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Project Announcement | Knowles’ Country Division heads up Super-Prime Residence Project in Surrey

Knowles is thrilled to announce our appointment as Principal Contractor on an exceptional super-prime private residential project in Surrey.

Led by the Knowles Country team, Phase 1 of the project will encompass Shell and Core works, including site set-up, piling, basement excavation, drainage, waterproofing, and subsequent superstructure works.

Working with Ascot Design, the stunning two-storey property, brings traditional Georgian-inspired design into the modern-day, while still honouring classical traditions. The residence will feature a basement level, and leisure facilities, and has been carefully planned to preserve existing trees and landscape features.

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Set in an area of ‘special character’, meticulous attention has been paid to ensure that the project responds fittingly to the local context, with a commitment to sustainable construction and operation, including support for biodiversity. By working with the existing levels on the site, we have designed one side of the house to sit lower, thereby minimizing the visual and material impact on the openness of the Green Belt.

Ascot Design

We look forward to sharing further updates as this incredible project comes to life.

 

Knowles are proud to be working with…

Architect: Ascot Design

Project Management: Ascot Design

Structural Engineer: Green Structural Engineering

Interior Design: Matthews Rea Interiors

https://knowles.uk.com/portfolio/private-estate-esher/

 

IN THE MEDIA | Knowles hire London Operations Director – as featured in Prime Resi

Knowles has recently been featured in PrimeResi, following the hire of new London Operations Dirctor, Mark Hailey, who will be spearheading the delivery of Knowles’ projects in the capital.

Mark Hailey will be spearheading the delivery of Knowles’ projects in the capital.


Super-prime construction firm Knowles has brought in Mark Hailey to lead its operations in London.

Hailey was previously a director at Holloway White Allom, before moving client-side, acting on behalf of and delivering schemes for UHNW families.

He has worked a range of prestigious projects over the course of his 30-year career, including 1 Hotel Mayfair and a private Sardinian Estate, as well as “dozens” of super-prime private residential projects.

He joins Knowles’ top team, taking on the newly-created role of London Operations Director, which will involve spearheading the delivery of the firm’s projects in the capital, and working closely with founder, Robin Knowles.

Hailey will also work closely with his Country counterpart, Mark Haslam, on the delivery of schemes across London and the Home Counties.

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After working Client side for 3 years, I am excited to be working again in contracting, where I spent the vast majority of my working life working almost exclusively on super-prime residential projects. I look forward to working with the great and dynamic Knowles team, to deliver successful projects, both current and future.

Mark Hailey, London Operations Director

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Knowles is thrilled to have Mark join the team; bringing over 30 years of experience in the super-prime construction industry, alongside extensive knowledge, and expertise to both our current and upcoming projects. We’re delighted to have him on board to bolster our London offering, as Knowles enters a milestone year of project completions and financial standing.

Robin Knowles, Group Managing Director

Newlands Corner view, near Guilford, Surrey Hills, North Downs, Surrrey, England, United Kingdom, Europe

Project Win | Knowles Appointed on Super Prime Country Residence

Knowles is pleased to announce the commencement of our latest Knowles Country scheme, where under the leadership of our Country Division, we will be acting as Principal Contractor to deliver the 10, 000sq/ft private residence on a prestigious Surrey Estate.

Due for completion in 2026, Knowles will be taking the project from concept to completion, with works including full shell & core, substructure and superstructure works, envelope works, full delivery of the internal fit-out, as well as both soft and hard landscaping.

Due to confidentiality, limited information is available.

Knowles Celebrates Women in Construction Week 2024

In an industry often associated with hard hats and heavy machinery, the presence of women has historically been overshadowed. However, this is shifting, and as we celebrate Women in Construction Week and International Women’s Day, it’s essential to highlight the remarkable initiatives and achievements of women within the industry.

Despite remaining a predominantly male-dominated field, it is through the celebration of women in construction, and the numerous efforts of various associations, that increasingly more women are breaking stereotypes and making significant strides within the industry. From architects and engineers to project managers and skilled tradespeople, women are carving out their places and leaving a lasting impact on construction projects.

