About us

Black Cat are an independent building consultancy formed in 2015 by three surveyors who wanted to create a firm which is open and transparent for its employees and delivers an excellent service to its clients.

As an experienced team we pride ourselves in presenting solutions with costs and timescales and not just problems.

  • Nationwide service

    We operate across the United Kingdom, from our offices in Manchester, Bristol and London

  • Best in class service

    All our staff are employed at Associate Director level and above, ensuring that we are able to provide best in class service to our clients.

  • Technical support & honest advice

    Our team of experienced individuals provide technically proficient and commercially focused advice and support our clients and we are not shy about providing an opinion.

  • Working together

    We work collaboratively with our clients and we pride ourselves on getting under the skin of your business so that we can tailor our advice to your specific requirement and facilitate the best outcomes.

Our teams

Manchester Team

Location

The Lightwell
61-63 Brown Street
Manchester
M2 2JG
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Telephone

0161 359 4312 0161 359 4312

manchester Team

Rebecca Ashworth

Finance Administrator

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manchester Team

Adam Austin

Director

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manchester Team

Alex Baldwin

Director

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manchester Team

Marek Baldwin

Director

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manchester Team

Ian Barnes

Operations & Marketing Director

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manchester Team

Stephen Barnes

Director

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manchester Team

Richard Bayley

Associate Director

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manchester Team

Chris Bright

Design Director

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manchester Team

Kevin Cramer

Director

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manchester Team

James Dyson

Director

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manchester Team

Ben Golby

Director

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manchester Team

James Green

Design Assistant

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manchester Team

Beth Hall

Finance Administrator

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manchester Team

Brett Lea

Director

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manchester Team

Eric Larmett

Director

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manchester Team

Penny Martin

Marketing Assistant

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manchester Team

Amie McGagh

Director

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manchester Team

Emer O’Brien

Team Administrator

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manchester Team

Stefan Oehl

Director

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manchester Team

Peter Rigby

Director

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manchester Team

Eric Roberts

Director

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manchester Team

Nicole Rosebury

Finance Administrator

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manchester Team

Danny Speakman

Quantity Surveyor

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manchester Team

Ash Vipat

Associate Director

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Our teams

Bristol Team

Location

St Brandon's House
27-29 Great George Street
Bristol
BS1 5QT
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Telephone

0117 926 9923 0117 926 9923

bristol Team

Oliver Elms

Associate Director

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bristol Team

Oliver Folkes

Director

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bristol Team

Lisa Fone

Director

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bristol Team

Dan Hyde

Director

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bristol Team

Matt Garwood

Director

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Our teams

London Team

Location

Saxon House
48 Southwark Street
SE1 1UN
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Telephone

0161 359 4312 0161 359 4312

london Team

Diego Alves

Director

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london Team

Lucia Bravo

Director

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london Team

Gemma Dimmock

Team Administrator

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london Team

Stephen Flower

Director

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london Team

Jaime Kwan

Director

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london Team

Matt Nixon

Director

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london Team

Elizabeth Parrott

Director

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london Team

Tom Setchell

Director

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london Team

Peter Waxman

Director

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london Team

Simon Wilkinson

Director

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Rebecca Ashworth

Finance Administrator

Social

I am new to the Building Consultancy Industry having spent most of my professional career in Sales and Manufacturing. However, I am excited to have made the leap into a sector which interests me, and I intend to embrace the challenges that this brings.

I have always worked as part of a collaborative team environment and look forward to doing the same in my new role at Black Cat. I am eager to develop on my own skillset whist supporting our business clients in achieving their goals. Also, ensuring my colleagues have the support they need on a day-to-day basis to ensure maximum productivity which in turn will mean a positive customer service.

In my spare time I am a passionate equestrian and often compete in British Dressage competitions around the Northwest Region. My aim is to work up the levels with my two horses. With what little time I have left (if I'm not sleeping) I love to socialise with my friends and family and try my best to fit my very understanding partner in.

Adam Austin

Director

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Following graduation from University in 2008, I spent the first seven years of my Building Surveying career involved in project work on behalf of various clients in the education sector, during which time I became Chartered in 2013.  I joined Workman in 2015 as a Senior Building Surveyor and worked my way up to Senior Associate level before joining Black Cat in Spring 2022. 

At Workman, I worked in the industrial, office and retail sectors on behalf of institutional clients, predominantly project work including refurbishment schemes and new build construction.  In the last two years there, I undertook a Development Monitoring role of two new build residential schemes on behalf on an Investment fund.

When the opportunity arose to join Black Cat, I was excited to be a part of a growing firm with a modern and dynamic business model.  They have built a strong reputation in the industry for employing high calibre staff thereby providing an excellent service to clients.

Outside of work, I hung up my boots on a lifelong amateur football career when the first of my two children arrived in 2015.  Since then, I have taken up running and being a member of a local running club in Bolton, regularly participating in races from 5k to half marathon distance.  I still follow football, in particular the club I have supported all my life; Preston North End (although strangely I’ve still not managed to persuade my son to follow suit).

Alex Baldwin

Director

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During my decade long career, I was primarily employed at Workman LLP where I quickly worked my way up to the position of Senior Associate before joining Black Cat in the Spring 2018.

My career has found me working primarily within the industrial, office and retail sectors and my experience has seen me further develop my skills in all aspect of professional and project work for investment funds, private investors, landlords and occupiers.

