Group Managing Director
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Group Managing Director
Going into homebuilding was never really a conscious decision. As part of a homebuilding family I wandered round the David Wilson Homes head office from when I was old enough to walk. I started work with David Wilson Homes as a graduate trainee, moving round the country doing every job in the industry, construction, management, surveying, buying. I learned a lot from some really inspirational people. I was MD at the East Midlands office before taking up a group development role.
I started Davidsons from my home office and began to build a team of experienced professionals from some of the well known names in the homebuilding sector. The business was founded on the basis of a passion to build great homes and to constantly improve. Our difference is about real attention to detail in everything we do. For instance, we produce many, many versions of a development layout until we are happy that it will be a great place to live. As Group Managing Director I make sure the business is heading where we want it to be – I spend a lot of my time developing land relationships and overseeing development designs.
It’s important to me that we continue to be faithful to our guiding principles and that we leave a long term legacy. It’s a tremendous feeling to be able to drive away from a development feeling proud of what you are leaving behind. This is a family business with a number of family members, and my father David, with his considerable experience, has been a powerful, positive influence in his role as Chairman. It’s a unique heritage, one you won’t find anywhere else.
When I started out I was aiming to become a draughtsman. I joined a management scheme for David Wilson Homes, looking to join the drawing office, went on site and loved it. I eventually became a site manager, then a construction director and then a divisional MD before joining Davidsons when it was set up.
As Operations Director I’m responsible for the day to day running of the business, making sure we are doing things in the right way and achieving our targets. Homebuilding has become increasingly important to the economy. There is a shortage of new homes and this provides opportunities for us to grow. From the start we’ve aimed to do things differently. We pay attention to detail on layout, design and specification to make the homes more desirable. We have a like minded team, positive, committed and open to new ideas. Every day is different. Every home is different. Customer satisfaction is really important, and we work hard to get it right.
We have been rated as a 5 star builder in the HBF/NHBC customer satisfaction survey, the highest rating. I still love going on site, it’s exciting to see our homes growing from nothing, and to be able to influence that in a positive way. It’s also really rewarding to find that in a very short space of time we are starting to establish a great reputation for the homes we build and for the way we do things. At one of our first developments in Leicestershire a home has been re-sold and the ad in local press said ‘built by Davidsons’. I think that says it all.
I started as a part time sales advisor, working for a homebuilder in Coventry. At the time I had recently bought a new home and thought I could use that experience to help me return to a career after having children. It’s grown from there. I’ve worked for a number of different homebuilders and now head up the sales operation at Davidsons.
We aim to put the customer first, to help them get the home they want. We make sure the sales teams on developments are well trained and comfortable with what they are selling. I encourage them to say yes to customer’s requests as far as possible. My advice to them is to treat all customers as if it was your mum or aunt who was buying the home. I think we also have a responsibility to build good homes for the future – to create homes with character. Homes that people really want to live in.
We are traditional about how we want our homes to look but part of my role is to constantly evaluate the internal specification so that it reflects the needs of modern lifestyles. We are always looking to introduce the latest developments, and because we are smaller we can make it happen fast. I get enormous satisfaction from this job, it’s a great team and I love dealing with the public. And like any sales person it’s great when we make a sale, that moment when someone has decided that they want their new home to be built by Davidsons.
I always wanted to be an architect. But for me it’s always been about domestic houses, about designing something where you can touch people and how they live. Architecture is important to a local area. The house belongs to the street. The street belongs to the place. The place makes the locality.
The philosophy at the heart of Davidsons is about that place making, creating somewhere safe, somewhere comfortable. Where we can, we aim to create a village feel, perhaps with the traditional village green. And as in traditional villages, you’ll find a mixture of styles. Victorian, Edwardian, cottages, will all sit alongside each other and that’s great because it creates variety and interest. We also try to introduce a number of key buildings into a development that give it character. But every development is different and it’s important to recognise that and reflect the local area.
I like to think that we are painting a beautiful picture, but in bricks and mortar. The inside of the home is equally important. We believe that the kitchen is the hub of a home, harking back to old fashioned values, like the farmhouse kitchen with its big table where the family would gather. We are constantly looking at the way people live their lives to understand their needs. Looking to provide multi-functional spaces, private spaces, places where families can get together, but also do their own thing. Places where people can relax and truly feel at home.
