it led to a move to Guernsey and a long-term role at the company.

“Steve and I have been working closely together ever since he started two decades ago. He quickly demonstrated he wanted to be a serious player in the business through his ability and application. Steve took Laurie’s role as surveying director and has been absolutely key in growing the business. A wise, knowledgeable and safe pair of hands, Steve is a backbone for us.

“During that time, site manager Dave Tostevin fancied a change and wanted to take on the role of HR manager – a relatively modern term, which we still call labour manager. Dave recently retired, but his practical approach and fabulous way with clients helped forge our reputation in the market and aided our growth. Dave joined Rihoy & Son from school, training as a carpenter and ultimately joining the Board. He had one employer from school to retirement, a record he and the business are proud of.”

The growth that Gavin refers to has been the driving force to becoming a key player in Guernsey. It was a major motivator for him and his team, and one they’ve unquestionably achieved – Rihoy & Son is now the largest construction company on the island, responsible for some of Guernsey’s most high-profile recent projects, including the latest phases of Admiral Park and St James’ Place.

“That didn’t happen by chance. From the mid-1990s, we looked at the market in Guernsey and realised there was only one major player on the block [RG Falla].

Guernsey Property and Construction 21 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023
...THE LESSONS I LEARNED FROM BEING THRUST INTO IT AT THAT AGE HAVE STOOD BY ME TO THIS DAY. I THINK IT FREQUENTLY HAPPENS IN INDUSTRY: PREMATURE PROMOTION, YOU SINK OR SWIM.
Admiral Park

We made a conscious decision to try to get into that area and compete with them as well as the many other companies who have come into the island and then left again. Firms such as AC Mauger, Mowlems, Dew Construction, Hochtief and Amy have all been and gone. There is a very unusual set of logistics when you are trading in Guernsey, you need to know the market.”

While there is no doubt Gavin knows the market, the recent disruption to the sector in Guernsey has highlighted the potential fallibility of any firm. He’s clear they assume nothing when it comes to success.

“When I look back at where the market was at the start of my tenure [as managing director] and then wind forward to now and what has happened, it’s obvious that nothing lasts forever. Taking nothing for granted is a good habit, including the state of the market and where we are within it.”

While Rihoy & Son is in a good place currently, Gavin is honest that hasn’t always been the case during his tenure. The past 20 years have seen him and the firm weather several challenges, and he says they’ve learned some hard lessons.

“When the financial crisis hit in 20072008, it took some time to filter through to Guernsey. For us, I don’t think we felt it until around 2012-2013 when it battered the company hard. We spent a couple of years treading water, just ensuring we stayed afloat. Survival tactics necessitated dramatic steps – we offloaded all ‘nice to haves’, but our most drastic action was wage reductions across the company. It wasn’t a good time to be in the industry,

but it taught us many lessons about trading frugally, and we still implement those today.”

In much closer memory, and still ongoing in many ways for the industry, was the Covid-19 crisis. While difficult for most industries, it hit the construction sector particularly hard. Social distancing on site, material supply chains grinding to a halt, and Government restrictions on visiting UK specialists, all juxtaposed with project deadlines, provided a perfect storm of challenges.

“While the lockdowns were unprecedented in living memory, the real surprise came when things didn’t get back to normal as we expected. For 18 months post-Covid, we had an incredibly tricky time purchasing materials due to world shortages. That’s calmed down somewhat, but we are still dealing with the shocking price increases seen over the past couple of years. That started with factory shutdowns creating demand far higher than supply, then aggravated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Oil prices rocketed, and that affects everything we buy. Two significant factors creating large inflation at a time when the pound is falling, it’s hardly surprising we’ve seen increases.

“If all that isn’t enough, when you add in the effects of Brexit, we can understand why trading has become tougher. Brexit has done a lot more damage than is commonly recognised, it’s the elephant in the room if you’re a conservative. Many European immigrant workers returned to their homes. The appeal to come back to work in the UK is now gone with Brexit red tape and a drop in the pound. We have felt this badly in Guernsey, directly translating into a lack of human resources, further fuelling inflation.

“It was a complete nightmare through Covid and the lockdowns. Trying to manage project progress became virtually impossible and took a huge amount of creative thinking. One side effect of working with the government on how to bring in sub-contractors, while conforming to travel and quarantine restrictions, was that the States adopted our suggestions and turned it into a policy.

“We also have the issue that the States [of Guernsey] spent no money on capital projects for ten years, so much of the industry went into survival mode during that time. The further shrinkage during Brexit and Covid means that we have less labour resource in Guernsey now than we did in 2010.”

Like many in the industry, Gavin is critical of the government’s approach, including

Guernsey Property and Construction 22 INTERVIEW
IT WAS A COMPLETE NIGHTMARE THROUGH COVID AND THE LOCKDOWNS. TRYING TO MANAGE PROJECT PROGRESS BECAME VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE AND TOOK A HUGE AMOUNT OF CREATIVE THINKING.

its recent capital spending freeze following the tax debate and its lack of investment in the island’s infrastructure. As part of the Guernsey Construction Forum, he is pushing for more joined-up thinking in government.

“The States puts out different tenders for different department projects with no one coordinating it. Instead, we see feast and famine, making it very difficult to run any business and damaging the island’s economy. We need some joined-up thinking and a coherent, sustainable plan for major capital projects. That way industry will gear up for it and ensure we have the right people in place and the correct level of training for what we need.”

The importance of training Rihoy & Son employees is a priority for Gavin. He is a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Building and believes investing in training doesn’t just benefit the firm but benefits the industry and the island’s economy.

“We are committed to training at all levels. It’s provided for everyone from apprentice level up to management courses at the College of Further Education and even online degrees. It’s a real commitment with a growing annual budget to service it.

“On a very practical level, we run courses in most construction activities: dumper and

digger driving, scaffolding safety, asbestos handling, working at height, the list is long. Operating safely is key to the business and education through training is the only answer to that.”

His new move to chairman of the Board will see Gavin focus on pre-construction project procurement and the tendering process.

“We’re busy now, and my role at the front end of the business is to make sure that we stay busy. But that’s not about simply taking on any project offered – a key responsibility is assessing project risk. There are a lot of projects around that have a considerable level of risk, whether those are contractual or operational. Having the skill and experience needed to recognise those and deal with them appropriately during the initial tender stage is all part of it.”

While many might imagine that job satisfaction for someone working in the construction industry comes from seeing the finished product, Gavin says his enjoyment of his role is somewhat different.

“While I do love driving past iconic landmarks we have delivered, that’s not the key driver for me. I come to work because I love putting projects together. The cut and thrust of making significant contractual deals is far more dynamic

and exciting than you might imagine. It always distils down to time, cost and quality– looking at a project’s requirements and pulling it all together. My working life consists of making deals and solving problems, and getting it right is very satisfying.”

As Gavin marks 20 years as managing director and new move, it seems the perfect time to reflect on his 30 years in the industry.

“I’m proud of being a big part of the evolution of a company that has achieved year-on-year growth and become the largest construction firm in the island. It feels like a real achievement. Regarding projects, there have been some fabulous ones. St James’ Place has been a recent highlight. 25 years of delivering social housing for the GHA is worth a significant mention. Rihoy & Son has been front and centre of the island’s social housing upgrade. Guernsey’s masonic temple, numerous hotels, large open market houses, and recent phases at Admiral Park are all significant– we have contributed to the fabric of everyday life in the island. You can’t ask for much more than that. What I’m most proud of ... building a team that’s enabled that.”

Guernsey Property and Construction 23 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023
St James’ Place
Guernsey Property and Construction 24 FEATURE

AZTECH SOCCER

The former home of the Indoor Cricket Centre, the newly opened Aztech facility is focused on a different sport. It’s hoped the island’s footballers of all ages will benefit from its high-tech approach to the beautiful game. Converting the warehouse-type space to provide the sports facilities as well as a café and restaurant was a challenge its new owners were keen to tackle.

Guernsey Property and Construction 25 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023

IT WAS ALSO THE PERFECT VENUE FOR THE VISION THAT ROB HAD FOR THE FACILITY. IT WAS THE RIGHT SIZE AND HAD PLENTY OF POTENTIAL TO CREATE A REALLY GREAT SPACE. IT WAS A BIT OF A CHALLENGE INITIALLY TO CRAM EVERYTHING IN AND ENSURE IT NOT ONLY FITTED BUT THAT IT FLOWED WELL.