The fresh and exciting approach to building surveying which Black Cat utilise is one which I relish the opportunity to learn.  The focus and attention to detail which I deliver on each piece of work for every client ensures that we meet all their requirements.

I have two young boys who are keen footballers so most of my time is spent carting them from one thing to another.  When I eventually get some actual downtime, I spend it with my family and do occasionally get to watch the best team in the land and all the world, Manchester City Football Club.

Marek Baldwin

Director

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Following graduation in 2010 I returned to Workman LLP in their Manchester office, where I’d spent my placement year. I built my career over the next 7 years progressing to Associate level, before joining Black Cat in 2017.

Although my focus has primarily been on the commercial property sector working on shopping centres and office buildings, I have experience in all aspects of professional and project work acting for a variety of investment funds and institutional clients. I’m focused and diligent in my work to ensure my clients get the level of service they require and that results are delivered.

In my spare time I’m a keen amateur golfer (emphasis on the amateur) and also a keen globetrotter with the aim to visit as many places in the world as possible.  Like most of the team, I am incredibly sociable and enjoy spending time with friends and family when I can.

Ian Barnes

Operations & Marketing Director

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During my career, I have been very lucky to have worked within and led some of the largest organisations and teams in the world such as JCB, CAT Finning, Trimble and Roland. Most recently heading up the SITECH business for CAT Finning and Trimble Heavy Construction and Civils and previously Global OEM Sales Manager for JCB.

Having a passion for Product, Service Delivery and Communications, I had the benefit of developing my career within the Plant Machinery & Heavy Construction space within which utilising my Product, Marketing and Business qualifications and experience to develop each business within their sectors to grow.

Working with the Black Cat team is a hugely exciting opportunity and one I relish to support the further growth of the business as they continue to build on the previous five years of business within the Building Surveying and similar sectors by delivering a service surpassing their peers.

I am an avid fan of Rugby and sports in general – also with a passion for partaking in Long Distance Triathlons and regularly compete at a high-ish level. Other than sports I spend time renovating my house - which is never ending.

Stephen Barnes

Director

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I am one of the founding Directors of Black Cat Building Consultancy and specialise in Due Diligence, Project Management and Dilapidations.

I have over 20 years’ experience operating within the industrial, manufacturing, office and retail sectors. I advise a range of investors, funds and occupiers with property interests regionally, nationally and occasionally I act within Europe.

I have held positions within DTZ, Savills and latterly CBRE and have a broad experience. I take the time to understand our clients’ business interests, performance requirements and their wider business strategy and then tailor our advice and reporting formats to suit their specific requirements.

The equestrian world is where I like to spend my spare time with my wife and daughters and although watching them jump obstacles is incredibly nerve-racking, to watch them compete and enjoy the sport is a very proud moment for me. As much as I enjoy the equestrian world, there is nothing like being on the open sea with just my family and we always look forward to where our next sailing holiday will take us.

Richard Bayley

Associate Director

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Originally from ‘Ull’ (Hull), I graduated for Hull College from Professional Construction studies.Since then, I have amassed over 16 years’ experience in design, architectural and building consultancy work. I have worked across all major sectors of the construction industry including Retail, Commercial, Education, Transport, Healthcare and Leisure which has seen me work alongside multiple clients based nationally, and more closely in the Northwest Region.

My career started at Comet Group PLC, based in Hull as a trainee CAD technician; involved the design of all their retail units ranging from new build retail parks, refurbishment, and rebranding of existing units. With stores located across the UK, I was well travelled with my work taking me all over the country.

Since leaving, I have relocated from Hull over to Liverpool with family and I began work in Manchester at AHR formerly known as Aedas, where I spent 14 years developing from a technician into a senior member of their Building Consultancy team, becoming responsible for delivering projects and managing a design team. My role found me involved in numerous construction sectors for increasingly larger clients, so I was able to increase my experience further.

Now joining the Black Cat team, I’m now looking forward to a fresh challenge working within a new team and with the experience I can provide, I hope to help Black Cat continue to provide the successful service they have been delivering to all its current and future clients.

Chris Bright

Design Director

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I started my design career over 35 years ago at an architectural firm.  I have since worked for developers, a design agency (Fitch) and Workman for the intervening years. 

My design work has seen me work within all the major sectors (retail, leisure, industrial, offices) and for some of the biggest brands out there with examples including Harley Davidson and Disney.  I have also been involved in most of the major shopping centres in the UK with the Bullring in Birmingham being a particular highlight.

During my career, I have kept my knowledge up to date with the latest design standards so the clients can feel confident that the service I provide meets all of their requirements.

I have quite a few daughter’s so my weekends are often filled with being a taxi driver and carting them from one place to another with help from my wife.  When I do get some downtime, I like to catch up on the latest cinema offerings or spend quality time with my family.  I am a keen motorcyclist and can often be found riding my bike to meetings, to the office or just for general enjoyment.

Kevin Cramer

Director

Social

I have over 30 years’ experience as a Chartered Building Surveyor working predominantly in the private commercial, industrial and retail sectors. Latterly, I have also been involved in a number of student and private rented sector projects.

During my career, I have gained particular experience in complex refurbishment projects, development monitoring, dilapidations, due diligence and providing general advice on property upkeep and maintenance.

I regularly represent investment funds, private investors, landlords and occupiers and provide strategic property advice tailored to suit their particular requirements. I always deliver on timescales and provide accurate, honest, best in class advice without compromise.