I started my land buying career at David Wilson Homes eventually heading up land buying for the East Midlands office, before joining Davidsons. My role is to identify, evaluate and acquire land in the East and South Midlands that is suitable for home building. Because we are privately funded it means we can be more entrepreneurial and explore a wider range of opportunities. Having identified something appropriate it’s very much a team effort, involving sales, technical, commercial and design departments in carrying out an evaluation.
Everyone has the same attitude here. We want to do it well. We want to build homes that are right for the location, and we want to be proud of what we build. We want to be able to look back at that them too, to know they will stand the test of time. The emphasis in planning has changed. Consultation with local people and parish councils is far greater. It’s a much more collaborative approach, which is good because we want to leave a strong legacy in an area. I love agreeing the deal. When you have found a site, carried out all the assessments and appraisals and you know this will be really good for everyone involved then it’s great to seal it, knowing the next stage will be really exciting. I think we are starting to create heritage for Davidsons. We are building on what the Wilson family have achieved over many years, doing things in the same way, with design and quality at the heart of what we do.
Strategic Land Director
I started my homebuilding career in finance, but moved into land buying fairly early on, when an interesting opportunity opened up. I progressed to become Land Director at David Wilson Homes in Nottingham, before joining Davidsons just after they were set up. In a short space of time we have started to develop a great reputation for the way we do things, which helps me when I talk to landowners and agents.
My role is to enable the company to grow by acquiring suitable sites within good locations and for the right price. It’s really a team effort – we need to ensure that we plot and build homes that will allow us to sell homes that we can be proud of. The aim is to maximise value for everyone. For the homeowner that’s about well designed homes and well planned developments. Maximising things like living, garden and garage space. The landowner will always be looking for the best value, and this comes from good design that will sell well.
I get great satisfaction with what I do and it comes in three stages. Firstly, when all the negotiations are over and you get an offer accepted. Secondly, when the contract is agreed and you know it’s for real. And finally, when the homes start being built. I love getting out on site to see those first homes coming out of the ground and it’s fantastic to be working for a company that puts so much thought into everything. We are building some great homes and well planned developments, and that will speak for itself over time.
Strategic Land and Planning Manager
I trained as a town planner whilst working in local government before moving into homebuilding. I’ve worked in homebuilding for over fifteen years ’ the last three and a half at Davidsons. My role is to develop land interests through the planning system. I co-ordinate and submit planning applications and then negotiate these throughout the planning process.
We aim to deliver high quality, sustainable development whilst making efficient use of land. The way we do things helps me enormously. There are always a number of competing applications, but being able to show how we have built elsewhere, with examples of our home design at developments such as Melbourne in Derbyshire, enable us to stand out.
As a company we are concerned with the local community and how a development will form part of an area. We engage with local communities and local authorities early on to understand the needs of an area before we draw up plans. The planning process can be complex and challenging so when planning permission is granted it’s very rewarding – it’s great after many months of work when it all comes together. For me, the other strength of Davidsons is that there is a lot of experience here, largely drawn from previous working with the Wilson family. But it’s delivered by a small, flexible, responsive team – a close knit team of professionals aiming to build great homes. We’re proud of what we are building today and determined to leave a legacy for tomorrow.
I’ve been working in homebuilding for the last 17 years. Having worked for a large homebuilder previously, it’s very exciting to be part of Davidsons, where, as a smaller company, there’s the opportunity to do something different, where the focus is on good design and customer choice.
My role is to ensure all our resources are used efficiently and effectively and that our obligations to everyone we deal with are met. My aim is to be fair to everyone – fair to our customers, fair to our suppliers, fair to our sub-contractors. If someone does a job for us I expect them to be paid on time, when they need it. We are providing jobs for a lot of people and it’s important that we do it with integrity.
I love homebuilding, every day is different, it’s a constantly changing environment. I get my biggest buzz from buying a new site and seeing the first homes come up. I visit all the new developments as soon as I can, because I’m always keen to see the environment we have created, to see where people are going to live. Our focus is on families and their lifestyle. Things like family rooms and breakfast kitchens, proper living areas where kids can sit on the sofa, chat to mum and do their homework are really important – and as a mum I take a real interest in the homes we build. I’m an accountant, but the nice thing about this business is that my opinion as a home owner also counts.
Commercial Property Consultant
I have always had an interest in buildings and how they function. I decided that a career which combined that interest with elements of law and finance was for me.
I qualified as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor and was Commercial Director for Wilson Bowden before becoming Davidsons Commercial Property Consultant. My role is to develop and deliver a wide range of commercial projects. That might be offices, a new hospital building – as we did in East Northamptonshire, workshops, in fact just about anything commercial.