The increasing presence of women in construction promotes gender diversity while bringing a wealth of perspectives and experiences to the table. Despite this, women still represent only a fraction of the construction workforce, highlighting the need for continued efforts to promote inclusivity and equality.

At Knowles, we are proud to champion diversity and inclusivity within our organization. 33% of our Board of Directors is women, and within the company we have women occupying many key roles across various disciplines, from accounts and buying to marketing and on-site positions. We recognize the vital contributions of women in shaping our company’s success.

As we celebrate Women in Construction Week and International Women’s Day, it’s important to inspire and support the next generation of female professionals in the industry.

We spoke to some of Knowles’ female team members to find out more about working as a woman in construction:

Millie Pattinson, Marketing 

Why are Knowles celebrating both IWD and Women in Construction Week?

At Knowles we are lucky to have women in various key positions throughout the company and this, in turn, is leading to us celebrating a more gender-diverse workforce across both site and management positions.

It’s so important to celebrate this seismic shift in order to continue its momentum –  particularly within the Property

and Construction sector, which have been far slower at adapting and embracing this shift than others. Now that we are seeing real and permanent changes begin to happen, we should celebrate it, not only to recognise the work achieved, but to inspire others to maintain this motion.

Abbi Leanne Haynes, Senior Buyer

Tell us about your role at Knowles

As Senior Buyer I deal with the day-to-day order requests, pro-actively coordinating each sites  requirements including time frames, specs, etc. which required great attention to detail.

In addition to this, I encourage my team to actively find the best savings whilst taking into consideration the quality of the product and supplier services levels. 

This can have a huge effect on how efficiently a project can run. I also report on our monthly savings and issue a monthly update to the senior site staff on any price increases/decreases across the board. It can be very challenging at times but is also very rewarding.

What do you love most about working in the construction industry?

No two days are the same! Throughout my 9 years in the industry, I can honestly say I learn something new every day. I love seeing each of our projects going through the various stages, right from the start through to the finished project. It really does fascinate me as I have a love of architecture and design.

Do you have any advice for young people thinking about a career in construction?

Hard work really does pay off. Whether you start off with a degree, or you climb the ladder from the bottom, in this industry its possible to achieve whatever your end goal is as long as you apply yourself. Be confident and willing to adapt yourself as new building applications, techniques and procedures are being introduced all the time and there is always the opportunity to learn more.

Women working in construction is becoming more common, but do you think there is still some kind of stigma or misconception preventing more women from joining the industry?

The industry has come a long way from when I first started out in a Builders Merchants. At first, I found it difficult to build up my client base as they all assumed I had a lesser knowledge than my male colleagues. Once I built my confidence and with support from my colleagues and managers, I managed to break through preconceived notion and excel. In my current position as a Senior Buyer at Knowles, I can honestly say I have not faced any of these issues and I was quickly able to prove myself to be very competent to our site managers and suppliers alike.

In your view, what does the industry need to do to help attract and retain more women?

It is great to see the industry becoming more equal. I see more and more woman in a variety of roles, not just as Quantity Surveyors or Document Controllers but even on the grab lorries! It would be great to see this encouraged more within schools and vocational colleges to attract students into the industry from the beginning. At that age, I didn’t know how diverse the construction industry could be, and I would have joined this industry a lot sooner if I was aware the opportunities available to me. More companies also need to proactively recruit more women, using social media advertisements to help reach the right target audience.

Natalie Smith, Document Controller 

Tell us a bit about your role and what you enjoy most about your job?

At Knowles I work as a document controller, meaning I play a key role in the construction site offices across a number of our active projects both in London and the Home Counties. My role involves engaging with different members of the client teams, design and construction teams and no two days are the same. 

This is something I really enjoy as it keeps things interesting, constantly having to adapt. I love seeing the projects take shape from start to finish, right from the ground up to client handover.

Have you always worked in construction?