Rob Jones has a finance background, but a passion for football. Along with Tony Vance, a well-known face in the island’s sporting community, he has been keen for many years to develop an indoor centre for the sport. Now the business partners have achieved exactly that.

“Every football season in the island ends up being wrecked because of the weather, so we have been looking for an internal site for years,” said Rob. “We looked everywhere but nothing came up so we approached Jon [Ravenscroft] about buying the Hougue du Pommier site and eventually he agreed.”

When they acquired the centre in November 2021, they knew that they would need all of their skills in business and football to make the new facility a success. They would also need to find the right people to work with.

In his previous role, Rob had worked closely with UK fitout firm Vibe. He approached them about the project and they were very keen to get involved. Designer James Harrison was responsible for the plans, and said it was a good fit for his experience: “I have a background in rejuvenating leisure centres so this was a great project for me. When I first visited, I immediately thought that it had the aesthetics and feel of a leisure centre desperate for some new life.

“It was also the perfect venue for the vision that Rob had for the facility. It was the right size and had plenty of potential to create a really great space. It was a bit of a challenge initially to cram everything in and ensure it not only fitted but that it flowed well. That flow is often one of the key parts of a design as you not only need to provide the required spaces but you need to be able to navigate between them efficiently and enjoyably.”

The spaces Rob was looking for in the new facility included two 3G pitches; an inside six-a-side pitch and an outside four-a-side. Alongside those a tech zone needed to have plenty of training equipment, as well as changing rooms for those using the facilities. Disabled access, disabled toilet facilities and a lift were also significant as well as office space and a welcoming reception area. But the focus of the centre isn’t only on those playing football – those watching are also a key priority. Downstairs, Aztech has a 30-seater café pitch-side for hot and cold food, coffee and snacks. Upstairs, the new Crossbar restaurant has a full commercial kitchen offering 70 covers, a bar, private booths and an excellent view of the pitch.

For James, his initial visits to the centre left him with an excellent idea of how it could work: “Walking through the previous centre with Rob talking through his vision made

Guernsey Property and Construction 26 FEATURE

it quite clear what needed to be done to achieve that. A key factor was developing the café and restaurant facilities while making them feel like an integral part of the centre. They are very much standalone venues which can be enjoyed without an interest in what’s happening on the pitch, but at the same time we wanted to make sure that we incorporated viewing areas for those who want to eat or drink and watch a game. In the pitch-side café that happened fairly organically with a mix of high and low tables along with the Perspex barriers around the playing area. Upstairs, it was a little more complicated so we developed plans for a new mezzanine area that extended over the previous walkway and allowed an excellent view of the pitch from the seating areas.”

While helping extend the potential of the restaurant space, that mezzanine did cause some challenges when it came to the fit out. The spacing of the columns and lining the new structure up with the existing downstairs layout of changing rooms and facilities took some thought from a design perspective. Changing downstairs

entrances and doorways to accommodate the mezzanine columns solved the problems and allowed for the extra upstairs space.

One of the other challenges came with one of the most important parts of the fitout. The 3G pitches are the lynchpin of Aztech’s offering, but the first attempt to lay them wasn’t a success. For Rob, it had to be right: “The first pitch that went down looked

great but it simply didn’t work. Once we tried to play on it, the ball didn’t roll properly and that wasn’t an acceptable result. We ended up having to pull the whole thing up and relay a new one, which clearly came at an additional cost but was worth every penny. We used a project management firm, Adsum, to manage all the specialist pitches and fencing. They were fantastic and helped hugely in making sure the end result was right.”

Guernsey Property and Construction 27 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023

As all of the work at Aztech was internal, they didn’t need to get planning permission for the development. Building control, however, was involved throughout the work – which extended its scope as the project progressed.

“As well as all the visible work, we effectively rewired and replumbed the entire facility,” said Rob. “We also installed new Cat 6 cabling as well as a CCTV system and air conditioning throughout the building. Some of that work, including the air con, wasn’t part of the original plans but as it became clear that it was necessary we wanted to go ahead with it to ensure that everything was fit for purpose.”

The consequence of those additions was an extension to the timescales of the project. While Aztech was originally due to complete in August 2022, the date got pushed much closer to the end of the year. While frustrating for those wanting to get the centre up and running, their priority was making sure it was right.

Working with Vibe meant that they supplied the on-site team from their usual UK providers for electrical, plumbing, plastering and decorating work. A core group comprising the foreman and three or four others were the mainstays on site during the project when it was difficult at times to get a bigger team over to the island.

Guernsey Property and Construction 28 FEATURE
AZTECH IS SOMEWHERE WE WANT TO PLAY A REALLY IMPORTANT PART IN THE COMMUNITY. OBVIOUSLY A REAL FOCUS IS ON IMPROVING THE STANDARD OF THE GAME, BUT IT’S ALSO ON INCREASING INVOLVEMENT.

Combined with the industry-wide materials shortages projects have recently faced, the workflow was a priority for James.

“We had to do a lot of forward planning. With the original plans I had put together a fly-through and a lot of visuals, so we had digital models of the building and a schedule of finishes. We tried to ensure that we had a programme that we could work around, and tried to source items locally when it was possible. Ultimately, it’s simply the challenges that come with working on the island and while we did face some issues, we overcame them.”

While the inspiration for the Aztech name comes from a number of sources, it certainly gives one clue to the priorities of the centre. Technology is a key part of the offering. Both pitches have recessed electronic goals which highlight exactly where the ball was placed. The aptly named tech zone encompasses seven pieces of training equipment, described as a football gym it is able to cater for 30-40 people at a time. For Rob, it’s all part of a facility that aims to meet the needs of many in the

community: “The tech zone offers training opportunities for those ages from seven to over 70. Our elite Guernsey FC players use it but so do many of the island’s aspiring young players. And it’s not unusual to see a mum, dad or sibling dropping in to have a go with the equipment, which is exactly what we want.

“Aztech is somewhere we want to play a really important part in the community. Obviously a real focus is on improving the standard of the game, but it’s also on increasing involvement. We want everyone to feel that it offers them something –whether that’s our walking football players, those with Parkinson’s or dementia who come along to use the facilities, or our players with additional needs who enjoy coming to have a kick around during the day. We will be working closely with the community and the island’s schools as that’s such an important part of why we wanted to develop this and what we want to achieve with it.”

THE CONTRACTORS

Adsum Project

Management

Channel Welders

Magnet

Sensible Technology

Vibe Business Interiors

Guernsey Property and Construction 29 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023

KINGSTON DRIVE

Hidden from sight in central St Peter Port, this new development of executive homes combines the advantages of Town living with the ambience of a much quieter part of the island. Recently constructed, the four houses offer classic design, high quality finishes and all the conveniences needed for modern lifestyles. But while they are designed for effortless living, getting them out of the ground wasn’t without its challenges.

The Rihoy & Son development started life in 2014 when managing director Dan Taylor first came across the site. While its potential was clear to him, realising it would clearly come with plenty of challenges. The access, up a narrow roadway from Les Amballes, was far from ideal for a construction project, while levelling the upper areas of the site to build would mean tackling a considerable amount of earth works.

Having negotiated the site’s purchase, the planning process began to replace the small cottage and large metal warehouse on site with a number of residential properties. As Dan explained, the type of housing they would look to build quickly became clear: “We looked at the size of the site, the access to the site, and the topography of the site. We then considered the merits of building one house through to around six. In our pre-application discussions with the planning department it became clear that four houses would be preferable on the one-acre site, and so that was the number we planned for.

“Having four houses on the site meant that we could make it an exclusive development of fairly sizeable executive homes. We wanted to ensure that they were all a decent size, detached, with adequate

parking and outside spaces, and some with garages. As we were able to take all four houses up to three storeys we were also able to very comfortably have four bedrooms in each property.”

The design of the houses is the work of architect Andrew Merrett at Lovell Ozanne. He worked with planners through various iterations of the design before settling on the final version: “The initial planning permission was for four very contemporary style villas with reverse living and some very interesting design features. The developers then decided that they would prefer a more traditional approach, so the second permission we achieved was for the houses you can now see on the site.

“There was a number of issues to factor in when looking at the design, including the location of the site. That part of St Peter Port is a conservation area, so any new development needed to reflect that. Many of the buildings in close proximity to the site are protected, so these new houses needed to sit well within that context. We therefore looked to that heritage to design beautifully proportioned buildings that sit comfortably within their built environment.”

