Not just a one trick pony…

Published March 18th, 2016

Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th of March were two important days in the Berrys 2016 calendar, the days we attended the 2016 Berrys Annual Conference. The conference provides the opportunity for practitioners from our 6 different offices and disciplines to get together to discuss the previous year and the year ahead, as well as, more importantly, providing the opportunity for our staff to ‘network’ into the early hours of Tuesday morning.

I have now been with Berrys for almost 6 years, and in this time Berrys’ planning team has progressed from a team of 3, containing one Chartered Town Planner, to a team of 19, with 9 Chartered Town Planners.  This increase has seen us push into the top 50 UK planning consultancies (38th to be precise), and we are now one of the leading regional planning consultancies.

Needless to say, the planning team received a big proverbial pat on the back at this year’s conference.  While it’s always nice to be appreciated, the conference sector I found of most interest was finding out what my colleagues across other disciplines have been up to over the past 12 months. What became very clear was that we really are able to offer our clients a one stop shop in development consultancy.

It is easy to accept a client planning instruction on face value, to get your head down and get on with the job, but I believe as planners we need to have a wider appreciation of what the client’s end goal is. It is fair to say that a planning application is usually considered for the purpose of adding value, but how much value? And does the client instruction create optimum value? This is the moment where one of my Chartered Surveyor colleagues would step in and quantify this, adding real value to the service we can provide.

Understanding the bigger picture provides us with the opportunity to provide best advice, and in many cases a client may need a number of bolt-on services in order to facilitate this best advice. The annual conference really did hit this point home, and over the next 12 months as a planning team we should endeavour to seek the bigger picture, utilise our colleagues’ capabilities and understand what the client really wants. As a firm of Chartered Surveyors and Chartered Town Planners, we are uniquely positioned to provide the most rounded advice, and this is something that our clients need to be made aware of, and take advantage of going forward.