In my spare time I enjoy keeping fit and am a volunteer guide dogs boarder which involves me caring for trainee guide dogs at the weekends, which if truth be told, is not vastly dissimilar from caring for my children when they are home from university.  Football is another passion of mine and I like to spend as much time as possible in the Lake District fell walking with my family and friends. 

James Dyson

Director

Social

As one of the founding Directors of Black Cat, I pride myself on delivering on the values and principles of this business. I get to know our client’s businesses so that I can provide commercially focused advice based upon not just my technical knowledge but my understanding of their priorities. I am inquisitive and enthusiastic. I challenge everyone and everything, including our clients, to make sure they are getting the best solution.

I have previously held positions at Deloitte and CBRE where I have gained invaluable experience in delivering commercially focused property advice and services. I have a broad range of experience across Office, Industrial and Retail sectors. Whilst I specialise in Project Management and Contract Administration, I have experience of Neighbourly Matters, CDM Co-ordination, Dilapidations, Tenant Alterations, Project Monitoring and Technical Due Diligence surveys.

I was born and raised in Wigan which meant that I grew up with a pie in one hand and a rugby ball in the other. Unfortunately, my fondness for the former scuppered my chances of making a professional career in the latter. I now have a wife and two very demanding young daughters so in what little spare time I do have, I try to stay involved in rugby as much as I can and catch up with friends as often as possible.

Ben Golby

Director

Social

I have been a building surveyor for ten years and have previously held positions at DTZ and latterly CBRE. I undertake the full sphere of building surveying work with a specialism in technical due diligence and dilapidations.

I have purchased buildings for a range of institutional clients across all sectors including shopping centres, offices and industrial and have worked on some of the largest transactions in the UK and Europe.

I was born in Somerset and moved to Manchester in 2005 which is a fantastic city and a great logistical base to service the UK from, especially important when my clients own stock in Falmouth and Aberdeen. My claim to fame is having been a contestant on “Deal or No Deal”.  My evenings and weekends are often spent with either my wife and daughters or the other love of my life, Burnley Football Club where I am a proud season ticket holder.

James Green

Design Assistant

Social

Prior to finding a home at Black Cat, I worked primarily as a touring musician, but have thoroughly enjoyed venturing into the world of commercial property and building surveying!

My first two years at the company were spent as part of the admin team, performing a wide range of tasks to support the surveyors and helping to run the company’s social media platforms and recently re-vamped website. Over the last 9 months I have been taken under the wing of our design director, Chris Bright, and have been learning the ropes as a CAD Technician, undertaking measured surveys and attempting to soak up some of his 35 years of experience and knowledge.

As you can imagine, interests outside the business are largely performing and composing a wide variety of music, as well as taking a keen interest in culture and politics, and spending quality time with my wife, daughter, family and friends

Beth Hall

Finance Administrator

Social

I graduated Swansea University in 2015 with a BA in Classical Civilisation. After graduating I decided to train as a teacher where I successfully gained a PGCE in Primary Education. I later decided it was not a career path I wanted to continue pursuing but am fortunate for the skills that I gained and am able to bring forward into my current career.

Prior to joining to Black Cat, I spent 4 years as an administrative assistant at Russell WBHO, both in the main office and on site. This allowed me to gain a wider understanding of the industry and provided me with the relevant building knowledge and skills that I presently use to support our surveyors with their everyday work.

As well the admin side at Black Cat, I also work with the digital marketing side of the company, creating content, keeping our social media pages up to date and maintaining the company website. Presently, I am gaining a further qualification with the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

In my spare time I enjoy socialising with my friends and partner, dancing and watching live music. I try and keep as healthy as possible by regularly staying active, but equally, I am also fortunate enough to live in a city with a vast amount of amazing foods to try.

Brett Lea

Director

Social

I have over ten years Building Consultancy experience working with private and public sector clients in multiple sectors including industrial, office, retail, education, and multi-sector mixed portfolios. I have undertaken multiple instructions where Enhance Security Check clearance is required.

I started my career with Ridge and Partners before moving to Mapp in 2014, qualifying as a Chartered Building Surveyor in 2015. In 2016 I joined Lambert Smith Hampton progressing to Associate Director where I was responsible for managing several key local and national client accounts. My career has focused predominantly on project management, property portfolio strategy and dilapidations for both occupiers and landlords; however, I am experienced in all core building surveying services including technical due diligence, BRCA, planned maintenance.

I pride myself on client care and take a genuine interest in my client’s business and personal interests which enables me to provide advice tailored to their business strategy. Working within a dynamic and agile business like Black Cat is a refreshing opportunity to deliver bespoke advice that adds tangible benefits to our clients.

I like to spend most of my free time with my partner and young son, so you can mainly find me in soft play centres and swimming pools at the weekend. Aside from family duties my keen interests are rugby league, motorsport, motorcycles, and anything else to get adrenaline pumping!

Eric Larmett

Director

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I have over 40 years’ experience in the construction industry. A huge amount of time as a Building Control Surveyor, culminating in running the major projects group at Manchester City Council. I was responsible for a team of surveyors looking after: MEN Arena, City of Manchester Stadium (for the Commonwealth Games and following on the home of Manchester City FC), Bridgewater Hall (home of the Halle) along with major demolition and re-construction following the IRA bomb in 1996.

