Q&A with our Construction Director
In the space of 14 years Kris Beasley has gone from pushing a wheelbarrow and heaving bricks to overseeing multi-million pound contracts for Stonewood. He’s one of many people in the company who have been encouraged to develop their skills and progress up the ladder.
Hi Kris, what is your role at Stonewood Partnerships? I’m Construction Director.
What does your job involve? My role is to ensure projects run on time and to budget, that means liaising with every facet of a development and working with the site managers to bring everything together. The key thing is to make sure the beautiful homes we build meet the highest standards and that they are finished when we say they will be.
Your whole working life has been at Stonewood? I’m 32 now, I started here when I was 18.
And was construction always your dream job? Not at all! I knew (Managing Director) Matt Aitkenhead and (Commercial Director) Ben Lang through playing cricket and while I was thinking about going to university they asked me to come and labour for them. I soon understood Matt and Ben’s vision for Stonewood and they convinced me that I could have a good career here, so I came to work for them full time.
And you worked your way up the company quite quickly? Within two years I was an apprentice studying brick-laying at Wiltshire College in Trowbridge and three years after that I was taking courses in site management. Matt and Ben showed real faith in me and I wanted to repay that by gaining as much knowledge of the job as I could. It wasn’t long before I was given my first site to run and progressed quickly to running up to five at once as Contracts Manager.
So instead of bearing the weight of a hod full of bricks you were shouldering the responsibility of big contracts? Yes, some of them were worth up to £4 million but, as I said, Matt and Ben showed faith in me and gave me confidence, and they were always there to talk things through. The company is really supportive, they let you get on and do the job, but they are always there with advice and want to know how it is going.
You’ve seen the job from ground up, doing the dirtiest and most unglamorous jobs on cold, wet days, that must be useful when overseeing multi-million pound contracts? It really is. I’ve had first-hand experience of every job on site and coming from pushing a wheelbarrow to being in overall charge really helps me understand the process. I know the ins and outs of what it’s like and the problems you can get, so I know how to resolve them quickly.
There must be more pressure now though? Of course we want to get everything right and there is a need to be on time and on budget, but Matt and Ben are just the same now as when we were playing cricket together. They want to win but they are really behind you and they make work fun. The fact Stonewood is so successful shows that that approach works.
You are proof of the company’s ethos of developing talent and reaping the rewards of looking after the people that work there. What is the secret of why so many people stay at Stonewood? This company is full of amazing people with an energetic and enthusiastic attitude. There’s also a huge amount of loyalty. You can’t help but be inspired by all your colleagues when they are so proud of what they are doing and how committed they are to building top quality projects.
How do you feel about the new role at Stonewood Partnerships and how much of a challenge is it for you? I’m really excited about the role. From my history in the construction industry, I know that it throws different challenges at you on a daily basis but it’s what keeps it so interesting. We have a great team here and I’m looking forward to being a part of it and working through these challenges. It will be exciting to help Stonewood Partnerships establish itself as a successful and well respected development company.
How excited are you about Somerbrook, Stonewood’s first development at Brook Farm in Great Somerford, and what can potential customers expect to see there? It will be our flagship site, so we feel it’s really important to set a marker and reach a standard we can be proud of. What we hope will set us apart from other developers is the specification of the housing both internally and externally. We’re really trying to give our customers products not normally associated with a typical new build development. I am sure they will value the traditional building methods which will fit in well in the surrounding location of Great Somerford. We want our site to integrate well into the village with a real feel of rural living, while finding the balance of a modern lifestyle.
To find out more and register your interest in the new homes available in Great Somerford, you can send us your details.