Guernsey Property and Construction 30 FEATURE
Guernsey Property and Construction 31 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023

While Andrew was responsible for the look of the buildings, Dan also worked closely with the development’s sales agent, Nick Paluch at Savills, to ensure that what they built was appealing to local purchasers. For Nick, it was helpful to be involved from the early stages of the project: “We had conversations about the design and layout of the houses compared with the demand I was seeing in the market. It was great to be able to have that input at the stage where it could make a difference to the finished product. Having this size of family house with four good sized double bedrooms and extra circulation space along with three bathrooms plus a cloakroom toilet is really rare in Guernsey, so it’s been great to deal with properties that have been so well appointed.”

With the plans finalised, work started on site in October 2019. The small two-bedroom cottage and large metal warehouse that were on the land were both demolished, and Dan said work progressed well, despite the weather doing its best to intervene: “It was a really wet winter and we were having to dig out a considerable amount of the

site. It’s on a slope and the design entailed cutting into it and removing the earth. When we started work, the current ground floor level of the houses would have been below ground, so all of that had to be removed.”

The restricted access to the site meant that larger trucks couldn’t enter the access road, so all the excavated material had to be moved down the road to be driven away. “We had a telehandler permanently on site to move items from the bottom of the driveway up to where the work was

happening, and the same in reverse. It meant that everything had to be planned very efficiently, and even with that organisation it did all take a lot more time than a project with better access. However, this was managed very well by our site team throughout the project,” said Dan.

Despite the extra time, by the beginning of March 2020 the foundations and all four ground floor slabs were in, and two of the houses were blocked up to first floor level. But once Covid hit, all work had to stop.

rihoy.com

FAMILY BUILT HOMES.

Four new stylish detached homes, built to an exacting specification, and located in a peaceful off-road Town location. Light open-plan living spaces leading to a woodland backdrop, benefiting from four double bedrooms and sea views.

Developer and Main Contractor for Kingston Drive.

Guernsey Property and Construction 32 FEATURE

For Dan, that meant a complete reassessment of the timescales of the project: “It has taken a year longer than anticipated because of Covid disruptions. Along with the lockdowns themselves, materials shortages and remobilising the workforce all played their part. We had issues when we missed slots with subcontractors because of knock-on Covid delays so it was somewhat of a juggle. I originally saw it as a two-year project from demolishing the old cottage to selling the new properties but those unprecedented challenges shifted that considerably, so I’m delighted to now have them all finished and three of the four sold.”

Those now living in the properties benefit from a back garden environment you wouldn’t expect in central St Peter Port. The houses back onto the nature trail that forms part of the Les Cotils site. It means that the outside space is not only surprisingly peaceful, but is at no risk of further development. It’s a key attraction for the properties, but the work needed to provide the garden space wasn’t an easy part of the build.

Engaging Architecture

Dan admits that part of the problem was thinking about it a little late: “It was difficult in the sense that we didn’t think about it early enough. We had come on a considerable way with building the houses before we looked at the gardens and really planned what we would do with them, when actually it’s what we should have started with. So as we worked our way out of the site, we ended up having to delay finishing the final property as we needed to use it to access the back of the houses.

“We had a large earth ramp to get to the top of what’s now the gardens, and we needed to get up there and along the different levels with machinery to finish the work on the outside spaces. The gabion walls also took a considerable amount of work as all of them had to be filled by hand. The stones had to be placed to create that flat front face, which took a considerable amount of time and effort, but was well worth it for the final effect.”

We believe that great design should be possible no matter how big or complex the project. We aim to offer a bespoke personal service whilst maintaining

the capacity and expertise to tackle large scale developments. Using our experience and passion we make everyday spaces exceptional.

Guernsey Property and Construction 33 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023 Residential | Commercial | Hotel | Education | Bespoke Homes To book your free consultation please call 01481 235397 or email hello@lovellozanne.com
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THE GABION WALLS ALSO TOOK A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF WORK AS ALL OF THEM HAD TO BE FILLED BY HAND. THE STONES HAD TO BE PLACED TO CREATE THAT FLAT FRONT FACE, WHICH TOOK A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF TIME AND EFFORT, BUT WAS WELL WORTH IT FOR THE FINAL EFFECT.

With the houses finished, the final one is on the market. For Nick, it’s been interesting to observe where the demand has been, and he’s delighted with the demographic of the new owners: “There’s clearly been a real appeal for families who want to stay living centrally in Town but also want space to accommodate their children or grow into. We originally thought that it might be couples or downsizers who would want these, but while they have been interested, it’s primarily been young families.

Guernsey Property and Construction 34 FEATURE
I’M REALLY PLEASED WITH THEM, I THINK IT’S A GREAT DEVELOPMENT THAT’S MEETING A REAL NEED ON THE ISLAND. I LOVE COMING HERE WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVEN’T SEEN THEM BEFORE.

“Part of the draw is clearly also having something that’s newly built. With the cost of building at a historic high at the moment, having a turnkey solution is really appealing for a lot of people. We frequently see people who haven’t got the time to be overseeing a project build or renovation, but who want the space and attention to detail that has gone into this development.”

For Dan, it’s a satisfying conclusion to a lengthy project: “I’m really pleased with them, I think it’s a great development that’s meeting a real need on the island. I love coming here with people who haven’t seen them before. Because they can’t be seen from the road, and only from distance at Admiral Park, many people don’t know that they are here. Coming up the drive and seeing the development open out has a real impact and I’m delighted with what we’ve achieved.”

For Sale

Three of the four houses have now been sold. The final property is still available through Savills Guernsey. To view the property online: visit: bit.ly/kingston_drive

Contact Nick Paluch Tel: 713463 nick.paluch@savills.com

THE CONTRACTORS

Rihoy & Son

Lovell Ozanne

Savills

CBL Consulting

All Aspects Plumbing & Heating

NE Electrics

S Parsons Roofing

Westglass

DWA

Natural Paving

Sexton Green

Channel Welders

Stainless Steel

Fabrications

HG Plastering

P Fletcher Tiling

Island Access

Channel Island Ceramics

Cucine Zero Nine

Guernsey Property and Construction 35 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023
COMING UP THE DRIVE AND SEEING THE DEVELOPMENT OPEN OUT HAS A REAL IMPACT AND I’M DELIGHTED WITH WHAT WE’VE ACHIEVED.

INDUSTRY PROFILE:

BUILDING SERVICES ENGINEER

ANDREW FREEMAN

Senior technical manager at AFM, Andrew Freeman, is a chartered building services engineer – helping to make Guernsey’s buildings both inhabitable and enjoyable. He shared his path to job satisfaction.

Despite childhood dreams of following in his father’s footsteps to become an inventor, Andrew Freeman’s first job after his mechanical engineering degree made him quickly realise that research and development roles were not where his heart lay.

“My first role as a research engineer just didn’t seem very fulfilling. You generally expect many things to fail before something works, whereas I’m much keener on getting things to work well from the start. But as part of that role I had to build a high pressured test rig and I thoroughly enjoyed that process side of the job.”

His eyes opened to the type of work he might want to do, building services engineering quickly topped the list of potential careers. Andrew returned to university at Brunel for a one-year master’s degree on the subject before settling in London for work.

“I started with a large design consultancy just before the credit crunch in 2008, so it was a strange time to move into the construction industry. I was involved in a lot of major projects in the Middle East – everything from skyscrapers to plans for botanical gardens in the desert. It was a great way of learning on the job, and I certainly benefited from the more experienced members of the team.”

Guernsey Property and Construction 36 INTERVIEW
I WAS ALSO EXCITED ABOUT WORKING IN THE INDUSTRY SOMEWHERE THAT YOU COULD BE ON SITE THROUGHOUT THE PROJECT AND BE REALLY INVOLVED IN THE BUILD

But with most projects he was working on based overseas, and some simply concepts, Andrew wanted to get more hands-on with his role.

“I’d had a good grounding in the industry by that stage and I was really keen to see something I designed actually get built. It therefore made sense to move to a practice which was more focused on UK projects so I could get some useful experience on site.”

That job resulted in some of the most memorable projects Andrew has been involved with, including Royal Mail’s iconic Mount Pleasant site in Clerkenwell, cited as one of the largest sorting offices in the world.

“I was lead engineer on the project to refurbish the existing historic building, and it was absolutely fascinating. I learned a lot about the logistics of a sorting office, such as the path a recorded delivery item takes to its separate sorting hall through a series of airlocks. The building also had an underground rail line and all kinds of infrastructure, and it’s certainly one which has stayed with me.”