I was head hunted by Arup as a fire engineer, promoted and spent a lot of time with Network Rail on various infrastructure projects including Edinburgh Waverly station, and as a fire engineer produced the fire strategy for FC Shakhtar Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.

For the majority of my working life, I have been involved in Building Regulations and have a major focus on fire related matters. Post Arup I started my own practise as EFL Consulting and for over 10 years I have been advising clients around the UK on regulatory matters.

I also joined the Territorial Army, serving in the Royal Engineers and rose to the rank of Major. I served in many countries including Iceland, Namibia, USA, Canada, and Europe. Carrying out traditional Royal Engineer roles such as road and bridge construction, and explosive demolitions. 

I have worked with Black Cat on a good number of projects and admired the way they operate, the opportunity to join them and use my experience for the wider Black Cat team was too good to miss.

My personal time is spent on the family farm, keeping me active and outside in all weathers. I like working with wood and have designed and made dining room tables for friends. I have three Land Rovers the oldest being 1959 series II, and I do like maintaining them as runners.

With my wife and two children, we like walking, skiing, and sailing, when we find the time, although I am looking more to warmer sailing climates than UK.

Penny Martin

Marketing Assistant

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I recently have joined the Building Consultancy Industry, where prior to I have been teaching across Greater Manchester. Learning new skills is an adventure for me as I have become a jack of all trades in the sectors, I have worked in. I graduated from Bangor, North Wales in 2019 with a PGCE in Primary Education, and Bachelor’s in music. 

I have always been part of a team, whether that is in Education or Management, and I cannot wait to bring these core skills to Black Cat. Adapting my previous experiences to this new role is going to be an exciting time for me, as I thrive in a positive support system, that is evident in Black Cat already. 

When I am not working, I am behind a desk at home too, talking to my friends, playing video games, and having a laugh. I even used to be a cheerleader in Wales, but maybe I will just stick to the gym for the time being! 

Amie McGagh

Director

Social

I have over 17 years’ experience as a Chartered Building Surveyor working in both the private and public sectors, including commercial, industrial, retail, leisure, defence and education sectors.

I graduated from the University of Salford in 2002 and started my career at EC Harris (Arcadis) where I spent 12 years and became chartered in 2007. I then moved to Aedas (AHR) for 8 years, where I progressed to Regional Director during that time.

I have a wide range of experience encompassing both core building surveying and project management. During my career, I have focused on asset management and delivering new build, repair and refurbishment projects. I also have experience in managing condition surveys, dilapidations, pre-acquisition surveys, repairs and maintenance.

I regularly lead a multi-disciplinary team to deliver capital schemes to a successful conclusion, communicating closely with clients and advising on implementation strategies. I have represented a variety of clients including public authorities, trusts, private investors, developers, landlords and occupiers, providing tailored advice to suit their needs. I pride myself on going the extra mile, delivering on time and providing impartial trustworthy advice.

In my spare time, I enjoy days out with my family and taking my children to various activities such as dancing, swimming and horse riding. When I find the time, I enjoy socialising with friends and watching my local football team.

Emer O’Brien

Team Administrator

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Having moved from Dublin to London in 1994, my first foray into the property industry was via a MEP services consultancy firm in London, where I learned skills that have stood me in good stead over the years. Moving on to a chartered surveying firm after four years, I worked with the Valuation Department in the West End, working on valuation reports, monthly fund valuations and the like. During this time at Weatherall Green & Smith, I moved to Manchester, managing the newly set up office and working with all departments.

Having worked in various sized offices, in different departments over the years, I have learned to adapt to the changing circumstances, whilst gaining an understanding of the language specific to surveying.

I bring to Black Cat long-acquired knowledge and experience to everything I do to ensure what is produced is at its best. My can-do way of working means that I take on whatever is needed to be done and I enjoy getting stuck into mammoth tasks. I am always keen to learn new facets of Microsoft Office, of which there are a few!

In my spare time I enjoy reading, mainly crime fiction, and I am currently re-engaging with my love of photography. When I get the chance, I “enjoy” getting dragged up various hills or long walks. My baking skills are being improved on when the creative bug gets me! This is then tempered with going to the gym...you’ve got to burn it to earn it!

Stefan Oehl

Director

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I graduated in 1997 and have over 20 years’ experience working as a Chartered Building Surveyor, all of which has been spent in private practice covering the commercial, office and retail sectors.

Starting my career at DTZ Debenham Thorpe (now Cushman and Wakefield) I went on to spend time at King Sturge, PWP, Drivers Jonas, JLL, Gleeds and Propitas. In that time, I have obtained a wide range of experience covering project management, dilapidations and building surveys. My experience has been gained in all core building surveying services and I have acted on behalf of a wide range of investment funds, private individuals, government departments, landlords and occupiers.

Black Cat has an open and honest approach with a varied and exciting workload undertaken by a team of talented surveyors. The company has an excellent reputation and I look forward to enhancing my own knowledge and experience while helping to grow the business.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I am a keen cook, enjoy hacking around a golf course and going sailing when the opportunity presents itself.

Peter Rigby

Director

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I am Chartered Building Surveyor and have been in the industry since 2009.  I started my career at Deloitte Real Estate, latterly moving on to CBRE and specialising in Project and Programme Management.

During my career I have undertaken the full range of building surveying, contract administration and project management activities, including acquisition, condition and dilapidation surveys, office fit outs, new builds and dare I say it, special projects.