With a couple of breaks in between I’ve worked in construction for around 12 years, on projects in the Home Counties, London, the Midlands and even mainland Europe for a short time. Prior to Knowles I worked for a main contractor predominantly on commercial projects which is where I got to move around as relocated to where the project was based and an Architect Engineer practice in London.

What does a day a work look like for you?

My working day is mainly dictated by the project information received via Viewpoint (a document management system) for Projects, uploaded by the design consultants and subcontractors on each individual project. I monitor Viewpoint for new and revised information, carry out quality checks of all documentation and notify the design consultants to review and approve subcontractor information. I then ensure the construction team and subcontractors are all working to the current construction information.

I am also involved in the set-up process for new projects, and have developed document management procedures as well as holding regular training sessions with the internal, client/design teams and subcontractors on how to operate various systems effectively.

Are there any misconceptions about your job?

Document control is generally viewed as a generic admin role, however it is an essential part of the efficient running of a construction site team. There are a number of attributes required to carry out the role effectively and it requires great attention to detail, with the ability to work successfully as part of a team, which often includes the client themselves. Building these professional relationships is helpful when you need to reject documentation if someone hasn’t followed the project guidelines, without them taking it personally – everyone has a job to do!

How would you encourage more women to get into construction?

I think ‘Women in Construction’ day and profiles such as this where females in the industry can encourage others into the construction industry are so important. Historically, construction sites I have worked on have always had a very small percentage of female employees but it’s great to see that slowly changing. There are vast opportunities available for anyone interested in entering into construction!

Megan Steele-Knowles, Group Brand & Communications Director

Tell us about your role at Knowles

As Group Brand and Communications Director, I oversee all external and internal exposure for Knowles. The role is multi-faceted and covers a wide range of elements; from internal communications and general day-to-day operations, to external PR & marketing – from media interviews, branding on sites and general company marketing opportunities. 

Part of the role is to ensure all tenders and project submissions are delivered under a cohesive company pack to ensure Knowles’ culture and aesthetic is clear at all touchpoints.

Have you faced any challenges in your career as a woman and if so, how did you overcome them?

Having worked in both a totally female dominated company (in a previous career) and now within a largely male dominated environment, I haven’t found the difference to be as obvious as one might think.  

I have never let my gender create challenges for me, however it would be fair to say that I have had to work that little bit harder to establish my position, particularly within male dominated environments. I aim to overcome any challenge by reaffirming why and how, not only to myself but to everyone around you – stay firm in your beliefs!

Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day and how can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship or senior leadership roles in the luxury property industry?

For a long time, women have sat in the background – whether within an organisation, on a Board seat or generally within decision making roles. But, by talking about it and most importantly, leading by example we can show that it DOES happen. At Knowles, we are proud to have females make up 33% of our Board and are increasingly seeing more interest from female applicants. I think there should be more of an emphasis on attracting internships, work experience and apprenticeships and educating students on the amazing opportunities available to them within this industry, aside from the traditional pathways

What is the best advice you have been given?

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

IN THE MEDIA | Country Life Magazine Top 100 List 2024

We are thrilled to share that Knowles have been included in the coveted Country Life Magazine  ‘Top 100’ list for 2024, for the second consecutive year!

Now in its 8th annual edition, the Country Life ‘Top 100’ showcases the finest property experts in the industry. From Architects to Landscape Designers, Construction experts, Interior Designers, and Decorators.

This year’s list features some of the best names in their respective fields, including ADAM Architecture, Yiangou, Purcell, Smallwood Architects, Stanhope Gate Architecture, Sims Hilditch, Spencer-Churchill, Todhunter Earle Interiors, I&J Bannerman – many of whom Knowles have had the privilege of collaborating with over the years!

 

Our inclusion is a testament to the dedication and expertise of our team, reflecting their consistent commitment to excellence in every project we undertake. We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with some of the finest names in the industry, and thankful to our clients and partners for their continued trust and support.

