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SUCCESSFUL SERVICES
Providing a multi-discipline property consultancy, NPS Property Consultants Ltd has successfully coupled a public service ethos with a keen commercial philosophy.

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03.jpg Commencing life in 1992 as an in-house trading company within Norfolk County Council, NPS Property Consultants Ltd grew out of the Council and converted to a limited company in April of 2002. It is a multi-discipline property consultancy that delivers a comprehensive range of professional services to both public and private sector clients throughout the UK.

Managing director, Mike Britch, who was recently named the winner of the 2004 Award for Excellence in Property Management by the Association of Chief Estates Surveyors and Property Managers in Local Government (ACES), has been behind the company’s success for the last 13 years, and elaborates further: “We deliver professional property services – everything from architectural design to property maintenance, graphic design to estate management. Our customers are any body in the public sector that wishes to engage in property services including Local and Health Authorities, the Police, Magistrates and the Government.

“We have 12 office locations, spread mainly across the Eastern and South East region and now also have offices in Wigan in the North West and Wakefield in the North East. We are looking to set up a head office location at St Andrews Business Park, in Norwich with the intention of moving some 110 staff currently based at County Hall later this summer. The decision to move our headquarters will allow us to develop the infrastructure necessary to serve the growing business and release some valuable office area to the Authority so it is able to bring more frontline services into that space. The move will also give us a clear sense of identity and corporate image. In addition to this, we will be providing new office accommodation for our NPS North West subsidiary company at William Pier in Wigan, which will be a new office of similar size to that at St Andrews Business Park.”

The decision to go independent after ten years has been of great benefit to the company. Mike adds: “It has certainly given us trading freedom that we wouldn’t have had if we were embedded in the Local Authority. It has also given us a degree of financial independence, enabling us to manage our own financial affairs. It’s allowed us to come up with different ways of employing people, which is very important to us in terms of staff recruitment and retention. Furthermore, it has provided us with a clear focus of understanding that our job is to have satisfied customers, enabling us to concentrate on delivering a quality service.”

NPS has undertaken several huge and challenging projects including a number of very recent contracts. Mike continues: “We are currently working on a new Centre for Engineering Excellence on the Lotus car estate in Hethel, which will take up to 12 months to complete. It will represent a facility of national significance in the engineering arena, providing services such as training recognised and supported by national bodies, opportunities for research, business start-ups and support, together with conference and ICT facilities. This is a very interesting project, the challenge reposing in the fact that it is a multi-client building and for this scheme to work we have to deal with various bodies – Lotus, EEDA, Norfolk County Council, South Norfolk Council, and several engineering businesses. I believe we managed to attain this project because we understand how the different pressures and constraints of the public sector work, and have the ability to actively engage the private sector and draw together the variety of funding streams required.”

Continuing, Mike also describes another current project the company has designed: “The new bus station for Norwich has certainly been quite challenging and continues to be in terms of its complexity, restraints of the site and the entire project itself. It’s due to be finished in the summer and will be a total transformation of the old bus station, which was a very run-down and decrepit facility. This project is worth approximately eight million euros and will be a modern 21st century facility, which Norwich has long needed.”

Described as the ‘hidden gem of Norfolk’, NPS was awarded the EDP Business Development Award in October of last year and highlighting what distinguishes the company, Mike adds: “This is a company that is not always trying to maximise the profit, but is more concerned with adding value, as we understand and share the ethos of public service. We have a certain responsibility to deliver quality services to the public sector and because we recycle all our profits into this sector, it makes us unique in that respect, too.

“We are a people-business that relies entirely on the quality and the skills of the staff we employ. We don’t have any other assets and do recognise that without the hard work and professionalism of all our staff, we wouldn’t be successful. No amount of good business planning or marketing strategies will overcome the fact that if you don’t have the right people, you can’t do the right job.”

With thoughts on the future, Mike concludes: “We aim for growth of between ten to 20 per cent a year for the next five years in terms of long-term partnerships with some Local Authorities and to expand our operations geographically enabling us to have more locations across the UK, giving us true national coverage.” CT-E

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