Whilst at CBRE I was outsourced into the Bank of America’s EMEA Real Estate team and was responsible for the delivery of some important real estate projects tied into their BREXIT strategy, including the relocation of their key trading hub in Frankfurt and the creation of their European Head Office in Dublin.

I have found that I naturally moved into Project Management as I particularly enjoy being involved in projects from inception and helping to shape the delivery plan to achieve the client’s strategic objectives.  I joined Black Cat in April 2021 to help grow their project management team and delivery capabilities.

Outside of work, I am the proud father of a little girl who keeps me busy.  When I’m not playing with dolls, I get myself out there: indoor bouldering; watching/playing sport; socialising; a spot of DIY; cooking up a storm etc.

Eric Roberts

Director

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I have over 40 years’ experience commencing in 1977 with the majority of that time spent at Partner/Director level, developing and managing building surveying services within the various permutations of Bernard Thorpe and DTZ which ultimately became Cushman and Wakefield.

I am active in all aspects of building surveying but take a particular interest in Project Management, Employers Agent, Due Diligence and Dilapidations. My client and sector lists are very broad and cover the full spectrum of the property industry including education and the public sector. The opportunity to work with the talented individuals in Black Cat was too good to miss, so retirement can wait a while!

My personal time is spent mostly gardening, taking walks in the countryside as a means to keep fit and spending time with my wife, children and family whenever I get the chance to see them.  In the most recent years, I have become a grandfather for the first time and spending time with her is truly one of my most favourite things to do as it is quite amusing to see what new fangled ideas have cropped up since my children were young.  Although it may seem that my personal time is quite a sedate life, have no fear because if I am allowed near a trampoline, go-kart or axe-throwing, I become a fiend and am at the front of the queue for my turn.

Nicole Rosebury

Finance Administrator

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My professional career began 4 years ago within a business which provided financial services to SME’s and the experience I received during this time has enabled me to fully understand the absolute importance of making sure we run smoothly as a company so that our clients receive the best possible service from us.

I ensure that my knowledge is constantly being tested and expanded upon so that I can provide our clients with the best service offering we can. By constantly learning new skills, I am able to make sure that clients of Black Cat are receiving the best client experience available and that their requirements are being met by our constant strive to deliver a best in class service.

I spend much of my downtime with my family, friends and partner socialising and enjoying life.  I am a keen equestrian and take part in dressage competitions throughout the country to further develop my riding skills.  Musical theatre, films and concerts are also particular interests of mine and are something which I try to attend at least once every month.

Danny Speakman

Quantity Surveyor

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Prior to my move to Black Cat, my entire career so far was spent at a well known and respected Manchester practice of quantity surveyors and loss adjusters, Tozer Gallagher LLP. I started as a Junior Surveyor in 1999 and worked my way up to Partner during an enjoyable 22 years. I’ve been working with and alongside Black Cat since the company was started in 2015.

My experience is wide ranging, acting as Quantity Surveyor and Employer’s Agent on industrial, commercial, retail, residential and educational projects providing sound and balanced cost, contractual and commercial advice and documentation to both private and public sector clients. As an additional skill set, I have over 13 years’ experience acting as a Loss Adjuster in the Surety market, acting for major blue chip guarantor bond providers, which has provided me with a unique and unrivalled perspective on construction projects, contracts and insolvency scenarios.

The opportunity to join Black Cat, which is an exciting, progressive and dynamic, client focused, business was too good to turn down and was a natural progression. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the founding Directors and wider Black Cat team, and I am incredibly excited to continue this “in house” as Black Cat’s first Quantity Surveyor!

When I am not working, I like to spend time with my family and friends and we like to go walking in the local countryside with our dog. A typical weekend will consist of ferrying our children to each of their football, cricket, gymnastics and horse-riding activities but we love watching them grow up and achieve their goals. I was a keen amateur cricketer but latterly my focus is teaching my son and daughter everything I know (or don’t know) about the game.

Ash Vipat

Associate Director

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I am a Façade Consultant and an Architect with over 8 years’ experience in building consultancy. My architectural experience includes international projects ranging from high rise residential developments to urban design schemes. In 2015, I moved to the Netherlands to pursue a master’s degree in Building Technology from Technical University, Delft.

Upon graduation I moved to England to join Wintech Façade Engineering where I worked closely with architects, contractors and investors on both new and existing developments, providing a wide range of façade consultancy services from early-stage design to supervising technical design stages and site monitoring. My expertise also covers condition surveys and technical due diligences to ensure in-service performance of building facades and am also involved in intrusive diagnostic and failure investigations and providing recommendations on course of rectification.

Following the tragic Grenfell Tower incident in 2017, I’ve been extensively involved in fire remediation works which include safety and compliance surveys, engaging through stages of design development, specification writing, and quality control.

Away from work my weekends are spent exploring trails around the peak district along with a mandatory Friday evening beer. I consider myself a jack of all sports but especially enjoy playing cricket as part of the West Bridgford Legion. I’m also a big supporter of the mighty Reds from Merseyside.

Oliver Elms

Associate Director

Having graduated from the University of the West of England in 2014, I joined CBRE in Bristol and quickly gained experience in the full range of building surveying disciplines whilst working with large institutional clients. I became chartered in June 2017.

Whilst I have experience in all aspects of building surveying, I have particularly strong experience in technical due diligence, dilapidations, contract administration and neighbourly matters.