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Founded by Robin Knowles in 2010, this company provides a comprehensive service, from concept to completion, and undertakes construction, structural and heritage work across London and the Home Counties. It has particular experience in working with councils and privately owned estates, including the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Council, as well as the Grosvenor and Cadogan estates. Projects include private residences in St John’s Wood and luxury townhouses in Knightsbridge, as well as private country estates in Surrey, Gloucestershire and Berkshire.

– Country Life Magazine 

Thank you to Country Life Magazine for this incredible honor!

PROJECT WIN | Knowles Appointed as Principal Contractor for Super-prime private residence on Avenue Road

Knowles is pleased to announce our appointment for Phase 1 works at a super-prime residence on London’s exclusive Avenue Road. 

Located in the heart of St John’s Wood, Knowles Structures team will be acting as Principal Contractor to deliver phase 1 works which includes complete enabling and substructure works.

The projects scope of works for phase 1 include the addition of a new 5,300 sq/ft basement level which will sit beneath the existing property footprint.                  

Once completed this classic North London Villa will stand at an impressive 19,000sq/ft of living space and will be completed with a Cinema, Bar, Gym, Swimming pool and Sauna. The property will feature a complimentary yet modern glass extension, alongside its significant basement, and combines traditional grandeur, elegance, and contemporary living.

With the site set-up and enabling works having been completed at the end of last year, the Knowles Structures team have already commenced the Phase 1 structural package. Works will now continue to include underpinning, façade retention, demolition, piling , the installation of ground bearing slab, basement temporary works, internal basement RC slab, and RC lining walls.

Phase 1 is due for completion early next year.

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We are delighted to be working with Knowles on the redevelopment of this unique home in St John’s Wood.

The property is located within a conservation area and incorporates façade retention, extensive basement excavation and the addition of a large, rear extension creating 16,000 sqft of bright and contemporary living space.

KSR are pleased to be working with Knowles on this fantastic house which is being completed to the highest specification and with meticulous attention to detail.

Daniel Curtin, Partner, KSR Architects & Interior Designers 

Avenue Road is one of London’s most prestigious roads and over the last 6 years Knowles is proud to have consistently operated multiple sites located both on and around the road which is located just a stone’s throw from Regents Park and Primrose Hill, in St Johns Woods.  Knowles have completed 7 projects on the famous street, with 3 projects currently live (See our portfolio page).

We look forward to sharing more updates on this exciting project!

Principal Contractor: Knowles

Architect: KSR Architects

Project Management: RB Project Management

Quantity Surveyor: Gardner & Theobald 

Structural Engineer: Malcolm Barclay Partnership

MEP Consultants: Edward Pearce LLP 

Interior Design: Clique Living

 

Knowles announce Senior Promotions across Construction and Structures Teams

(Left – Tony Trapani, Waterproofing Manager for Knowles Structures / Right – Shane Casey, Managing Surveyor at Knowles Construction)

Knowles is pleased to announce recent promotions within our Construction and Structures teams, effective immediately.

Congratulations to Shane Casey, who has been promoted to Managing Surveyor for Knowles, and Tony Trapani on the appointment of Waterproofing Manager for Knowles Structures.

Over the last year, Knowles has expanded significantly, solidifying, and maintaining our known work across our Construction, Structures and Country divisions, and growing our portfolio of large scale super prime residences both within London and the Home Counties. To support this growth, promotions in the team have been made to ensure our scaled-up operations are supported across all facets of Knowles. 

Shane Casey – Managing Surveyor at Knowles Construction  

As a highly experienced Quantity Surveyor, Shane has had an extensive career thus far, and possesses the acumen and knowledge to manage all aspects of super-prime construction, including new build, refurbishment, full fit out, as well as complex structural works. Shane has managed the commercials for projects ranging up to £30m in contract value, primarily within super-prime Central London.

Within his new role as Managing Surveyor, Shane will be working alongside Group Commercial Director, Pat Kilbane, taking a more active role in helping projects across the company to ensure all commercial practices and reporting is standardised, providing a valuable link between the commercial and finance teams.

