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John Burke Associates

The Role of Commercial Real Estate in Levelling Up.

Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate plays a crucial role in the process of levelling-up in the UK. Levelling-up refers to the government’s objective of reducing regional disparities and promoting economic growth and prosperity across all parts of the country. Here’s why commercial real estate is vital to achieving this goal:

Economic Growth and Job Creation

With commercial real estate comes space for businesses to operate, expand, and create job opportunities. When businesses thrive, they generate employment, income, and tax revenues. In fact, it contributes more than £60bn of added value to the UKs economy. Furthermore, it employs more than 1m people. By developing commercial real estate in underdeveloped areas, economic growth is stimulated. Consequently, leading to a more balanced distribution of wealth and opportunities.

Infrastructure Development

Commercial development involves improving infrastructure in the surrounding areas. This includes constructing roads, utilities, public transportation systems, and other essential facilities. These infrastructure investments not only support commercial activities but also enhance the overall living conditions of the region. Better infrastructure attracts businesses, encourages private investment, and helps close the economic gap between different regions.

Attracting Investment

Valuable commercial development prospects are a catalyst for attracting domestic and foreign investment into the UK. Investors are more likely to allocate funds to areas with a thriving commercial sector, as it indicates a favourable business environment and growth potential. Increased investment can provide capital for further development, promote innovation, and create a cycle of economic prosperity.

Skills and Talent Retention

Commercial real estate developments can create demand for a wide range of skills and expertise. As such, attracting and retaining talented individuals in the region. This is particularly significant for levelling-up efforts, as it helps to prevent “brain drain” from less prosperous areas to major cities. By providing appealing workspaces and amenities, we can foster a vibrant business ecosystem. Which will in turn encourage skilled workers to remain or relocate to these areas.

Urban Regeneration

Many levelling-up initiatives aim to revitalize deprived urban areas and promote urban regeneration. Commercial projects can play a pivotal role in transforming neglected or run-down areas into attractive business districts. This not only brings economic benefits but also enhances the quality of life for residents by creating new amenities, public spaces, and community facilities.

Diversifying Local Economies

Some regions in the UK heavily rely on specific industries or sectors, which can make them vulnerable to economic shocks. Development that caters to a diverse range of businesses helps broaden the local economy. It encourages the growth of different sectors and promotes resilience by reducing dependency on a single industry.


Overall, commercial real estate development is vital for levelling-up in the UK as it fuels economic growth, attracts investment, creates employment opportunities, improves infrastructure, and promotes balanced regional development.

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Aspire to become a Clerk of Works!

progress your career

Aspire to become a Clerk of Works!

Are you currently working in a supervisory role within the construction industry? Perhaps you are a senior building tradesman looking for a change in career? John Burke Associates may have the ideal opportunity to allow you to progress your career and earn while you learn. We are looking for the right candidates with transferable competencies, who will receive professional mentoring to become a clerk of works.

What’s Involved in the Role?

The Clerk of Works role is to provide independent third-party site inspection i.e., to Systematically Inspect, Record, Report, and Highlight potential issues. As such the role is best suited to someone who has a meticulous approach to their work.

A Clerk of Works Must…

  • Ensure that all work carried out conforms with the technical requirements, drawings, specifications, and British Standards etc.
  • Inspect and test materials to ensure they comply with requirements.
  • You will be expected to anticipate and identify potential issues before they arise.
  • You must ensure that all communication is clear between all parties.
  • Ensure Health and safety guidance is adhered to.
  • Monitor the project and compile accurate and concise reports and records.
  • Highlight variance in construction work, by means of sampling, benchmarking, testing, and


The Benefits

If you love the construction industry but feel that working on-site full-time is no longer manageable, change your pace. Becoming a Clerk of Works or a Site Inspector allows you to develop and diversify your skills. It also gives you the freedom to work at a different pace while allowing you to retain a key role in the industry.