I left CBRE to help build a new building surveying team at Stride Treglown in 2018, but when approached to join Black Cat and offered the chance to work for a small business, the opportunity was too good to resist.

Black Cat have created an environment which puts clients first and empowers its surveyors to focus on providing the best possible service, by removing the constraints of a corporate business model. I have found that working in such an environment, alongside such a motivated group of professionals, is very rewarding.

Outside of work I am a dedicated rock climber, training in the evenings and travelling all over the country at the weekend. My annual leave is dedicated to travelling widely in pursuit of this and I have climbed all over Europe and as far away as Africa. I also have a keen interest in film and art.

Oliver Folkes

Director

I have over 20 years’ experience as a Building Surveyor, much of which was spent as a Director at CBRE. I have worked on the full spectrum of commercial buildings, including large office and mixed-use buildings during my six years in London.

I have particular experience of managing refurbishments of retail parks and the reconstruction of fire damaged buildings but also regularly undertake acquisition surveys and dilapidations work.

With my background of working within large multi-disciplinary property consultancies I aim to provide commercially astute and well-rounded advice to assist my clients in achieving the best outcomes

My time away from the office is often spent travelling the world with my wife Emma during which, we ensure that we immerse ourselves in the culture of the country we are visiting as often, the best experiences we have are those that are not planned or in a tourist book. When I am not travelling, I enjoy spending time with my family and am also a keen gardener.

Lisa Fone

Director

I started my property career as a secretary at King Sturge in 2002. After completing a distance learning degree via the College of Estate Management, I became Chartered in 2009. I worked for 10 years within the King Sturge/JLL office in London and then relocated to Bristol in 2013 progressing to Associate Director within this time.

I have worked with a number of blue chip clients and investors providing strategic advice on a range of projects across various property sectors including commercial, industrial and retail. I have a broad experience including dilapidations, contract administration, due diligence surveys, reinstatement cost assessments, planned maintenance programmes, defect diagnosis and licences to alter.

I joined Black Cat in July 2018 and fully embrace the ethos of putting the client first and providing well rounded practical advice. I am passionate about surveying and providing a service to be proud of.

Outside of being a Black Cat, I generally spend my weekends standing by the side of a rugby pitch watching my sons play. When I do get a spare moment, I like to take my mad spaniel for a long walk followed by a visit to a nice country pub!

Dan Hyde

Director

I have over 20 years experience in Building Consultancy having previously held positions at companies including Workman and JLL. During my career I have covered the full spectrum of building surveying duties working within the retail, leisure, office, industrial, residential and education sectors.

I specialise in Contract Administration, Project Management, Dilapidations and Due Diligence and have worked with a wide range of clients including pension funds, property companies, commercial and retail landlords, tenants, estate agencies and Local Authorities. I hold both MRICS and IMaPS (Association of Project Safety) qualifications.

Joining Black Cat felt like a natural move away the rigidness of the typical corporate surveying firm. Black Cat are not afraid to do things differently and form a progressive, dynamic and highly experienced group of individuals working together as a team. My focus is on clear communication, building client relationships, establishing client motivators and business requirements and delivering a high quality service.

Outside work I spend my spare time with family and friends and enjoy country walks, cycling, snooker and a good pub Sunday lunch!

Matt Garwood

Director

I am a chartered Building Surveyor and a member of the Association for Project Management, and have been involved in the property and construction sectors for nearly 20 years.

I was born and raised in Bristol and then went on to university here. I love ‘my’ city so I have stayed and continued to work here, making some great contacts and developing a good understanding of the market in the South West and South Wales. I qualified with multi-disciplinary practice Alder King before moving to independent building and cost consultancies TFT and latterly CS2 where I held a director position.

My experience in the commercial sector has been gained by working on varied and interesting multi-million-pound projects as well as negotiating complex dilapidations matters. I also undertake Technical Due Diligence on a wide range of properties including portfolio instructions throughout the UK and Europe. I have previously authored and edited the TDD content for the RICS subscription service iSurv.

I am an RICS APC assessor and enjoy seeing the next generation of surveyors become qualified.

I am privileged to work with some truly great clients across all sectors. I relish getting to know how a clients’ organisation works, relationship building and truly understanding each clients’ drivers and requirements.

Despite having lived in Bristol all my life, I do like to explore new places and travel. Otherwise my free time is spent with my young family, friends, and usually some form of building project at home where I take a hands on approach to renovating ‘project’ houses.

Diego Alves

Director

I am a civil and structural engineer by background but commenced my façade engineering career with the then newly formed Arup Facades, then headed the Atkins façade team before moving to CBRE in 2008 to head up their Façade Consultancy. As a Façade Consultant for over 30 years, I have gained a wealth of experience, particularly in the commercial, residential and retail sectors.

Over the years, I have been involved with facades in all types of properties in the UK and abroad including hotels, offices, shopping centres, student accommodation developments and high rise buildings including the complex façades of The Leadenhall Building and 20 Fenchurch St (better known as The Cheesegrater and the Walkie Talkie respectively), both iconic London buildings.

I represent investment funds, private investors, landlords and occupants alike dealing with all façade related matters including expert witness, fire related issues, technical due diligence for acquisitions and vendors, technical audits, defects analysis and planned preventive maintenance schedules, where my hands-on experience and expertise have helped clients achieve their full commercial and technical objectives.