Tony Trapani – Waterproofing Manager for Knowles Structures

Tony Trapani, of whom has been with Knowles since its inception in 2010, has continually overseen some of Knowles’ most challenging and complex structural projects. Tony is adept in specialist subterranean structural contracts including underpinning, façade retention and waterproofing, and has worked in a range of complex scenarios such as retrofitting a basement underneath a listed Church whist ensuring it could remain fully operational, as well as the delivery of open-dig basement schemes.

Having completed over 150 basement schemes in his career, Tony is one of London’s most experienced project managers within this field, delivering each project with the same positive and driving management style and is regularly praised by professional teams and private clients for his open-communication, considerate working style and positivity on complex schemes.

In his new role as Waterproofing Manager, Tony will continue his role in our Structures Division as a Project Manager whilst also overseeing the management and coordination of Knowles’ in-house waterproofing team that supports the Knowles Structures division to ensure complete control and autonomy within this unique division.

Holding the skill of waterproofing in-house is a unique element to Knowles’ structures team, and secures our service proposition of offering a compete, in house delivery of structural projects. 

Congratulations to both Shane and Tony!

Annual Knowles Christmas Party 2023

Last Tuesday, we kicked off the festive season with the annual Knowles Christmas Party.  The evening was held at the historic Home House, Marylebone, an iconic location known for enjoyment and entertainment.

It was a pleasure to host our amazing clients, colleagues, and partners, including the industry’s best Architects, Interior Designers, Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers, for an evening of music, magic and celebrations!

Thank you for all that joined us to help celebrate and toast to a successful year. We look forward to continuing to collaborate and deliver many exciting projects in 2024 and beyond!

Knowles Team | Chris Woods is Promoted to Quantity Surveyor

Having joined Knowles in 2021 as a Graduate Assistant Quantity Surveyor, we are pleased to share the promotion of Chris Woods as Quantity Surveyor.
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Over the last two years at Knowles, Chris has gone from strength to strength, taking every opportunity available to gain a good exposure to a variety of different fields within surveying. Since starting out as a graduate, Chris threw himself in to his role at a site level looking to understand the fundamentals and processes on site, working closely alongside some of our Senior Quantity Surveyors. Opting to stay on site rather than in the office has enabled him to grasp and excel in the full lifecycle of a project.
Showcasing his ability to manage projects from a commercial aspect, Chris has managed both smaller level structural projects as well as being an integral member of the commercial team in some of our main contractor projects (structural and fit out) providing him with the opportunity to hone his skills in both sides of the prime residential sector.
Chris is always willing to get involved in any task, and his manner and ability to read site situations is that of somebody with many more years’ experience than he has.

Pat Kilbane, Commercial Director 

We sat down with Chris Woods to reflect on his career so far at Knowles:

What attracted you to a career in Quantity Surveying?

I initially wanted to become an accountant based upon my enjoyment of crunching numbers and being involved in the management of funds. However, I found a short while into my accountancy course that it wasn’t for me, and I desired something that had a financial element to it but also a practical side to complement it. I then discovered Quantity Surveying, and knew after a short time researching the role, that it would be the profession for me.

What skills do you feel are necessary as a quantity surveyor? How did your education prepare you for your professional career?

I believe that good communication and maintaining good relationships with your colleagues, subcontractors and the client team is very important as a Quantity Surveyor. Being a team player and having a strong work ethic is essential to deliver what is required and is in the best interest of delivering a successful project. Being open to learning and listening to experienced peers is especially important when it comes to the methodology of build and what’s involved on site to enable sufficient pricing.

Other key skills include being aware and conscious of financial exposure in order to limit the level of risk associated to a project, alongside having good attention to detail, and possessing the ability to have an effective oversight of the financial position the project you are working on is in and where it will likely end up whilst taking into consideration live changes to the job and respective circumstances.

My studies prepared me with a lot of case law studies of JCT contracts which assisted me in realising the importance of issuing/receiving contractual documents within their respective timeframes from parties involved in the works. It taught me how to take off which is integral to what I do on a day-to-day basis and helped me to understand the stages of construction from preconstruction to final handover and the works/information available and actions required at each stage.

