Inside Track

Ann Day is managing director and finance director of Day Associates. She founded the company, with Kevin Day, in 2003 and it’s grown year-on-year ever since.

Give us a brief overview of Day Associates

We founded the business in 2003 with a desire to bring together the decades of experience Kevin and I have in the property sector, from the surveying construction side but also from years of financial expertise in the industry. We wanted to do things differently and better while also preserving and further developing the finest professional standards but also being always open to new ways of working. We’ve built a team – a growing one – very much to mirror this and we’ve been rewarded by year-on-year growth.

To what do you attribute that growth and success?

There’s an old business adage - “big enough to deliver; small enough to care” - and I feel that’s been very much embedded in our culture from the start. We are a growing business, but we always aim to approach it not simply as growth at any cost but growth that’s truly focused on our clients, their business and the sector or area in which they operate.

There are plenty of construction and property specialists around. What sets Day Associates apart?

We’re very much a modern, forward thinking business, keeping up with sector change, challenges and opportunities. But we’re also, in some ways, a rather old-fashioned consultancy in so much as we never hide behind frustrating email trails, we like to talk, and we’re passionate about our clients seeing us as an extension of their project, business or in-house team rather than a “consultant” operating at arms’ length. We want to be as happy with an end result as you are.

You offer the range of services you would expect from such a consultancy but how do you stay ahead of similar businesses?

I think it’s that hands-on approach of which we’re most proud. We live in a world in which people are busy and strapped for time - seemingly all the time - and there can a tendency to lose sight of what really matters in business. Often, and it’s proving increasingly so, that’s about getting the small things right. Of course, that has to be accompanied by talent and committed professionals with expertise and knowledge, of which we’re lucky to have many, but it’s also about us putting ourselves in the shoes of the client, whether that’s a landlord, commercial developer, private individual or facility manager.

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the sector?

Whatever happens in the short to medium term, it’s safe to assume Brexit will have implications for years to come. This, coupled with higher taxation and stricter lending criteria, has inevitably caused uncertainty. This has seen people starting to diversify their portfolios and searching out new opportunities that perhaps come with potential for greater value and yield.

And what about those opportunities?

As with any market that’s shifting and challenging, there are often opportunities to search out added value. From a property investment side, there is a greater range of opportunities available now compared to five or six years ago and that’s also evident when it comes to mixed-use opportunities. As examples, the student property sector is resilient and there is a greater need when it comes to retirement housing and assisted living. And many investors and developers see the office sector and hotels and hospitality as key areas of potential.

The team is expanding. Tell us a little about the breadth of talent you bring to each project?

Sometimes businesses grow in such a way as to become almost detrimental commercially and in terms of quality of service. We’ve been very careful about how we’ve managed growth at Day Associates, That has meant identifying and recruiting the best surveyors, project managers, commercial expertise and support staff closely aligned to our growth and, crucially, with what our clients require.

Why should someone use Day Associates?

It’s really the things I’ve already mentioned. It’s not just our wealth of expertise, forensic-like knowledge of the sector and talent pool, it’s about treating every project as unique and every client as part of the Day Associates’ team and never just as another piece of business.