November 08, 2022

Meet Our Associate (Building Surveying), Darren Blenkinsop – Q+A

Darren Blenkinsop, Associate (Building Surveying), Concertus Design and Property Consultants

Darren recently joined our team in the Matlock office and brings with him a wealth of experience in compartmentation surveys, fire door inspection, and fire risk assessments.

Tell us a bit about your background and your journey up to now

After leaving school, I spent a few years making my way through numerous jobs without a sense of purpose. However, this changed when I joined the military in 1990 and became a Royal Engineer. Upon joining, my outlook changed and at the passing out parade I was awarded best recruit, and when I took the combat engineering exam a year or so later my CO called me in to tell me I’d achieved the highest score in the Royal Engineers to date, which surprised me as I’d never seen myself as academic. I spent the next five years with a field squadron undertaking military construction and general soldering duties. After suffering an injury to my back, I decided it was time for a new challenge.

I got a job as an apprentice joiner and qualified three years later, I continued to work as a site joiner, but the back injury caused some issues, so I looked at a part-time building surveying degree at DeMontfort University. I did my first year whilst still working as a joiner until I was employed by Faithful+Gould as an Assistant Building Surveyor, carrying out condition surveys, project design, specification, and management for a multitude of clients. I became chartered in 2007 and continued to work for them until recently when I decided to join Concertus in Matlock.

What does your role with Concertus entail and what are you most looking forward to about it?

As an Associate I will lead the Building Surveying team in the Matlock office, undertaking management duties but also ensuring that I am active in fee-earning works also. While working at Faithful+Gould, I spent eight years on secondment to Derbyshire County Council, so although the job is new, there are some familiarities and I’m looking forward to becoming an integral part of the team and using all my experience to help younger members of staff develop their skills.

What challenges do you see in the future and how do you plan to overcome them?

In the current economic climate, I’m a great believer in working smarter, not harder. I will be looking at introducing, where possible, electronic templates for surveys and inspections to reduce input time in the office.

We also need to look at what we can currently supply to clients and identify the people and training to expand the services the team can provide, for example including Equality and Access Audits, Fire Risk Assessments, Compartmentation Surveys, Fire Door Inspections, Building Compliance Inspections and Part Wall works are just some of the services within our capabilities. These new services are something I am extremely passionate about having spent my career being able to deliver these services successfully in previous roles. Being able to bring something new to the table was just one of the reasons I decided to join Concertus, and I am excited to see what the future holds.

Over the next 12 months – how do hope to see your role and Concertus develop?

I hope in the next year I have a positive effect on the team, together developing our knowledge and experience to enhance the skills the team already have. Over the last few years, I have specialised in fire-related works, and I would like to use my experience in this field to enable Concertus to offer a variety of technical services. This is a service that is in high demand, especially in the aftermath of Grenfell, with building owners and responsible persons under ever-tightening legislation for them to bring their buildings and maintain them at a compliant standard.