Fit out, UK
In the fast-paced and precise world of fit-out, Nick is clear that success comes from dedication and client engagement. From graduate to an operations director position, Nick’s career at Mace has seen him deliver some of the most challenging fit-out projects, take the business into new markets and develop a roll call of repeat clients.
- How did you get into fit-out?
Property development had always interested me but with so many avenues to take I decided on a real estate degree to cover a bit of everything. I found property markets, investment and real estate economics interesting but it was the construction and architecture modules that got me thinking about my future career.
My first step into work for a small fit out contractor confirmed I was on the right path but I wanted more structured development and felt that a graduate scheme might be a better way forward. In 2008 I was offered a place on the Mace graduate scheme as a fit-out construction manager which was clearly a good move given that I’m still here.
- Why Mace?
When I was looking at grad schemes Mace jumped out because of its reputation for employing the best. What better way to start a career than by being surrounded by the best in the business. In fact, the people I worked with in the first few years are now at the top of the company. Mace was clearly forward-thinking and innovative. I got a sense very quickly that I could make a difference and my opinion would count.
- How has your career progressed?
I’ve been fortunate with the opportunities I’ve been given. At Mace, if you have ambition and drive you’ll be supported to carve out the career that you want. I joined in 2008 and since then have fairly consistently been awarded more responsibility and new roles. I learnt a lot as a construction manager, project manager, and from the roles in between. Since 2017 I’ve been a contracts manager and I very much hope it won't stop there.
- Why fit-out?
Life in fit-out is fast and varied. We typically deliver our projects in 12 to 40 weeks. Because of the quick turn-around, there’s always something new to get your teeth into and I’m constantly working on new opportunities. We work in a competitive market but there’s plenty of work to win in London. It never slows down. If it did, I’d be worried.
- What are you most proud of?
When I think about the scale, complexity and speed of some of the projects that I’ve helped to deliver I’m not sure I could choose one. I think it’s more about the relationships I have with clients. Delivering over and above, playing a major role in challenging the designs and being agile to changes is what leads to those long-lasting relationships. There's no better accolade than repeat business.
- What makes a fit out project successful?
Two things. The relationship with the client; it has to be open and collaborative. And, obviously, the quality of the team. Working in fit-out is extremely fast but quality is king - it can’t slip. You need a committed, energetic team to make it work. They need to really care and understand that the journey of the delivery, as well as the end result, is a big deal for the client.
- What do you do when you’re not at work?
Going to my family home in Bath is great – just getting out of London to relax. Watching Chelsea (that’s slightly less relaxing) and seeing the world – the more places I can visit the better.
“You need a committed, energetic team to make it work. They need to really care and understand that the journey of the delivery, as well as the end result, is a big deal for the client.”