Since the tragic events of Grenfell, I was heavily active in fire related issues having represented my company in assisting Government organisations in the preparation of guidance to the industry. My involvement with these bodies has helped property owners, many of which have large portfolios in the UK and abroad, with up to date advice and guidance.

My extra-curricular activities include travelling, music, the arts, cooking and entertaining family and friends at home. I am an active member of my local Rotary Club which helps me put something back into the community through charitable events and fund raising. I enjoy playing snooker and aspire to having breaks in double figures one day!

Lucia Bravo

Director

I am a Façade Engineer and Architect with more than 10 years of experience in the consultancy business. I have been fortunate enough to work on many different projects around the world, including Spain, China and the UK. I love leading challenging projects to a successful end and have managed jobs across all phases, from concept design to execution.

In the last four years, I have been providing a wide range of façade consultancy services to investors, landlords and occupiers. My expertise covers existing and new building envelopes and includes, among other responsibilities, the execution of façade condition surveys and technical due diligences, preparation of maintenance programmes, assessment of performance issues and coordination of façade repairs, specification writing and quality control of the design and installation of facades systems.

Most recently, I have been involved in the preparation of façade fire risk assessments, as well as coordination of any related repair works to ensure compliance.

My free time is mostly spent at airports and the new places they represent. I love travelling and have a bucket list full of wonderful places waiting to be discovered. I am also a very arty person and enjoy both seeing and creating art. These days I am very much into printmaking, photography and street art. Finally, I have found in improv theatre a laughing therapy that never fails to entertain me, and I have been doing it on and off for many years now.

Gemma Dimmock

Team Administrator

I started my professional career just over 4 years ago in my hometown of Northampton. I worked within the logistics department for a well-known builder’s merchant as Admin Support. During my time here I picked up any task that I could in order to learn everything about the trade and the job role. By the end of my second year, I had taken on a lot of their legal and compliance work as well as assisting the finance and HR team, which is something I thoroughly enjoyed. This has not been my only job though; over the previous 4 years I have made time in my evenings and weekends for my family’s equestrian business within the show jumping world. I worked as a Personal Assistant within this business, from the very start, and through this I was able to watch and learn how a business grew, changed, and adapted over time which was extremely beneficial.

Earlier this year, I decided I was ready to take the next steps within my career and move to London in order to progress and learn, which was when I found Black Cat Building Consultancy. I have always enjoyed my work life and I have no doubt that working at Black Cat will be any different as the team are so incredibly welcoming and knowledgeable. I am looking forward to facing and overcoming any challenges that may come my way within this job role and I am confident that I will be able to bring some of my previous experience and positivity to the team. Although I am still learning about the surveying industry, I am sure with the team I will be able to learn and grow in order to provide our clients with the best service possible.

When I am not in the office or working, I enjoy socialising with my friends whilst also keeping active with running and fitness. My family, including my dogs, are the most important people in my life and any time that I can spend with them, I am there! I absolutely love travelling whenever I can, I find it absolutely fascinating to explore different cultures, languages and places whilst also getting a bit of sun in!

Stephen Flower

Director

I'm a Chartered building surveyor by background and have spent some 27 years in private practice, including more than 20 years with CBRE in London, where I became a Senior Director. My experience spans a full range of building surveying activities associated with the development, acquisition, operation, leasing and disposal of commercial property.

Over the course of my career, have encountered all main asset classes within the UK and some parts of Europe. Although a seasoned all-rounder, I have a particular interest in development acquisition work and complex technical due diligence instructions. I have advised major investment funds, property owners, banks and landed estates and my experience enables me to provide balanced and commercially astute advice, characterised by a clear understanding of my clients' interests and the agendas of their counter parties.

For the time being much of my spare time is spent with my young family, although as an ex-rower, I look forward to the day, perhaps in a year or two, when I can re-join my old club (Marlow RC).

Jaime Kwan

Director

Following my graduation from Princeton University in 2015, I entered the building consultancy field as a Façade Engineer and Architectural Designer.Now with more than 5 years’ experience, I have been very fortunate to participate in diverse projects across the world, including Greece, the Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom, and the US.

Over the years, I have been providing a range of specialist façade engineering services to Landlords, occupiers, investors, architects, contractors, developers and manufacturers. My expertise spans fromheritage buildings to new construction, including responsibilities such as façade condition surveys, technical due diligence, dilapidations, planned preventative maintenance programmes and carrying out regular inspections to ensure façade systems are appropriately designed, manufactured and installed.

Since the unfortunate Grenfell Tower incident in 2017, I have been active in providing façade fire risk assessments for multiple student accommodation portfolios and residential properties across the UK. My involvement included intrusive investigations, providing up-to-date advice and guidance, preparation of performance specifications and quality control of the design and installation of façade systems on recladding projects.

In my free time, I love jet setting across the globe to spend quality time with family and friends in various cities and explore a range of cultures.I also enjoy abstract art and music, in particular jazz and blues. I am a self-proclaimed sneakerhead and gastronome (or “foodie”), which has resulted in weekend runs along the Thames!

Matt Nixon

Director

I am a Chartered Building Surveyor by trade and my career began with Faithful+Gould in London as part of their graduate scheme. After 4 years I moved to The Bedford Estates as a client side Estates Building Surveyor focussing primarily on residential work in the Bloomsbury Estate, London. From there I returned to the world of consultancy and joined Knight Franks Residential Building Consultancy team based in Baker Street specialising in high end residential work. In under two years I achieved Associate Partner level before joining the Black Cat London team as a Director in November 2021.