Andrew’s next project was phase one of the long-awaited development of Battersea Power Station, encompassing 800 apartments, retail spaces and a central energy centre to provide heating, cooling and power to the entire site. It was also Andrew’s first opportunity to apply BIM, overseeing the design and production of around 400 BIM models for the different apartment layouts.

But after a decade in the capital, it was time for a change. “My wife is from Guernsey and we had always had it in mind to move here to raise a family. I knew my experience was transferable to the local market. I was also excited about working in the industry somewhere I could be on site throughout the project and really involved in the build.”

That was six years ago, during a quieter spell for Guernsey’s construction industry but a boom time in Jersey. Andrew took a job as design manager, working on the International Finance Centre and the Premier Inn before returning to Guernsey for a role at AFM four years ago.

“I really enjoy my current role, working for the contracting side of AFM’s business, as it is so varied. I spend about half of my time doing pure design work; the other half is taken up with project management, procurement, and overseeing jobs that are on site. One of my favourite aspects is commissioning the

systems at the end of a project. Once they are installed we need to get them running and work out any problems, and that’s the most exciting part for me.”

The building services engineer may be one of the more low-profile roles to those outside of the industry, but it’s put into focus when Andrew describes his role as “everything about the building except the bricks and mortar.” Increasingly, that also means an emphasis on energy efficiency.

“Building standards are written to reduce carbon emissions, and everyone should be building as sustainably as possible. As Guernsey’s energy predominantly comes from French nuclear sources, our CO² emissions are negligible, but with costs on the rise, saving energy is a good thing on all levels.”

Andrew’s background means his specialisation is on the mechanical side of the role – mainly areas such as heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and public health.

“Different buildings do need different skill sets. A data centre, for example, would have very different requirements to a school. But in Guernsey you do need to know a bit of everything and have the confidence to apply that knowledge.”

For Andrew, while Guernsey may offer smaller projects than some of those in his past, there is still plenty of scope for interesting work, and every site provides its own challenges.

“I particularly enjoy the more complex and larger scale projects. AFM recently replaced two of the three large boilers at Beau Sejour. The logistics of getting those massive bits of metal out of the plant room without damaging the swimming pool pipes was fascinating.”

That project will leave Beau Sejour’s large community of users more comfortable, without any idea of the work that went into it. And for Andrew, that’s just fine.

“The satisfaction for me is in seeing the end product. We say in the industry, the best compliment is when nobody complains. I want people to come into the buildings I’ve been involved with and be comfortable without having to think about the time, skill and dedication that’s gone into the process. I suppose those who know me best would describe me as an unassuming character and that’s reflected in my line of work.”

BUILDING SERVICES ENGINEER

FACTFILE

THE JOB

A building services engineer designs systems that allow people to live and work in buildings comfortably and safely. They creatively apply scientific principles, with a focus on heating, cooling, ventilation, water, drainage, lighting, electrical power, fire detection and prevention, IT and security.

The role includes carrying out calculations or using software to design the various building services systems, creating drawings or digital models using CAD or BIM software and selecting equipment. They work collaboratively with other construction professionals such as architects, structural engineers and cost consultants, and work closely with end clients.

THE SKILLS

Knowledge of engineering science and technology is important at any level, along with good maths skills and an understanding of building and construction.

Attention to detail is key, as is the ability to think analytically about a situation and apply knowledge.

Dealing with others on a project means that excellent verbal communication skills are important, as well as teamwork and the ability to use initiative when necessary.

THE QUALIFICATIONS

Andrew completed a master’s in building service engineering following his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. He is also a chartered building services engineer, which requires several years’ experience in industry accompanied by written and verbal assessments and ongoing CPD.

Alternative routes to an undergraduate degree accredited by the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineering (CIBSE) include T levels in building services engineering or design, surveying and planning, or a company training scheme involving distance learning.

Guernsey Property and Construction 37 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023

THE GUERNSEY PROPERTY AND CONSTRUCTION AWARDS 2023

A new organiser for the Guernsey Property and Construction Awards says they will return this autumn.

The 2021 awards took place at a sold-out gala evening in March 2022, but with the founders then stepping back to concentrate on other commitments, the future of the awards had looked uncertain.

However, event organiser Karen Solway has now taken over the awards and is looking for sponsorship and support. Once that is in place, the full categories and nomination procedure will be made available, so that the achievements of those in the industry can be recognised.

DIARY DATE

This year’s black tie gala dinner is due to be held on Friday, 22 September at St Pierre Park, with tables already filling up for the event.

The awards will be presented by their sponsors to the winners in front of an audience of their industry peers.

Along with the presentation, guests will enjoy a three-course meal and plenty of entertainment throughout the evening.

WANT TO GET INVOLVED?

To ensure the event goes ahead, the organisers are still looking for more sponsorship, and there are a number of opportunities available to local firms.

Keep an eye out on the awards’ social media channels for more information to be released later this year. ORGANISED

To find out more or register your interest in the awards contact Karen Solway on 07911 741097, email on ttdgsy@cwgsy.net

AND ARRANGED
www.guernseyconstructionawards.com

The Island Development Plan Review

Chris Crew, senior planning consultant at Collas Crill, considers the dilemma facing Guernsey’s Development & Planning Authority (DPA) as it seeks to deliver updated policies to boost housing delivery and support economic growth.

The DPA launched a review of the Island Development Plan (IDP) on 23 January 2023, with the aim that it be completed before the current political term ends in June 2025.

The review has a particular focus on housing land supply and delivery as this is a category 1 action in the Government Work Plan, and the most pressing domestic issue to tackle.

The review will also cover employment land supply, an update to Area of Biodiversity Importance designations, and other minor clarifications.

A parallel review of the planning law, ordinances and regulations is also planned, with the aim of identifying opportunities to streamline future IDP preparation and reviews.

Guernsey’s planning system

Guernsey’s planning system requires decisions to be made in accordance with the IDP, with limited scope for departure from adopted policies.

The IDP’s principal aim is: ‘To ensure land use policies are in place that are consistent with the Strategic Land Use Plan and which help to maintain and create a socially inclusive, healthy and economically strong island, while balancing these objectives with the protection and enhancement of Guernsey’s built and natural environment and the need to use land wisely.’

The dilemma facing the DPA

Deputy Victoria Oliver, president of the DPA, has previously expressed her frustration over the ‘tightrope’ the DPA has to walk when balancing competing policy objectives and the often strongly-held views of those affected by development proposals; something that will be familiar to decision-makers in many jurisdictions.

Large-scale and strategically important developments are invariably contentious, as recent proposals for new schools, residential development at Pointues Rocques, and key-worker housing at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital illustrate.

But these types of developments are exactly what is needed, ‘…to maintain and create a socially inclusive, healthy and economically strong island’.

This presents the DPA with a dilemma; how to balance often competing socio-economic and environmental factors, and how best to engage with stakeholders in a way that inspires confidence in the system and actually delivers the investment and development that the island desperately needs.

Risks of a piecemeal review

The IDP review will focus on specific policies required to meet strategic priorities, rather than developing an entirely new framework. This is understandable, given the time and resources that a wholesale review would demand and the likely need for the States of Guernsey to revisit its Strategic Land Use Plan ahead of that.

The risk, however, is that a piecemeal review may not break down existing barriers to the delivery of new housing and other important economic investment, nor make the DPA’s tightrope any easier to walk.

Given the urgent need to tackle the housing crisis and support economic recovery, failure to convince stakeholders that a revised IDP will be fit for purpose could leave the DPA – and Guernsey – no better off than it is today.

For these reasons, and despite the review’s tight timeframe, the DPA must instigate meaningful stakeholder engagement and consultation at the earliest opportunity.

Guernsey Property and Construction 39 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023
FAILURE TO CONVINCE STAKEHOLDERS THAT A REVISED IDP WILL BE FIT FOR PURPOSE COULD LEAVE THE DPA – AND GUERNSEY – NO BETTER OFF THAN IT IS TODAY.

Putting fire safety first

Steve Wilkes, director at Fire Defence Services Limited, set up his firm shortly after the Grenfell Tower catastrophe. With his 25 years of experience with the Guernsey Fire and Rescue Service and a genuine passion for the industry he says it’s vital everyone takes the fire safety message seriously.

Ever since the tragic events at Grenfell Tower back in 2017, ‘fire’ has become a popular topic with many discussions, debates, inquiries, and even new laws coming into effect in the UK and beyond. Fire Defence Services Ltd offers bespoke fire management and consultancy to both commercial and domestic partners and I am a fervent advocate for fire education here in Guernsey.

