Q&A with Regional Director & Chartered Building Surveyor Simon O’Brien
Simon O’Brien is Hampton Jones’ Regional Director and a Chartered Building Surveyor who heads up the team in our Christchurch office.
As a Chartered Building Surveyor with over ten years’ experience, Simon has covered a wide range of building surveying and project management work across commercial, health, residential, academic, telecommunications and data centre sectors within the UK, Europe and New Zealand. Simon also has a young family which keep him busy (when time allows he loves travelling and exploring New Zealand).
Our Marketing Manager, Margaret Browne recently sat down with Simon to ask him a few questions:
How many years have you been working in Building Surveying?
I completed my degree in Building Surveying in the UK (including a year’s work placement) between 2000-2004. I then took a well-deserved years OE and then have been duly employed as a BS since 2006, joining Hampton Jones in 2014 and celebrating my 5th year with them this month.
What do you like most about what you do?
The variety of projects and buildings that I get to work on. Oh, and being lucky enough to travel around this beautiful country while doing my job.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Knowing when to stop. Luckily, I have a very understanding wife.
What do you like most about working for Hampton Jones?
The team. From day one I was welcomed into the Hampton Jones ‘family’ and I have worked to ensure this continues as we have grown the team in the South Island office.
What project would you consider your most significant career accomplishment to date?
The project management and delivery of an €18M ($30M NZD) New-Build Data Centre in Amsterdam.
What have you done professionally that is not an experience you’d want to repeat?
Leaving a tender to the last minute, all-nighters to meet deadlines are not fun.
Is it better to be perfect and late, or good and on time?
For me it has to be perfect and late, with one stipulation… keep the client informed. They may not always like it but they appreciate the care, communication is key.
How does Hampton Jones help to create better buildings?
Knowledge and experience. Our teams and employees bring varied experience across our disciplines. This leads to a wealth of knowledge that we can use to create better buildings. We not only design better buildings, we help others in the industry to understand how to design, build and remediate properties to create better buildings.
Why are better buildings important?
I have seen a broad spectrum of historic issues in the New Zealand building stock. Being able to provide our clients with a sustainable and cost-effective remediation strategy means we can create better living and working environments for those using the buildings. Creating new better buildings, means we can use what we have learned from past mistakes and create buildings safe and healthy for generations to come.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
Spending time with my two gorgeous kids and beautiful wife. Oh, and planning a bar for my garage…
What’s your favourite social media platform?
Does pen and paper still count? If not, then LinkedIn.
What’s the best place to eat in Christchurch?
I would have to say Birdwood in Beckenham. Both their café (The Eatery) and Restaurant (The Pizzeria) have great food and is fantastic for families and friends catching up. It’s definitely our go to place at the minute.
What’s your favourite building in New Zealand?
Slightly biased being from Christchurch, but I still love Christchurch Cathedral. I was lucky enough to get to visit it pre-quakes on my OE and even now with the earthquake damage its gothic revival style still shines through.