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in finding out more about the role of a Clerk of Works and progress your career, call Ian Carey CMgr MSc DMS PgDip FRICS FCIOB FCMI FICWCI FCABE today. We require both Clerk of Works and Site Inspectors to cover the Greater London and Home Counties regions. Furthermore, we have both full-time and part-time projects available, all roles are on a self-employed basis. Therefore, allowing you to manage your own workflow.



Why Employ a Project Manager?

Project Management Division

Here at John Burke Associates, we offer our clients a comprehensive project management service. Our collaborative project management division delivers successful projects which realise the client’s aspirations. We apply a variety of methodologies and process models to exceed client expectations. In this blog we discuss how employing an experienced project management team will benefit your project.

The Quality-Cost-Time Conundrum

The Quality-Cost-Time Conundrum is also known as the Project Management Triangle or Iron Triangle. This concept states that the three primary constraints of any project are quality, cost, and time. The conundrum lies in the fact that these three factors are interdependent. Therefore, improving one may come at the expense of the other two. For example, if you want to improve the quality of a project, you may need to increase the cost or extend the timeline. Similarly, if you want to complete a project quickly, you may need to sacrifice some quality or increase the cost.

The Role of a Project Manager

The role of project management is to find the optimal balance between these constraints that will result in a successful project. Our Project Management Division works with stakeholders to define the scope of the project including goals, deliverables, timelines, and budget. We work with our clients to prioritize the project requirements. This includes risk assessment which identifies potential project risks and ensures such risks are mitigated.

From Inception to Completion

Working alongside stakeholders we develop a realistic project schedule that accounts for the available resources, timelines, and budget. We will monitor the progress of the project making necessary adjustments to ensure that the project meets deadlines. Whilst also tracking expenses, identifying areas where costs can be reduced, and ensuring that the team stays within budget.

Get in Touch

If you wish to discuss your project, contact us today on 01708 770770. We offer a full compilation of Chartered Surveying & Chartered Building Consultancy services. This includes full independent construction and property advice on technical and management matters.


Introducing Graham Little Technical Manager

technical manager

John Burke Associates is proud to announce that we have a new member of our Clerk of Works department. Graham Little is our new Technical Manager, we are excited about the level of experience he brings to the team. Graham tells us a little more about himself below.


My name is Graham Little, and I have joined JBA as the Technical Manager for the Clerk of Works department, reporting to the Technical Director Ian Carey.

Health and Safety is always my priority. I am NEBOSH certified, a first aider and a mental health first aider. My background is 25 years in the construction industry, where I have worked both client and contractor side.  I started my career as a Carpenter & Joiner and in my years I have cut fully blind dovetail joints, hand-dug trenches with a graft and have worked Civils, Quantity Surveying and as a Setting Out Engineer.

This has allowed me to work on Bridges, schools, hospitals and major infrastructure projects.  I progressed to the Design, Construction and Maintenance of Proving Grounds in the International Testing and Inspection sector. I managed a facility that was 650 acres, 26 building complexes and 50 miles of test track and designing and delivering on all construction projects within the company’s capex expansion plans. I had responsibility for a c.£10m p/y opex budget and a c.£42m p/y capex budget. Covering UK, France, Finland and Morocco and have notable projects consisting of;

Notable Projects

  • Designed and delivered the UK’s first Electric Vehicle Battery Test Facility.
  • Designed and delivered c.£100m of capex construction projects in the UK during 2017 to 2020.
  • Designed the global office standard for interiors of all company buildings in the group.
  • Managed the project to design and deliver an HV supply upgrade from 1.65MW to 10MW. This took two years from conception to completion. I also secured grant funding.
  • Legal responsibility for all Fire safety design and compliance.  I designed and implemented the fire strategy and upgraded all existing structures to current fire regs. This includes barriers, breaks, zoning, detection and suppression.
  • Designed all DSEAR areas on site, all fuel storage & testing, and designed controlled explosion zones for thermal run away from Battery tests, ethanol and Hydrogen which were the first facilities in the UK.
  • Designed and installed structures and buildings to government organisations specifications.