From my continued discussions locally and from the evidence I have seen in many commercial buildings I’ve visited throughout my 30-year career, it is clear there is still a large knowledge gap in this area. For me, education is the best way to try to close it.

A single electrical fault in a refrigerator at Grenfell resulted in a rapid spread of fire throughout the building, which further highlighted the obvious need for effective fire protection within commercial buildings carried out by qualified individuals.

The two primary categories of fire protection in commercial buildings are active and passive fire protection. Active fire protection refers to the systems designed to detect and extinguish fires actively, most notably fire sprinklers, fire alarms, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

Passive fire protection is an approach that focuses on limiting the spread of fire and smoke, therefore minimising fire damage. It is an essential part of any building’s fire strategy and is required by building codes and regulations. Landlords, property managers and tenants in Guernsey all have a legal duty to ensure their buildings meet the minimum requirements for safe evacuation during a fire situation. By investing in passive fire protection, these groups can help ensure the safety and security of their properties and occupants.

Passive fire surveys are a detailed assessment of the passive fire protection measures in the building such as fire doors, fire dampers and fire rated walls & floors. These surveys must be carried out by a qualified and competent consultant who will inspect the building to ensure that all passive fire protection measures are installed correctly and meet relevant fire safety standards. The aim of this survey is to identify any gaps in the fire protection measures and to recommend any required remedial works. Landlords, property managers and tenants should all have an up-to-date passive fire survey to ensure best practice and legal compliance.

Remedial fire protection works should be carried out by qualified individuals from suitably insured (for both design and installation) and FIRAS certified businesses. FIRAS certification is important because it provides third-party verification that a company’s fire protection installations and systems have been installed to meet a recognised standard of competency and quality. You can check the FIRAS register for a list of certified companies.

Regular maintenance on all elements of the fire protection measures is a requirement, even when the survey identifies no immediate gaps in protection.

In conclusion, having a passive fire survey carried out by a qualified passive fire consultant checking fire doors, fire dampers, fire rated walls and floors, is essential for all landlords, property managers and tenants. Remedial works should be carried out by a FIRAS certified business. Regular maintenance of all passive fire protection is a requirement to make sure the fire evacuation strategy of a building will perform, as designed, in the event of a fire.

Guernsey Property and Construction 40 COMMENT
A SINGLE ELECTRICAL FAULT IN A REFRIGERATOR AT GRENFELL RESULTED IN A RAPID SPREAD OF FIRE THROUGHOUT THE BUILDING, WHICH FURTHER HIGHLIGHTED THE OBVIOUS NEED FOR EFFECTIVE FIRE PROTECTION
THE CHANNEL ISLAND’S ONLY FIRAS CERTIFIED BUSINESS FOR FIRE STOPPING AND CAVITY BARRIERS 01481 230955 FDS.GG
Third Party Certifcation For All Your Passive Fire Protection Remedial Works
Seek

Having a say on housing

Chair of the Guernsey Construction Forum, John Bampkin, is asking the difficult questions about how the island will meet its housing needs.

The committee recently had a presentation regarding the Island Development Plan (IDP) review, which takes place every five years. Centred on housing, this is clearly a topical conversation so the presentation was very welcome and informative. The committee was very engaged, and it turned into an excellent interactive meeting with lots of questions in both directions.

The main concern was the news that, in essence, the island has built 200 too few houses every year for the last nine years. My basic maths skills tell me that’s 1,800 houses short compared to the plan we set ourselves at the start. Fast forward to 2023 and we have a plan that is stating we need 313 houses per year to fill the net migration for the next 5-10 years. A figure that obviously worries many, but listening to the amount of people who are struggling to find accommodation or to be able to afford what they currently have it seems like it is sorely needed.

The question is therefore … why has there been such a shortfall?

When you investigate the details of the IDP review we can see that the GP11 scheme that encourages affordable housing to be build on any development of 20 dwellings or more has not actually provided any new houses. Some still argue this has not been a failure, but if it’s produced zero affordable houses then for me it has failed from its original design.

The second question is … why has GP11 not produced a single affordable dwelling since December 2016 when the supplementary plan came into play?

The next part of the review highlighted there have been few developments on sites that have been designated as geographically suitable. In fact, there has been many more smaller sites where new houses have been built outside of the designated “urban areas”.

My third question is … why and how has this happened?

These questions were asked during the presentation but there have been no commitments on the answers or even the theories surrounding the situation. The GCF has therefore committed to assisting the States with finding real answers to these very important question. Only then can we avoid the same shortfalls to our future plans.

We will be talking to developers to see why GP11 hasn’t been used and what can be done to encourage its use and why we are not building in the earmarked geographical areas.

I’ve spoken previously about the finite resource called land on our precious islands and therefore our plans have to be 100% right. They need to consider all the angles and they need to assist us in our population management and infrastructure development. They have to be coordinated, effective and achievable. These are really difficult challenges to overcome and we must continue to look ahead much further.

I believe the IDP is not really a plan at all, it’s more a set of goals and a framework that we must work within. You could argue that’s what a plan is, but for me it doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t talk about WHY we should do what’s in the plan and WHAT it will achieve if we follow it. It mentions a housing quantity target but what types of houses do we need, what size, for whom, what will these people do and how will this contribute to the future generations of inhabitants? What about sustaining our environment and way of life? I could go on…

There are far more questions than answers but, as I have said before – the answers are there, but we have to get creative and develop our foresight even further.

Guernsey Property and Construction 42 COMMENT
MY BASIC MATHS SKILLS TELL ME THAT’S 1,800 HOUSES SHORT COMPARED TO THE PLAN WE SET OURSELVES AT THE START.

Building trust

Council member Lindsey Hart outlines some of the reasons why the Guernsey Building Trades Employers Association would encourage others in the industry to join them.

In this era of media manipulation, fake news and internet fraud, ‘credibility’ and ‘accountability’ are two very important words. No matter what sector we work in, you cannot build your business without ‘trust’. We need to be trusted as employers as well as service providers.

The GBTEA was set up in 1918 and has been looking after the interests of local building firms ever since. Those who have signed up have been proud to display the GBTEA logo on their paperwork, vans and now on their websites.

The GBTEA logo shows that members have passed a vetting process which ensures they are reputable and are expected to maintain the highest professional standards of work and service. This trust factor is exactly what clients want to see before deciding on which company to employ to undertake their projects.

As a member, your details will be on the membership list on the GBTEA website as well as our Twitter and Facebook accounts and any promotional material we produce. As people want a reputable builder many will look online first to see who is approved. This can prove to be a very cost-effective way to advertise and spread the word about how credible and accountable you are for the work you do.

Other benefits of membership include the contract information you will be able to access. These include the GBTEA Conditions of Employment Contract and Employment Procedures. These have been updated to reflect the Prevention of Discrimination Ordinance, which will come into effect later this year. Employment disputes and defending your firm at tribunals can be a time-consuming and costly business as well as being damaging to your reputation. Being able to access the right contracts at GBTEA and getting the best advice will help protect your company.

Knowing what to pay employees can be a challenge. We can share the recommended minimum pay rates and basic pay levels, which are determined annually by a general meeting. This will give transparency and clarity to your discussions when hiring staff. We also have regular meetings with the States on issues concerning the construction industry and represent our members when speaking to the media. We can raise the profile of the problems our members are facing and present our views in a consistent and professional manner.

You may have particular issues or areas of concern you would like to comment on. We encourage our members to become actively involved in debate and make a contribution at our general meetings. This helps us influence States decisions and public opinion that affects our industry and your ability to deliver on your promises to clients.

We have also been a key player in the States apprenticeship scheme which helps provide the new tradesmen that are the future of our industry. We influence their pay structure as well as hosting an annual awards dinner and take a stand at the annual Careers Fair, providing advice to youngsters thinking of pursuing a career in one of the many different construction trades.

Part of our commitment to managing our industry’s reputation is to offer members a discount on the Passport to Safety. Based upon a workbook and PC multi-choice exam, this allows workers to demonstrate an understanding of building site hazards and local Health & Safety legislation and best practice. It is now a minimum requirement on several States contracts and by several of our larger local contractors.

Guernsey Property and Construction 43 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023
THE GBTEA LOGO SHOWS THAT MEMBERS HAVE PASSED A VETTING PROCESS WHICH ENSURES THEY ARE REPUTABLE AND ARE EXPECTED TO MAINTAIN THE HIGHEST PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS OF WORK AND SERVICE.
Download an application form at www.gbtea.gg or contact us at gbtea@cwgsy.net

Can Guernsey transition to locally sourced timber frame construction?

