He’s visited some of property’s ‘wonders of the world’ – from Westminster Palace, and historic Napoleonic fort tunnels, to Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas and Kingdom Towers in Saudi Arabia.
But now Mark Walkden is settling in to our London office as lead partner in our building consultancy team.
Mark is a reader of thrillers and a thrill seeker too, having once bungee jumped into a French gorge, and he’s seeking his next adventure here with us at Vail Williams, where he was attracted by the enthusiasm and ambition of our team.
We spoke to Mark to find out more about his skills, which aside from his in-depth property expertise, also include arm wrestling a number of 2013 rugby World Cup winners!
Mark, how long were you at Rider Levett Bucknall and what did you specialise in?
I worked at RLB for 13 years; starting as a Senior Building Surveyor progressing to Partner. I specialised in project management/contract administration, specification writing and complimentary services such as Bank Monitoring, Technical Due Diligence and Health & Safety.
My additional expertise includes:
• Project Management
• Contract Administrator & Employer’s Agent
• Design & specification writing
• Pre-Acquisition & Vendor surveys, Technical Due Diligence and Fund/Bank Monitoring
• Quadrennial surveys on listed buildings
• Defects Diagnosis
• Measured, Condition Surveys and Planned Preventative Maintenance Schemes
• CDM Regulations and Health & Safety Inspections/Auditing
What attracted you to your new post at Vail Williams?
The people, the ethos, the enthusiasm and ambition within the company.
What are your ambitions in the role?
To grow our team, offering new and complimentary Building Consultancy Services.
What’s the best thing about working in property, and why?
I have met many interesting people, visited places I never dreamed of going; back of house at Westminster Palace, behind the scenes in the 2012 Olympics, Kingdom Towers (the tallest tower in the world) under construction in Saudi Arabia, historic fort tunnels closed to the public dating back to Napoleonic wars, the Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas, as well as most of the listed prison buildings in the South East.
What was your first ever job?
Working for M&S in the warehouse as a Saturday job. Great cooked breakfast if you were on the early shift!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Change is inevitable, embrace it.
If you had to recommend a good book, what would it be, and why?
Straight forward thrillers for the commute, to pass the time.
Tell us a surprising fact about yourself.
I once arm wrestled a number of the 2013 World Cup winning England rugby squad.
Have you ever had a hair-raising moment, if so, what was it?
I did a 200ft bungee jump off a disused viaduct in France, many years ago before it became a more common sport. Whilst being trussed up I was asked ‘Do you want your head to dip into the lake below?’ It was a good few years ago, but still very much fresh in my mind!
What’s your favourite band?
No favourite as such; Kings of Leon, Royal Blood & Primal Scream feature a lot in the car currently.
If you could work in any other profession, what would it be and why?
Professional Sports Coach. I coach children at Rugby and find it both fun and rewarding. Being able to identify small changes in their and my own approach and application, can make huge differences in performance – to both individuals and the team.