In conclusion

I am very excited to be on board with JBA and look forward to working with all our stakeholders and through knowledge, experience and CPD; Grow the business and contribute to the quality and safety of the industry.


The Fire Safety Act 2022 and Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022

Fire Safety Act

Yesterday the newly amended The Fire Safety Act 2022 and Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into force. The changes to the act implement most recommendations set by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report. It is vital developers keep up-to-date with all the latest legislation. Violation of the FSA can lead to fines, imprisonment, or both.

What is the Fire Safety Act?

The Fire Safety Act (FSA) is the primary legislation in the United Kingdom that sets out the fire safety requirements for non-domestic buildings. The Act applies to all commercial, industrial, and public buildings. As well as common areas of multi-occupied buildings such as apartment buildings and dormitories. The FSA places a legal responsibility on the “responsible person” for a building typically the owner or occupier. They must ensure that the building is safe from the risk of fire and that it meets certain fire safety standards.

What are the obligations of the responsible person?

Under the FSA, the responsible person must conduct a fire risk assessment to identify any hazards that may put occupants at risk in the event of a fire, and to implement measures to reduce or eliminate those hazards. This may include installing fire alarms and other fire protection systems, providing fire-fighting equipment, and ensuring that the building is properly ventilated and that exits are clearly marked and easy to use. However, the new legislation gives additional responsibilities for high-rise residential buildings. Namely, multi-occupied residential buildings of at least 18 metres in height or seven or more storeys.

Fire Safety Management Plan

The FSA also requires that all commercial buildings have a fire safety management plan in place. The plan should outline the procedures and protocols that will be followed in the event of a fire, including evacuation procedures, the roles and responsibilities of different staff, and the locations of fire-fighting equipment and emergency exits.

Employ an Expert

Project Managers have a critical role to play in ensuring compliance with the Fire Safety Act throughout the project life cycle. From design to occupancy and management of the building. John Burke Associates provides independent expert advice on all aspects of technical support and management functions. With our guidance you can achieve a “zero defects” project through our portfolio of tailored services.


Call Our Team Today

The Role of a Clerk of Works

Clerk of Works Role

A Clerk of Works role (CoW) provides expert oversight and scrutiny during the construction of a building project. Acting as an independent representative of the client or owner. They are responsible for ensuring that the work is carried out in accordance with the plans, specifications, contract documents and client requirements.

The main responsibilities of a CoW

The CoW ensures that construction is carried out to the highest standards of quality and safety. It is important for the CoW to have a thorough understanding of construction processes, building codes of practice, regulations, and the requirements of the client. The main responsibilities of the role are listed below.

Reviewing and approving plans and specifications

Before construction begins, the CoW should have the opportunity to review the plans and specifications for the project to ensure accuracy. This may include checking for compliance with building codes and regulations. They will also ensure that the plans and specifications align with the client’s goals and objectives.

Monitoring construction progress

During construction, the CoW visits the site regularly to monitor progress. They ensure that the work is being carried out in accordance with the requirements. This includes checking for compliance with HSE regulations, as well as ensuring that the materials and workmanship meet the required standards.

Inspecting and testing materials

The CoW is responsible for inspecting and testing materials to ensure that they meet the required standards. This includes checking for compliance with industry standards, and also ensuring the materials are suitable for the project.

Keeping accurate records

The CoW is responsible for keeping accurate records of all construction activities, including inspection reports, test results, and any deviations from the plans and specifications. These records are used to ensure that the work is completed to the required standards and to provide a record of the project for future reference.

Communicating with the client

The CoW acts as a liaison between the client and the contractor and is responsible for communicating any issues or concerns that arise during construction. This includes providing regular updates on construction progress, as well as addressing any issues or concerns that the client may have.