Chartered architect Oliver Brock of the Guernsey Society of Architects considers whether home-grown timber could be a long-term solution.

The key principles of sustainable construction include the sourcing of building materials as close to point of use as possible, reducing embodied carbon intrinsic to high-energy transportation, particularly shipping and road transport. Our ancestors understood this, and most of our pre-war buildings are constructed using locally sourced materials, including stone, aggregates and timber.

We live in a globalised economy and the ongoing war in Ukraine reminds us of the fragility of international supply chains. The cost of living has risen for many because of shortages of key materials and restricted supply chains, linked to the international tensions. More than ever, it is the author’s view that we should be looking within our own shores to secure reliable sources for key materials.

One fundamental building material we could consider sourcing locally is timber. We have very little woodland on the island though, so how could this be possible?

With a long-term view, it is actually very possible, as will now be demonstrated.

Sweden, a large user of timber for construction (one of the highest per capita in the world) uses 5.73 million m³ of timber products per year. Sweden has a population of approximately 10.4 million persons. Sweden’s timber consumption is in the region of 0.55 m³ per person per annum. Applied pro-rata to Guernsey’s population, it suggests that Guernsey might consume in the region of 35,000 m³ of timber products per year.

Assuming that timber demand comes from a number of species, but is predominantly softwood, we can take a quick growing but mid-quality species like larch to understand what that requirement represents in harvesting terms. Each tree will typically yield around

1.4 m³ of timber after 40 years’ growth. To achieve a consistent 35,000 m³ per year, we would need to plant trees at a rate of 25,000 per year. That alone would require 21 hectares of land for planting to be available each year, so for a rolling annual supply of timber we would need to have 40 times that amount of land, 833 hectares in total.

Guernsey has approximately 2,500 hectares of agricultural land, around 60% of which is actively farmed for commercial purposes. The remainder is either redundant, or is used for leisure purposes. Retaining, or even growing, the currently active stock of agricultural land requires 1,500+ hectares. Rather coincidentally, the figure of available (subject to the owners’ agreement of course) agricultural land is just short of 1,000 hectares, above the figure needed for a sustainable timber forestry on-island.

Economically, purchasing the required amount of land today would require an investment in the region of £85m. There would be no or only limited return over 40 years, as the by-products of thinning to maintain healthy stock may not even cover the costs of operations, but once the annual harvest begins, the output at today’s prices would raise in the region of £32.5m per year, less cost of processing.

Appreciating this is taking an exceptionally long-term view, it demonstrates that Guernsey could consider moving towards a predominantly timber based building model similar to Scandinavian countries, and in future provide adequate quantities of home grown material to maintain and even exceed present levels of building activity.

Guernsey Property and Construction 44 COMMENT
THE COST OF LIVING HAS RISEN FOR MANY BECAUSE OF SHORTAGES OF KEY MATERIALS AND RESTRICTED SUPPLY CHAINS, LINKED TO THE INTERNATIONAL TENSIONS. MORE THAN EVER, IT IS THE AUTHOR’S VIEW THAT WE SHOULD BE LOOKING WITHIN OUR OWN SHORES TO SECURE RELIABLE SOURCES FOR KEY MATERIALS.

The future of Frossard House?

In the ongoing project from the States of Guernsey Property Services to streamline their portfolio, Frossard House is frequently in the spotlight. It’s faced criticism that its large carpark is wasted space in the centre of Town. Making better use of it was the premise behind the new “vision” of local architectural firm PF+A.

When Deputies Peter Roffey and Lindsey de Sausmarez raised the potential for the site to be used for housing last year, PF+A was keen to get involved. The firm offered to prepare concept designs for discussions with States Property Services.

This “vision” is the result – going further than the immediate carpark site that was originally under consideration and looking at the opportunities for wider enhancement such as an interchange to encourage the use of sustainable transport, safe walking routes into town, and hospital and town shuttles.

While the original focus was on housing, the scheme considers community facilities, green space, retail and amenity, with residential development to include apartments for key workers, affordable housing and private ownership.

The aesthetic is driven by sustainable thinking and a circular economy, a modular design due to the ability for offsite production and considering the ability to dismantle and reuse materials at end of life. The form of the building is also driven by the natural surroundings and topography with an open atrium enabling views through the building and light to penetrate the core.

PF+A believe that overall the project would act as regeneration to the area providing opportunities for enhancement, connectivity and housing.

While the “vision” will no doubt stay just that for now, the ideas open up wider conversations about how the island uses land, how people want to live, and what our priorities are when it comes to residential development.

Guernsey Property and Construction 45 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023
PF+A BELIEVE THAT OVERALL THE PROJECT WOULD ACT AS REGENERATION TO THE AREA PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ENHANCEMENT, CONNECTIVITY AND HOUSING.

We need a project. Now what?

Designing appropriate frameworks for a project is critical to its success. It is crucial for the business and delivery team to understand exactly what success looks like and, equally, where the threshold for project failure sits.

The temptation is to plough ahead and immediately start the project on multiple levels, rather than spend time examining and answering questions such as:

• What are the benefits of this project?

• What are the milestones over the project lifecycle?

• Does our resourcing allow for delivery in line with our proposed timeline?

The questions to consider are numerous, but failure to answer them satisfactorily at a preliminary stage may leave your project at risk: essential data will not be available to or understood by those concerned, which includes stakeholders and the delivery team alike. Lack of preparation is especially thorny because, even if a project end goal is agreed on, there may be disagreement over the method of approach and the sequence of milestones that must be achieved along the way.

The greatest risk, put simply, is misunderstanding: expect to see continual new baselining of the project as it is reinvented to fit the varying viewpoints of stakeholders, leading ultimately to project delay or even failure, without adequate preparation.

It is therefore imperative to spend time at the start of a project to explore and onboard the project in a consistent manner, and to benchmark it through an agreed business approach. This approach will ultimately save you time, money, and consequently allow you to deliver a fuller scope without being forced to jettison requirements in the face of encroaching deadlines.

How, then, can you better improve the governance of a project and start it moving in the right direction from the start?

First, you should consider your project plans. Even if these plans, e.g. communication or risks and issues, may lack detail at this stage, they will provide a starting point for future granularity. Second, you will need a list of the project deliverables and the derived benefits of those deliverables: this will let you create a milestones plan to achieve the project end goals. Third, you should determine a resource plan – both internal and external – which details how the milestones will be achieved, and how other considerations such as planned absences will be navigated.

Fourth, your resource framework should then be supported by a communication plan, which will of course differ based on the audience and your separate plan for risks, issues, and dependencies. This resource framework, as with all frameworks, will regularly need to be reviewed and updated over the project lifecycle, so project administration will be a key factor in your resourcing. You will need all of these frameworks to support your project governance, which will normally be audited either internally or externally, and to satisfy any review processes from regulating bodies. Having fit-for-purpose project software and templates will help you achieve these requirements.

At an early stage you will also need to consider segmenting the workstreams and your workstream leads.

Spending several weeks to structure your project before it starts will lead to better, quicker, and more cost-effective outcomes. So, stop next time you have a new project and ensure the planning is in place before everyone starts running in different directions.

Guernsey Property and Construction 46 COMMENT
Scott Crittell, a chartered fellow of the Association for Project Management, explains how taking the time to properly plan a project will set you up for success.
THE QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER ARE NUMEROUS, BUT FAILURE TO ANSWER THEM SATISFACTORILY AT A PRELIMINARY STAGE MAY LEAVE YOUR PROJECT AT RISK.

Future planning

Caroline Gumble, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), sets out its priorities for the next five years.

CIOB started 2023 with the launch of our new five-year corporate plan. To me as CEO, this is more than a document – it is the roadmap for the journey CIOB will take over the next five years, leading the way in making positive change for the creators of our built environment.

Many members will be aware of how much thought and consideration went into this, as we consulted extensively in the process to develop the new plan. It was important to me that members had input as, in many ways, they will bring this document to life.

It is clear there is an appetite to help elevate the construction industry and find ways to support it in being the foundation – sometimes literally, also figuratively – for society and for communities around the world.

It is also clear that as the home for built environment professionals, CIOB must continue to support members in making that happen. This is entirely in keeping with who we are as an organisation and our public interest remit.

This plan continues our commitment to those public interest ideals, while at the same time bringing some focus to our ambitions. It has at its heart an examination of what modern professionalism means. I believe the professional approach – setting standards, understanding ethics, offering leadership –unlocks the potential of individuals, teams and maybe even the whole industry.

