Customer of the Month: Graham Land & Developments Ltd

It’s been a little while since we introduced you to one of our customers here at The Business Centre (Cardiff), so we’re kicking the series off a bang and we’re delighted to introduce you to our Customer of the Month: Graham Land & Developments Ltd!  

Graham Land & Developments Ltd (GLD) is part of an umbrella group, Graham Care Ltd, who run and operate several care homes in the south east of England. GLD works with their team of architects in all aspects of planning and building new care homes for the group.

Read on for more below about GLD, and if you see Nick around the centre, make sure to say hello! 

Introducing Graham Land & Developments 

GLD and Graham Care Ltd are both owned by Mr. Ernie Graham and Dr. Karen Graham, with both company names deriving from the group owners. 

Graham Land & Developments is the development arm of Graham Care Ltd, who work to plan and build new care homes. This work includes land finding, assessment and feasibility studies of the proposed new site, gaining planning approval for the new schemes, signing off planning conditions, detailed design development, production of specifications, tending and negotiating with main contractors, contract management with appointed contractors, project management of the new build construction projects and then handover of the new projects to the Graham Care Group to then operate.

They’re currently at the start of a planned 5 year, £100m development programme to build out 7Nr. Sites that they have planning approvals on, with new sites being constantly assessed to see if they would also be suitable for development for the operator.

In addition, they also assist Graham Care with all their planned and reactive maintenance as well as refurbishment and renovation projects within their 7Nr. existing operational care homes. This includes monitoring of compliance checks, annual servicing and maintenance etc.

As they are part of a larger group, they work almost exclusively for the interests of the Graham Care Group in building their care home portfolio. However, from time-to-time they offer the same services to other independent care home operators, or local governments, looking to develop their own new build care homes in other areas of the country.

The benefits for the group are that GLD works as their in-house development team. As such the group reduces costs in fees associated with Planning Advisors, Contracts Managers, Employers Agents and Project Managers and can be more flexible and reactive at assessing new opportunities.

Although GLD has been established for over 13 years, building and developing new care homes for the Graham Care Group, they have traditionally employed Planning Advisors, Contracts Managers, Employers’ Agents and Project Managers from independent consultancies. In March 2021, GLD took the step of bringing all of this work in-house with the employment of Nick Bull, Senior Development Manager, and an assistant Project Manager, Edward Jenner. So, as of today, GLD employs two people, with possibly more on the horizon! The Graham Care Group employs approximately 400 people across all of their homes.

The Graham Care Group are based in Surrey and all their existing and new build homes are in the South East of England, as this is where the group owners live. 

Why The Business Centre (Cardiff)?

Before moving to The Business Centre (Cardiff), Nick was working for a consultancy practice, working from home for six months during lockdown restrictions before returning to the office. However, in March 2021, he began working for GLD directly, so was looking for an office space. 

Nick has a young family and with GLD taking on an Assistant Project Manager, he was no longer able to work from home. At first, he struggled to find an office space that would only accommodate two people. However, he then found The Business Centre (Cardiff) which offers flexible spaces that will allow GLD to grow the team efficiently when the time comes to expand. One of the big challenges of working from home is being able to effectively separate work life from home life. The Business Centre offers a business orientated environment to be able to focus on work effectively when here and have healthy boundaries between work and home.

The Business Centre (Cardiff) takes care of all the normal office requirements and administration that Nick would have benefited from when being employed and based at “head offices” (car parking, great internet, office cleaning, reception and administration staff, on site food facilities etc.) for a reasonable cost which allows them to concentrate on their work!

Meet Nick – Senior Development Manager at Graham Land Developments 

Nick has only been with us a few months but is already settling in at The Business Centre (Cardiff)! We chatted with him over a coffee and a bit of cake at Mel’s Café!

Tell us a bit about yourself, is this what you always wanted to do? 

I started off working for a main contractor in Cardiff on an apprenticeship after A-Levels to become a qualified Quantity Surveyor. I worked there for 10 years undertaking new build and refurbishment projects on domestic, commercial and healthcare and then moved to work for other contractors doing the same over in Bristol for a few years. 

I was always involved in Care Homes and gaining experience in this sector. I then had an opportunity to work for a consultancy back in Cardiff working in Construction Management, which coupled both the construction and project management aspects of building care homes for the Graham Care Group as well as multiple other care homes, private hospitals and private specialist needs school operators. I stayed there for 5 years before coming to join GLD direct and establish their new development team!

When I finished my A-Levels, I didn’t think I would go into construction, but the apprenticeship was a good opportunity to earn and learn before I decided what I actually wanted to do. 

The younger Nick wanted to be a train driver!

How do you relax outside of work?

On a weekday, I just take a walk around outside to get away from the desk for a few minutes in the day, plus it’s good for your wellbeing!

On weekends, I like to play cards with family and friends. You can’t beat spending some time enjoying Whitmore beach with the family and to keep my daughters entertained! Since moving to Barry three years ago, I’ve been kept busy with house DIY work or working in the garden. I’ve also been putting my hand to making my own cider the last two years as well, with pretty good results so far!

What do you love about your job and what do you love less?

I’ve always liked being able to mix my time between being in an office and out on live construction sites where the action is happening. I also enjoy being able to take projects from land acquisition all the way through to handover of a building and then helping to maintain it for the operator. Having this involvement from start to finish can be quite rewarding.

Do you have any advice for someone just starting out? 

I think you have to back yourself in whatever you’ve decided to do. What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll have to find another job but at least you’ve tried and gained a lot of experience from it. 

I think you should always be challenged to some degree in your job. If you can do your job without having at least a small percentage of the role that takes you out of your comfort zone, then you can probably push yourself in a new job to help you grow.

It gets to a stage when you can’t do everything yourself. I used to think that asking for help was a sign of weakness, but you’d be surprised at how much time most people are willing to give you if you just ask.

What does the future look like for you?

Overseeing the next five years planned development pipeline as a minimum. The group is always looking at new sites though, so hopefully this might be longer if I do a good enough job for them!

We’re sure you’ll join us in offering a very warm welcome to Nick and Graham Land & Developments to The Business Centre (Cardiff)! 

Are you looking for a serviced office with everything taken care of just like GLD? At The Business Centre (Cardiff), we are located just 10 minutes from Cardiff Bay, Dinas Powys and Penarth. Our modern facility comes fully equipped with a range of amenities including super speedy broadband, breakout areas, a friendly reception team and free access to our modern gym. Plus, the best cafe in Barry, Mel’s Cafe, is onsite! 
Whether you’re a freelancer looking for co-working spaces in Barry or a business looking for serviced offices with everything included, our packages can be perfectly tailored to suit your needs. Why not get in touch with our team to find out how our business packages could support you?

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