Acting as an expert witness

In the event of a dispute or legal action, the CoW may be called upon to act as an expert witness to provide testimony on the construction process and the quality of the work.


In conclusion, Clerk of Works plays a vital role in ensuring that the construction projects are built according to the plans, specifications, and contract documents. Furthermore, they ensure safety and quality standards are adhered too, while also representing client’s interests. They are responsible for monitoring progress, inspecting materials, keeping accurate records, and communicating with all stakeholders involved in the project. Speak to John Burke Associates today about our Clerks of Works Site Quality Inspection Services.

Work-Related Stress Management

work related stress

Work-Related Stress Management

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently published the 2021/22 health and safety statistics. Concerningly, the statistics show that 914000 workers are suffering from work related stress, depression, or anxiety. As leaders we must be proactive in approaching such matters with our employees. In this month’s blog we have put together our top tips for maintaining employee mental health wellbeing.

Why is it important to manage workplace stress?

In addition to your duty of care towards your workers, any stress in construction is a matter of health and safety. Construction workers will often risk their health and safety more so than in any other job. From operating heavy machinery to handling potentially hazardous substances. The physical demand of such role is alone a risk to health and wellbeing. Therefore, it is imperative they can carry out their tasks with a clear mind, focusing on their actions. If workers are feeling stressed or distracted whilst carrying out such tasks the risks increase greatly.

What can leaders do to help?

Open lines of communication

You should encourage all workers to speak up when they are feeling unhappy about work. Ensure that you listen and take on board what your workers tell you, no matter how trivial it may seem. Dismissing smaller issues means there is potential for it to become a much bigger issue. Furthermore, it can leave your staff feeling undervalued, unimportant and, in some cases, hopeless.

Heed the Warning Signs

As managers we should be looking out for any warning signs that workers wellbeing is at risk. This could be little things such as seeming more tired or irritable. Or it could be more obvious such as clashing with other workers on site. All of which are warning signs that your worker is struggling and may need your help to cope with stress.

Promote Wellbeing

It is always beneficial to invest in employee wellness, be it perks such as gym memberships or simply providing healthy refreshments. Promoting a healthy lifestyle will contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of your staff.

CDM 2015 Health & Safety Advisory

John Burke Associates offer CDM 2015 Health & Safety Advisory services as part of our portfolio. This includes involvement with clients and Principal Designers at all stages to make a significant contribution to reducing risks during construction. Speak to our team today to find out more.


HSE Work Right | Your Health | Your Future

health and safety

Late last month, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched their new campaign to combat serious aches, pains, and strains in construction. Many of us working in the construction industry have suffered with some form of workplace injury in our career. In fact, over 40,000 construction workers suffer with injuries to their muscles, bones, joints and nerves. While many organisations focus on avoiding major injuries, it’s these seemingly minor injuries affecting the industry on a major scale.

Cause and Effect

One of the primary causes of such aches and pains is the lifting and carrying of heavy objects on site. The daily tasks a construction workers body endures takes its toll to such a degree that it affects every aspect of their lives. From an organisational perspective it may be seen as hazards of the job, but this view is short-term. Such injuries can slow down production, cause low morale and generally become an issue in your organisation. Therefore, HSE inspectors will be carrying out 1,000 inspections in October and November to see how workers are moving heavy materials.

Your Responsibilities

Employers are required by law to prevent the ill health of their employees where possible. This includes long-term injuries which can develop over time such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). It is your responsibility to ensure your workers have the correct training and equipment to carry out their duties.

Management Advice

Implementing and enforcing a clear health and safety strategy for your workforce now can save time, money and stress later. Taking a pragmatic approach to ensure workers are aware of the risks and manage them correctly. Here at John Burke Associates we provide CDM 2015 Health & Safety Advisory services for both the client and the Principal Designer. We offer them assistance with their respective ‘duties’. We also provide advice and support to ensure clients comply with their statutory obligations. Click here to find out more about our CDM 2015 Health & Safety Advisory services.