It’s those with the greatest professional approach who are often also the innovators, those who champion diversity and who deliver quality in everything they do.

It is my ambition that this plan drives delivery on what we all want from this important industry: high standards of quality and safety,

improvements in sustainability, and closing the skills gap. Those are the headlines in the plan and will remain our areas of focus.

Environmental sustainability

The industry must operate in a way that ensures damaging environmental impacts are minimal and that we contribute to a sustainable future. CIOB will, among other things, equip members with the knowledge and skills to manage and deliver the construction process in environmentally sustainable ways. We will also help to embed environmental sustainability into relevant learning programmes.

Quality and safety

Good quality buildings and infrastructure promote health and wellbeing and deliver social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits. The safety of the built environment should be so fundamental it can be taken for granted - but in recent years we have seen this is not always the case. CIOB will drive a culture change in the industry to ensure quality and building safety are never sacrificed for profit.

Skills gap

Our industry needs to ensure the built environment is fit for a changing society and a growing population. Most worldwide construction markets report a labour and skills shortage. The lack of a representative workforce in the sector significantly reduces the available talent pool. CIOB will help the industry bring in people from a diverse range of backgrounds, by helping to improve the perception - and reality - of working in the construction industry, championing diversity, inclusion and worker welfare.

For those who may not have seen the new plan yet, I invite you to visit the CIOB website or look on our social media for links.

Guernsey Property and Construction 47 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023
IT IS MY AMBITION THAT THIS PLAN DRIVES DELIVERY ON WHAT WE ALL WANT FROM THIS IMPORTANT INDUSTRY: HIGH STANDARDS OF QUALITY AND SAFETY, IMPROVEMENTS IN SUSTAINABILITY, AND CLOSING THE SKILLS GAP.

Safety & Health in the workplace – a Guernsey conference

Andrew Mills, chair of the Guernsey Occupational Safety and Health Association, says attending this year’s conference could open eyes to the importance of taking the necessary precautions.

Safety and health in the workplace has supporters and detractors. Some people see its value and some simply don’t.

People frequently cite reasons for not “doing” health and safety as cost, time and lack of value. It’s sometimes seen as a distracting hassle and something which holds up valuable work.

But the consequences of not taking sensible precautions to protect people and property can be severe including fines, hold-ups, not getting the job finished, court appearances, and damaged reputations. That’s a long list which will significantly outweigh the costs of “doing” health and safety well. And “doing” health and safety is the law in Guernsey.

Being sufficiently informed is all most people need, to appreciate the value that “doing” health and safety well can bring to a business, charity or other organisation in Guernsey. The number of workplace injuries reported to the Guernsey HSE has fallen significantly since GOSHA began in 2004. But there are still far too many.

GOSHA has always tried to promote good practices because we know the value they bring to businesses and others in Guernsey. Therefore, on 25 April we are arranging a conference, open to all, to promote good practices. We have chosen a wide range of subjects such as mental health in the workplace, fire safety, the hazards of asbestos, working in confined spaces and others, as you will see on our website www.gosha.org.gg

Our keynote speaker is Jason Anker, who was a UK construction site worker until a terrible accident left him permanently severely injured and disabled. If you have trouble appreciating the value of “doing” health and safety, come along and hear Jason’s story about the consequences of his simple but horrendous

accident and the negative, long-term effects on him, his life, his family and all those who know him. His story is truly moving and will stay in your mind. If you have doubts as to whether taking sensible precautions are worth it, listen to Jason’s words of warning, his hopes and what he has learned from a tragic incident which arose from his efforts to feed and support his family.

And, of course, there are dangers in every workplace, whether offices (remembering the cleaner who was killed when she touched a frayed wire on a poorly sited photocopier), manufacturers, contractors, fishing at sea, driving for work (taxis, lorries etc), printers, retailers – we have so many different trades in Guernsey, all with the capacity to kill or seriously injure people.

Our conference will help you to be better informed, which will help you to have a happier, healthier workplace and enhance your reputation. It is an all-day event between 8am and 4.15pm at the Performing Arts Centre. Ticket prices include buffet lunch and teas and coffees. Our key sponsor is Ronez, who has been a great example of how to make a dangerous working environment relatively safe for staff and visitors, simply by taking sensible precautions, understanding the risks and being proactive in the management of the workplace.

Our other sponsors, BTS and Copcoy, both help you to have a safer, healthier working environment. And such environments tend to be much more pleasant to work in than they might otherwise be, promoting good teamwork, efficiency and a happy workforce.

Please make time to come along on 25 April. You’ll be glad you did. You can book your ticket at www.fws.gg/gosha

Guernsey Property and Construction 48 COMMENT
IF YOU HAVE DOUBTS AS TO WHETHER TAKING SENSIBLE PRECAUTIONS ARE WORTH IT, LISTEN TO JASON’S WORDS OF WARNING, HIS HOPES AND WHAT HE HAS LEARNED FROM A TRAGIC INCIDENT WHICH AROSE FROM HIS EFFORTS TO FEED AND SUPPORT HIS FAMILY.

Educating the next generation

Mark Baudains of the BTS Storage Centre considers the importance of raising awareness of the career opportunities available within the warehousing and distribution sector to those who could be its future.

Despite recent events globally (let’s not go back to 2020!), and a tougher economic climate for us all to become accustomed to, it’s not been all bad news locally. Where challenges exist, opportunities appear.

Construction is booming with more development on the horizon in both the commercial and residential sectors.

This has in turn led to an increase in the demand for storage and distribution facilities, with some companies looking to buy in bulk to help them stay on top of the ever-fluctuating world of supply and demand.

With this, however, comes the need for them to build skilled teams to work within these oftendangerous environments. This is necessary to help everything run smoothly from goods in, intralogistics through to goods out.

Finding candidates with the required level of training, experience or expertise is certainly easier said than done on an island of this size. But as we all know, this is not a new issue and has been often discussed over various points in time.

What is becoming crystal clear is that not enough has been done over the years to ensure that there is the infrastructure in place for the next generation of warehouse and distribution operatives to be well equipped to enter into these dangerous environments with the required skills or knowledge base to be able to support and contribute to a progressive attitude towards better safety standards.

Recent careers events held locally have been poorly supported, which has only served to highlight this issue further. Although I am aware there is an obvious cost to a business in the way of time and money required to be able to educate and improve an individual navigating through the early stages of their working life, it is one that I think we should fully embrace.

We have a wealth of untapped potential on the island that simply needs to know that other

career paths exist, away from the well-trodden routes into other trades, and that it’s not just within the warehouse itself that these alternative roles are available.

There is huge potential for any business to improve the profitability of their company by developing an individual’s skill sets to fully understand the systems and procedures in place that the business relies on each day.

Traditional and costly enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) programmes often used to manage invoicing, POS, inventory, projects, internal auditing and customer communications are becoming less attractive due to their standalone nature and are being left behind. In their place are new scalable and agile alternatives that provide businesses with an all-in-one solution, which encourages collaborative working, improves workflows, and increases a company’s productivity.

Those with the foresight could make some major improvements to not only their cost base but also process efficiencies, by listening to the new and fresh ideas that the next generation naturally bring with them and moving away from what they have always done.

The exciting part from an employer’s aspect is that you can tailor the training to the individual if required. Meaning that you can create your own bespoke workforce with the expertise where it matters to you most.

Local choices for training are strong. From apprenticeships at the Guernsey Institute to independent health and safety courses, there are even some local companies that will provide onsite training on their specialist subject. The onus then is on us as local businesses to better engage with the schools and colleges to promote the other exciting opportunities, and sometimes unique career paths, that await them within this vital local sector.

Guernsey Property and Construction 49 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023
WE HAVE A WEALTH OF UNTAPPED POTENTIAL ON THE ISLAND THAT SIMPLY NEEDS TO KNOW THAT OTHER CAREER PATHS EXIST,

Under review

Senior associate Rachel Jones of Carey Olsen’s Guernsey property team considers the background and potential impact of the current IDP review.

Background

The DPA has issued the following timeline:

2023

• Research and evidence gathering

• Drafting IDP amendments

2024

• Draft plan published

• Initial representations by public

• Further representations by public

• Public Inquiry hearings (by an independent planning inspector)

• Inspector’s report received

• Draft policy letter

2025

• States debate (if material amendments are sought, this will re-open the public inquiry)

• Implementation and monitoring of the amended IDP

Guernsey’s Island Development Plan (IDP) contains the policies that must be taken into account by the Development and Planning Authority (DPA) when making decisions on planning applications. It was adopted by the States in November 2016.