During my career I have undertaken a full range of building surveying and consultancy services including contract administration, project management, estate management, surveys (condition, building and PPM), new builds, refurbishments and licence to alter across many sectors such as healthcare, education, prisons, offices, landed and charitable estates and high end residential.

Outside of work, I enjoy socialising with friends usually with a beer in hand, playing for my local rugby team and occasionally helping my partner out on the farm (very occasionally if you ask her). I spent a good chunk of my early childhood in Virginia, USA where I learnt to ski and still try to get away each year to prevent the ski legs from rusting

Elizabeth Parrott

Director

I have over 20 years experience of providing CDM advice on construction projects. I began my career at an architectural practice before joining the health and safety team of a global construction management consultancy. I have also worked for several leading London-based quantity surveying practices, an award-winning architectural company and most recently Multiplex Construction, a premier construction company responsible for constructing some of the most iconic buildings within the City of London. 

My experience has included projects ranging from fit-out works to multi-million-pound developments. I have been involved in various residential schemes for both social housing and private clients, one of which has been one of the largest private landlords in London. Most recently my residential experience has included super prime developments within central London and extensive new build estates. 

As well as residential projects, I have been involved in commercial, leisure and health schemes. While at Multiplex Construction I was part of the team appointed to develop the Glasgow University campus to provide state of the art learning facilities.  Other projects have included a 5*plus hotel scheme and high rise commercial buildings within up and coming Shoreditch. 

I aim to be a proactive member of project teams as well as assisting designers to deliver realistic solutions which are in accordance with health and safety objectives.  

In my spare time I do quite a bit of drawing and I have been taking life drawing classes for a number of years.  I’m hoping to expand my artistic skills and start painting together with trying sculpting. Apart from my artistic endeavours, I enjoy travelling and I will head off at any given opportunity. I tend to spend a substantial amount of time planning my next trip whether it be a weekend break in the UK or somewhere exotic in the far east. To keep myself fit I do quite a bit of walking, both locally in the Surrey Hills and or head up north to the Lake District. I have also been known to occasionally drag myself to the gym!

Tom Setchell

Director

I am a London based Chartered Building Surveyor and Project Manager, with over 15 years of experience advising clients within both the Private and Public sectors.

My key area of work is with Commercial and Industrial Properties. This involves a mix of office, industrial and retail properties, as well as residential properties as part of larger estates.

Having previously headed up the Public Sector Building Surveying offering at Deloitte Real Estate, I then managed a number of key national clients for BNP Paribas before moving to CBRE to expand my dilapidations expertise. After over 12 years in global firms, I decided to move to smaller firms and departments to allow me to service my clients across a wider range of requirements. This was to advise clients on how to best manage and improve the performance of their buildings and estates.

My advice to clients includes the full scope of contract administration services, from cladding repairs, services replacement schemes, external repair and redecoration, internal refurbishments and common parts refurbishments. This also includes looking at the quality of the building and the long-term strategy for the property, often linking to key lease events and incorporating a wider dilapidations
strategy.

My key drive is to deliver clear and simple advice to allow my clients to plan for the future, whilst getting on with their day to day business and with the minimum of disruption.

Away from work I enjoy the gym, am a keen cook, and am a big rugby fan. I also love escaping back to my family home in Norfolk, as well as the odd glass of vino.

Peter Waxman

Director

I am an RIBA Chartered Architect and CDM Consultant, with nearly 40 years’ experience working in the construction industry. 

In the last 20 years I have led Construction Design and Management Regulation (CDM) teams on a number of developments, including substantial central London office blocks such as the high-rise 100 Bishopsgate, London Wall Place and One Nine Elms.  

As a project architect, I practiced mainly in the conservation field, working on prestigious projects such as the renovation of Windsor Castle after the fire in 1992, and the regeneration of Somerset House, London. 

I was project architect on the restoration of the former Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, which involved spending time on site in Shanghai, and was lead architect for the restoration of St George’s Bloomsbury, a major eighteenth century Grade 1 architectural monument designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor.

I am a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Health and Safety Expert Panel, and I sit on the Association for Project Safety’s London Regional Committee. I am also a member of the Association for Project Safety’s CDM Client Advisor Group, and the Project Manager Golden Thread Initiative Committee sponsored by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. 

I was born in London and have spent the majority of my life in this amazing city. Time away from the office is spent with my wonderful wife and two children. With whatever time I’ve got left after all this, I enjoy cycling (despite my advancing years) and have followed Chelsea football club, well before our recent successful spell!

Simon Wilkinson

Director

I have been working as a building surveyor for 15 years, working for Malcolm Hollis, TFT and CBRE, my roles have taken me across various cities in the Midlands and South regions. My focus has always been on client care, by putting myself in my client’s shoes enables me to focus on what information is important for them to know and what information is important for them to know has been dealt with.

I have primarily worked for large institutional investors following the life cycle of buildings through pre-acquisition inspections, planned maintenance works, dilapidations surveys and project management of refurbishments. My clients have typically been major investors purchasing and asset managing properties across the UK and Europe, with sites ranging from remote Cornish industrial estates, to central London offices and hospitals in suburban Germany.

Away from work I spend my time with my family in and around the water on the south coast or cycling in the South Downs. Having moved away from the west country a few years ago, I now return when possible to watch the mighty Bristol Bears.