Managing a Workforce in National Mourning

Queen Elizabeth

John Burke Associates joins the country, if not the world, in mourning Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth III.  We would like to express our sincere condolences to the Royal Family during this sad time.  Our offices will be closed, and projects suspended on Monday, 19th September 2022, as a mark of respect as our Monarch is laid to rest.

Are Organisations Obliged to Close?

As RICS Chartered Surveyors we feel it is appropriate to take time to commemorate Her Majesty’s Reign. However, the Government has made it clear that there is “no obligation on organisations to suspend business during the National Mourning period”. Whilst this may be the case, we review the CLCs guidance in this blog as to what considerations you should take.


The CLC urges organisations in the Central London area to consider potential site restrictions during the State Funeral. There is expected to be a large influx of people entering the capital to pay their respects. As such, there may be restrictions due to enhanced security, road closures and traffic issues, consequently causing site accessibility issues. Furthermore, local authorities within the area of Her Majesty the Queen’s Lying-in-State have instructed several construction sites not to carry out any noisy works or freight deliveries until Tuesday 20 September.


Due to the nature of construction, any works within the capital could be seen as disruptive to gathering mourners. In an age of social media and instant communication, organisations are encouraged to consider the reaction to continued works. Some may perceive this as inappropriate or disrespectful to continue such works during a period of National Mourning.


Another consideration you must make, is your workforce. Whilst it is clear there is no statutory entitlement to time off, workers may expect the opportunity to pay their respects. You must consider the moral implications of refusing them the right to do so.

Where Closure is Not Possible

It is accepted that certain parts of the industry where essential services are involved cannot cease work. In such circumstances the following guidance should be applied.

  • Use a common-sense approach to ensure that you are operating respectfully during this period
  • Consider staggering the start and end times of work on site
  • Minimise road movements of freight over the next week

For more information you can read the full guidance by clicking here

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth III | 1926 – 2022

Managing a Construction Site in a Heatwave

How Hot is too Hot to Work?

The UK is experiencing unusually hot weather which is causing complications across the construction industry. As temperatures soar to over 30 degrees again this week, people are asking, how hot is too hot to work? In this month’s blog we look at the principal contractor’s responsibility to protect both their workers and the project.

How Hot is too Hot to Work?

There is no set maximum temperature when it comes to The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA). However, the act does require employers to provide a safe and healthy working environment at a “reasonable” temperature. Where there is a risk of workers suffering prolonged sun exposure, there is a risk of heatstroke, exhaustion, sunburn, and dehydration. It is your responsibility as principal contractor to ensure that if you choose to continue work, you take precautions.

What Precautions to Take On-Site in a Heatwave

  • Ensure you include a sun protection module in your health and safety training. When a weather warning is in place, hold a morning meeting to readdress this policy. Also encourage workers to wear factor 15 SPF or above, allowing time to reapply when necessary.
  • Advise all employees working in the direct sun to wear long sleeves and keep their heads and shoulders covered.
  • Where reasonably practicable, schedule work to minimise sun/heat exposure.
  • Provide onsite water point and shaded rest areas to encourage rehydration.

Other Site Considerations in a Heatwave.

As a project manager you must assess the risk of continuing production in extreme heat. It is not just the effect of the heat on your employees which poses a risk! Operating machinery in extreme temperatures can cause malfunctions and overheating. Working in a heatwave without a full risk assessment could jeopardise your insurance policy or result in injury. It is imperative that you take into consideration the machinery and materials you are working with.

Potential Consequences

If as an employer, you fail to provide a safe working environment for your employees you are breaching HSWA. This means you are at risk of potential prosecution, criminal charges and even a custodial sentence. However, the HWSA also imposes a responsibility on the employee to take reasonable care of themselves. This means they have a duty to adhere to the safety advice you provide.