The IDP is valid for 10 years (unless extended) and the States are required by law to keep it under review. The DPA was about to embark on a review in 2020 but this was put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Last year, the States approved an action to carry out a targeted review of the IDP between 2023 and 2025.

The review

The review commenced on 25 January 2023, and it focuses on amending certain policies to meet government priorities. The review focuses on the parts of the IDP concerning housing land supply, housing delivery and employment land supply and will look at any required amendments to the text of the IDP and the proposals map (including boundaries). The review will also look at Areas of Biodiversity Importance and any required minor clarifications/amendments.

Housing

The review of housing land supply and housing delivery is likely to involve a review of site allocations, density of development, amenity standards/public amenity, mix and type of dwellings required, boundaries (main and local centres) and the level of development taking place outside of the centres in relation to the spatial policy.

The public consultation and research and evidence gathering phase of the review is likely to include a ‘Call for Sites’ where the public can put forward for consideration any land which they consider would be available and suitable for development.

The much-debated affordable housing policy (GP11) will also be considered as part of the review, which will undoubtedly attract much attention since it is evident that the policy has not achieved its intended purpose.

Employment

An employment land supply report will be produced and will examine the policies and site allocations in relation to offices, industry and storage and distribution. It will look at existing premises for these sectors and will outline current and future business needs in terms of land and property. It will also identify an appropriate portfolio of sites potentially to meet demand.

Areas of Biodiversity Importance

The review of Areas of Biodiversity Importance (ABIs) will focus on updating the designations rather than reviewing the policy and the updates will be informed by surveys/assessments that have been carried out over the past few years.

Minor amendments

The review offers an opportunity to make minor amendments and clarifications to the IDP, which have been identified since it was adopted (for example, correcting typos).

Planning Law review

As is evident from the DPA timeline, the planning laws require a lengthy and expensive procedure to be followed in order to make any amendment to the IDP. To speed up the process in the future and to allow the IDP to be more responsive to government priorities, alongside the IDP review, the DPA will also review the planning laws to identify options to streamline the process.

It is important to make representations on the IDP review at the appropriate time and to include all relevant information.

Guernsey
and Construction 50
Property
COMMENT

Could vacant offices help solve Guernsey’s lack of housing?

Tony Rowbotham, head of office at Savills Guernsey, argues that repurposing office accommodation could be a helpful solution for housing.

Guernsey’s office market competes on a global scale and over the last two decades the sector has invested heavily in ensuring it offers modern, highly specified and best in class quality space.

During this time the island has constructed over 500,000 sq ft of new office accommodation, with the recent Comprop developments at Admiral Park proving that occupier interest for a quality product continues. The impact of this is a move away by occupiers from older office accommodation, which often does not present well, is of low specification and has challenges meeting modern needs around ESG and mobility.

However, over the last decade, the number of individuals employed in the finance sector has reduced by some 12%.

The result is that we have an increasing level of office stock, some good and some not so good, combined with relatively static, if not falling, demand in terms of headcount, something that has been expedited by hybrid working.

This is not to say that all of the offices which occupiers relocate from fall into the “no longer fit for purpose” category, but the issue is simply there is not enough occupational demand for all of them. Some of these offices can and are being refurbished and brought back into use, finding new occupiers. But many are not.

In contrast to the office sector, the residential market in Guernsey is significantly undersupplied for both sale and rent, particularly at the more affordable end of the market. Demand is considerable, both from the private sector and from within States departments.

Looking for solutions, there is an obvious opportunity to convert some of this surplus

office space into residential. Our sister island, Jersey, has adopted a fairly simple philosophy. If the private sector wants to repurpose offices, particularly in the north part of St Helier, then the States of Jersey allows it. This has not only increased residential supply but has also had a welcome knock-on effect on the retail, hospitality, health and leisure sectors.

However, in Guernsey the Island Development Plan 2016 (IDP) contains a number of policies seeking to preserve the office stock. For an office building to meet the change of use criteria, it must provide an unsatisfactory standard of accommodation that cannot easily be refurbished to meet modern needs and can be proven to have been actively and appropriately marketed unsuccessfully for 12 consecutive months. Alternatively, it needs to be less than 250 sq. m.

The wording is important and means that if an office has been refurbished to meet modern needs, has been marketed for at least 12 months yet has not let, it still won’t qualify for a change of use. But nothing in the IDP addresses current occupational demand.

By allowing the real estate sector in Guernsey to adapt its assets in line with current demand levels, be that offices to residential or even vacant retail into residential, we would be able to respond more quickly to changes in the property cycle.

It is surely more efficient for these empty buildings to be reused and help to alleviate the shortage of residential stock on the island, rather than remain vacant.

The solution is relatively simple, but in order to happen, our policies need to be agile enough to reflect the changing market conditions. As an island we need to look forward and do away with outdated protectionist policies that create a barrier to growth and progression.

Guernsey Property and Construction 51 ISSUE 13 SPRING/SUMMER 2023
IT IS SURELY MORE EFFICIENT FOR THESE EMPTY BUILDINGS TO BE REUSED AND HELP TO ALLEVIATE THE SHORTAGE OF RESIDENTIAL STOCK ON THE ISLAND, RATHER THAN REMAIN VACANT.

CLAMEUR DE HARO

While most of Guernsey’s legal system has been modernised, the odd quirk from the island’s Norman law heritage remains. Of those, none capture the public imagination quite as much as the ‘Clameur de Haro’, so here’s the rundown of what it is and what it actually involves.

The Clameur is a form of immediate legal injunction, which can be used when someone’s possession of land is disturbed or interfered with. While rarely used, it is still a fully enforceable law in both Guernsey and Jersey.

Generally described as a ‘cry for justice’, it involves an aggrieved party (the ‘criant’), the alleged wrongdoer, and two witnesses.

In front of the witnesses the criant drops to their knees, clasps their hands and, in the presence of two witnesses, declares the Clameur. Once the Clameur has been raised, the wrongdoer must stop what they’re doing until the matter is addressed by the Royal Court.

There are limited circumstances in which it is applicable, and it can only be raised in respect of land and buildings that the complainant has been in possession of for more than a year and a day; where there is an identifiable unlawful act that is the subject of the claim; and where it is made in good faith.

Once the Clameur has been raised, the criant must appear before the Bailiff within 24 hours to swear an affidavit and produce their witnesses. If satisfied the procedure was correctly followed, the Bailiff will consider the substance of the claim. At that

stage, if the reason for invoking the Clameur is believed to be lawful, an order will be made to register the Clameur at the Greffe.

If they get it wrong, the complainant runs the risk of an order for costs. But anyone in that situation should think themselves lucky they haven’t been given the traditional penalty – spending a night imprisoned in Castle Cornet.

If that all seems a bit complicated, the more commonplace remedy these days is to seek an injunction through the Royal Court.

DOES IT WORK?

Yes and no. The Clameur de Haro is a fully enforceable law, so once raised work must stop on any affected site. Historically there are certainly cases where landowners have used the cry and successfully protected their land from harm.

SAY IT OUT LOUD

For anyone looking to raise the Clameur de Haro, it is crucial to get the words right.

“Haro! Haro! Haro! A l’aide mon Prince, on me fait tort”

Translation: “Haro! Haro! Haro! Help me, my Prince, I am being wronged”

After the cry, both the Lord’s prayer and a Grace must be recited by the complainant in French.

In modern times, there have been few examples of it being properly raised – and even fewer where it has been successful. But with the media keen on a good Haro headline, what it does do is raise awareness of whatever the issue is.

Guernsey Property and Construction 52  FEATURE
HARO! HARO! HARO! A L’AIDE MON PRINCE, ON ME FAIT TORT”

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LOCAL KNOWLEDGE, GLOBAL REACH

Where do I go for my Commercial property advice?

Savills Guernsey – Situated in state of the art offices in the heart of St Peter Port, Savills offers the full spectrum of Commercial real estate services and is the only Channel Island agency with a fully global reach. Our Commercial team of 15 has expert local knowledge and when needed can offer advice from colleagues in our local and open market Residential teams.

Tony Rowbotham +44 (0) 1481 810 303 tony.rowbotham@savills.com

savills.gg

Terry Gardiner +44 (0) 1481 810 308 terry.gardiner@savills.com

Our services include:

• Commercial agency

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