Looking back, what advice would you give your younger self?

Network at every opportunity – Form relations in your chosen industry as early as you can, reach out and request if there are any opportunities be it work experience etc.

Educate yourself in your chosen field – Education is key once you are aware of your intended career path, aim to gain as much knowledge as you can from speaking/working with experienced people in the industry and from your studies/ what you can source in the library and online.

What have you learnt throughout your career thus far?

Over the past two years I feel like I have successfully learnt how to be involved in the commercial management of high-end residential project delivery. This is mainly by:

  • Reading and pricing drawings/instructions
  • Monthly reporting of cost value reconciliations and performance.
  • Procurement of subcontractor packages/works
  • Understanding the clients requests and working to realise them.
  • Tender analysis and presentation

What projects are you currently working on at Knowles?

I am currently working across three of Knowles’ new super-prime schemes, two of which are located in one of the most prestigious roads in in St Johns Wood, Avenue Road, and the other on an exclusive road in Wimbledon.

 

All three projects are large scale, private residential schemes, that feature double depth basement levels which span the entire footprint of the properties. The projects have been full scope packages, allowing me to have been involved in the project from concept to completion. It has been exciting to work across all phases of the projects and understand what is required at these different stages.

Photographer: Lee Marshall

Knowles Palmer Sports Day 2023

Last week, Knowles hosted a thrill-seeking, action packed day at Palmer Sports to celebrate and connect with teams, clients, and friends from across our industry.

Hosted at the famous Bedford Autodrome, and founded by former professional racing driving Jonathan Palmer, three teams were selected to race and battle for a range of prizes. Competitive streaks came out and pedals were put to the metal on what was an incredibly exciting (albeit slightly wet) day of driving.

The teams all had the opportunity to race a Formula 3000, a Caterham Seven, the Palmer JP-LM, a BMW M4 GTP, a Land Rover Defender, the Sodi GT5 Karts and the new Ginetta G56 GTA – a collection unique to Palmer Sports.

Team Redbull

Pat Kilbane

Megan Steele-Knowles

Stuart Fanti – Ascot Design

James Forrest Lines – LXA

Sergio Panayi – Corrigan Gore

Daniel Curtin – KSR Architects

Ricky Bika – RBA

Darren Price – ADAM Architecture

Stuart McLauchlan – SHH Architects

Freddie Rowland – Regency Grove

Bernard Van Jaarsveld – Webster Hart

Matt Beer – Yiangou

Team Mercedes

Mark Haslam

Philip Wright – Redbook

Kyle Cummings – Ascot Design

Charley Lacey – Marek Wojciechowski Architects

Chris Wills – Ascot Design

Andrew Inchley – Yiangou

Sam Cook – KSR Architects

Paul Fitzpatrick – Regency Grove

Nick Walton – Walton Wagner

Michael Welbourne – Corrigan Gore

Andrew Tindale Paul – Webster Hart

Steve Tyldesley

Team Williams

Robin Knowles

William Evans – HBA Residential

Robert Cox – ADAM Architecture

Justin Bamford – Colliers

Kees Van Der Sande – Formation Architects

Warren Joseph – Ascot Design

Neil Perry – Anderson Orr

Paul Griffths 

Neil Hogan – SHH Architects

George Chilton – Webster Hart

Dan Firth

Winners

Congratulations to all our winners of the day:

Driver of the Day – William Evans

Fastest overall team – Team Williams

Fastest in a  Formula 3000 – George Chilton

Fastest in a  Palmer JP-LM – Robert Cox

Fastest in a  Ginetta G56 GTA – Dan Firth

Fastest in a  BMW M4 GTP – Stuart Fanti

Fastest in a  Caterham Seven – Guy Newton

Fastest in a  Land Rover Defender – Charley Lacey

Fastest in a  Caterham Pursuit – Matt Beer

Fastest in a  Sodi GT5 Karts – William Evans

Thank you to all that attended and here’s to 2024!