As a developer we aim to buy good locations, produce the best and most efficient designs for the buildings and deliver a great finished product. We design and build them as if they are going to be our own working spaces, and think about what they will need to be in 10 years time. Many people spend as much time at work as they do at home so we believe it’s important to make commercial buildings ‘a home from home’.
It’s very much a team effort and I enjoy managing projects, working with a range of consultants, specialists and contractors. I get my greatest satisfaction at handover time when I look at what we’ve achieved. To take an area of waste ground or a redundant building and create something useful that will be around for many years to come is very rewarding. Everything we build has an impact on the community, on the people that use the buildings and on future generations, so we’re proud of the heritage we are creating.
Group Finance Director
I’ve always been interested in buildings and construction, and have been involved in the sector all of my professional life, including roles with Wilson Bowden Developments and David Wilson Homes. My role at Davidsons gives me overall responsibility for finance, insurance and IT. This includes ensuring there are sound systems and controls in place as well as managing external relationships with third party funders and professionals. An important part of the role is establishing and delivering the strategic direction of the Davidsons Group, working with the management team, group board and shareholders.
I’m looking forward to making a real difference to the growth of the Group as we expand. I was delighted to be approached about the role – the opportunity to work with the Wilson family again was a huge pull for me. There is fantastic heritage here – the Wilson DNA is clear to see in how the business is run, and in the quality of the homes. I really enjoy my role – I like the variety that comes with it.
My dad told me some years ago that companies never make any big decisions without having a Finance Director sitting around the table – which turns out to be true! This means that I need to have an understanding on a wide range of issues and have clear opinions on how this affects Davidsons. It never ceases to excite me to see a development at the start of its life and then watch it grow over time to become the finished homes and community. The company is on an exciting journey and I’m delighted to be part of a strong team that is delivering results. Davidsons sets itself apart from main stream builders and you can see the difference in all of the homes and developments we build.
My experience in the homebuilding sector is considerable. I’ve worked for a number of national homebuilders in technical and commercial roles, and before joining Davidsons I was Technical Director at David Wilson’s South Midlands divisional office. My role is to help develop the Strategic Land portfolio by providing technical oversight and planning support. This involves assessing many different factors in order to technically and commercially evaluate all land opportunities. These will typically include geo-technical and environmental conditions, existing and proposed services, foundation solutions, adoptable mains drainage and highways designs, as well as topography, ecology, archaeology, acoustics and arboriculture, to name but a few.
The role plays an important part in helping the business grow successfully, and profitably, and ensures we make the best use of every piece of land we consider suitable for our homes. I joined Davidsons Developments because I liked the traditional but innovative designs, the quality appearance and feel of the homes, along with their interesting and well planned development layouts. Their overall approach was refreshing and demonstrated a real interest and pride in what they did. I love what I do, and enjoy being part of a committed team, right from the earliest point in the life of a project.
As a close-knit team, we have broad experience from many different but related backgrounds. Everyone has the same ultimate aim – to do an excellent job, building places and homes that people will really enjoy. We are continuing to create a strong reputation for Davidsons, and the achievements of the Wilson family over the years are at the core of the company. There is a great culture here, and the traditional family feel permeates everything we do.
I started off in housebuilding as a surveyor. I then had the opportunity to become a trainee site manager for the South Midlands division of David Wilson Homes. I progressed to site manager at just 21 and built the first Edwardian style homes for David Wilson. I’ve worked for a few other well-known developers since then, latterly as Construction Director for the Midland division of Morris Homes. It feels like a homecoming joining Davidsons, with a number of the former Wilson team, and importantly the ethos, here. An ethos which is about building a quality product, creating great looking street scenes and delivering excellent customer service.
My role is overall responsibility for the construction and development process, from initial site set up all the way through to after sales customer care. That’s what I love – having the opportunity to shape things – to control and direct the whole process. I want to build great homes and developments that people will enjoy living in – to create strong local communities. I’ve been a site manager and a contracts manager so I understand the roles that make up the team and am keen to work with everyone to get things right.
We want to continue to build individual homes with real character, to do it differently to everyone else through our attention to detail. This is the Wilson family way of doing things and it frames everything we do here at Davidsons. We have an excellent team and are growing fast. For me an important part of the future will be to communicate this way of working, this strong culture, to new members of the construction team, to make sure we continue to build great developments.