HCP Consultancy Interview – Gavin Barden

Hi Gavin, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed virtually. And congratulations in passing probation and being part of the HCP Consultancy SAM team.

To begin, can you tell us about your career to get to this point?

I’d always been in construction or FM and spent 20 years of my career working on MOD estates maintaining high profile UK business critical systems. I was a Maintenance Manager and Team Leader of a team delivering projects and planned maintenance.   I only miss it a little bit, but It’s nice to be able to get on with my own work rather than managing everyone else’s!

Then I moved on to Rydon, where I looked after the South East Coast Ambulance Service, mobilising the contract to deliver services across the south east, from Ramsgate to Bognor Regis with a team of Engineers delivering FM Services. From there I moved onto a company called Beckford as a Contract Surveyor where we undertook high end residential refurbishment projects.

What are the main responsibilities in your role as Asset Manager?

I’m currently working on the London Housing Project as a six-month interim Baptism of Fire into the PFI arena! I’m looking at the Lifecycle works, what Rydon are charging, how they are doing the job and trying to get a more methodical view on how we review some of their works. I’m coming to completion on that piece.

I’m also looking at a defects across the estates because they’ve come to the end of the liability period. The defects are coming in from the Consultant’s Surveyors, they are going in for site surveys.  We then have to determine whether these were defects from the build or issues caused by maintenance.

What do you enjoy most in the job?

The surveying part of the role, being on site and diagnosing issues, and the people I work with.

How are you finding the relationships and connections you’re making with the team and the people you are working with during COVID19?

Relationships are being built, I’ve got good site relationships on the three sites and I’m working with Patrick Hamill who is extremely busy.

What’s your balance like in lockdown?

A challenge for several reasons, one being that there is no end to the day. I know we should be at the point of finishing at 5pm, but because the day is broken up into segments of running after children, I’m often trying to get work done into the evening to make up for lost time. I get to the end of these days and wonder what I’ve achieved! I have a tick list for every day, and it just gets longer! Also not having that option to ask a quick question, and not wanting to phone people every five minutes.

You get dragged into home life inevitably, but I try to keep productivity up, keep myself going.

I structure it, get up and sat down by 9am, have a break at around 10.30am, and then lunch at 12-1.00pm.  It is nice to be able to sit down with the family and have lunch, normally we are all in different places.

We’re not stressed by the virus itself, luckily, we don’t know anyone who has suffered from it. Our parents are safe, and family and friends, apart from one who is a nurse who has had symptoms, but has fully recovered and returned to work. We are just stuck at home, getting on with daily life apart from the daily exercise and shopping weekly. We’ve got plenty to do.

Have you had any mentors who have pushed you to progress in your career?

Early in my career I had a manager who pushed me through my degree, after that in an operational FM role there wasn’t a lot of time. I did my initial degree over five years and since then it’s been more of a ‘just get on with it’ approach!  Even when I did my NEBOSH G&C I was still operational so that was a busy time.

That is different at HCP. I’ve been used to being on call 24/7, 365. Whatever the problem was I would be called to make a decision on what needed to be done. Not having that anymore is quite nice.

Do you have any advice for new starters coming into HCP Consultancy?

Get your bearings. The FM background is completely different to what HCP do. Although you’re looking after assets, and FM Providers to some degree, you’re skimming across the surface in a consultancy role. I can find myself digging down further into the weeds.

Understand your limitations and boundaries. And get to know the team, understand where everyone is. Chiswell St has a few of us, but project teams are everywhere all around the country. You might be working on a housing project in London, but somewhere there might be someone working on something similar with a potential solution to your problem. I’m looking forward to a bit more networking around healthcare, housing and the other projects we look after.

Mark O’Shea (Gavin’s Manager) is talking about going to see different groups of people once I come back into the SAM team.

Tell us something we don’t know about you yet to finish?

I’m into cycling and the boys and I fly model aircraft as a hobby, we’re a bit geeky as a family! I enjoy gardening too, I’m never not busy.

Now we are making 3D masks for NHS Staff, we’ve got a 3D printer in the garage producing hundreds which we’re sending out for free.

Sounds fantastic, thank you Gavin, and best of luck with the mask project!

(Interview by Ellie Rowland-Callanan)

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