In 2009 we started working from Chatham Maritime, but have since moved the company Head Quarters and spiritual home, to Rochester. I bought a Georgian town house which is a lovely building and has a great atmosphere. We are often asked about the origin’s of the name BB7. I founded the firm on SEVEN guiding principles which describe what we want to embody and the unique character, spirit and identity that is BB7.
My dream is bigger than I am, and I knew I needed great people to help me. My good friend, Steve Michael who I often introduce as “the nicest bloke on the planet” joined me, closely followed by another good buddy of mine, Dominic Way and my cousin Thomas Bradford who didn’t have a choice. What a journey it has been, I’m still learning and still have a passion for what I do, what we do and the built environment professions. Plus I am completely blessed and indeed flattered to have so many great people contributing, supporting the vision and embracing those seven values.
In 2010 I started thinking about fire risk management and wondering what a “management approach” actually meant, this led to the authorship of British Standard’s publication PAS 7: 2013 – Fire risk management systems specification. Then in 2014, Chartered Engineer, James Lane opened our Huntingdon Office in beautiful Cambridgeshire and began building our client base in the central and eastern region of the United Kingdom.
In 2015 we opened our Warrington office and began building our client base in the North West. This office is now headed by Mark Egan and has a really nice mix of Fire safety design, engineering, specialist surveying and risk management capability. The office in now at full capacity and I am particularly pleased at the breadth and depth of skills we now have in Warrington.
In January 2016 Chartered Engineer Dominic Way opened our Glasgow Office in Washington Street, Glasgow and since then has been working on projects the entire length and breadth of Scotland. Working on the Scottish National Galleries was a highlight.
In 2017 Chartered Engineer, William Ward opened our Dublin office in Dublin 2. Notable projects include something exciting for Irish Railways and also two large technology projects for clients whom we are not allowed to mention due to NDA’s. Let’s just say they are iconic brands. Then 2017 was also the year I became the 70th President and Chairman of the Board of Chartered Association of Building Engineers and also ran the London Marathon for Engineers without Borders and Action against Hunger, which was one of the greatest days of my life. My time was 4.5 hours and having lost a stone in weight and worked my butt off I was pleased with that. I’m not built like a runner, that’s for sure.
In 2018 Chartered Security Professional, Stuart Williams opened our West Country office in Weston Super-Mare. This is an office I am quite proud of. I wanted to offer our clients a service that enabled the seamless integration of fire and security services throughout the entire building life-cycle and I am proud to say this is now available. We are delivering fire and security services for a Welsh rail project and we have a number of large international projects in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, St Lucia and potentially Uzbekistan. We’ve recently been delivering and managing blast engineering services and I am proud to say we are a SABRE licensed company.
2019 has been a big year too. Chartered Engineer, Ray Quinn joined us and opened an office in Belfast, plus we completed the acquisition of Omega Fire which gained us a strong team in Manchester and a growing team in Leeds. The integration has taught us a lot too which has been valuable.
PAS 7 transitioned to BS 9997: 2019 – Fire risk management system requirements and we made all sorts of structural changes to how the company is run. Following investment from BGF appointed John Horgan as Chairman of the Board. To ensure we remain a practice based business rather than a business based practice we appointed Sir Ken Knight as Non-Executive Adviser and Chairman of our Professional Advisory Board (PAB).
BGF backing was a defining moment for us. Their patient capital investment and backing was an arduous process and it means we are a financially stable, resilient business with the backing to push forward and realize our vision. As we enter our 10th year in 2020, I am proud of the company we have become. Our Board, and Management team now provide leadership to a head count approaching 100 via nine regional offices throughout the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Below is an introduction to our management team.
We are also doing a lot of thinking about succession planning with our Seniors and Associates who will become the Leaders of tomorrow. I’ve enjoyed the journey so far. I am just as passionate about the profession and our role in contributing to the profession and wider built environment. On the 7th January 2020 we will be launching our new website and we have re-visited our branding to ensure it captures the company we have become. Our new brand is all about “The power of 7”. We were founded on seven guiding principles, and we work throughout seven stages of the building life cycle. We were the principle authors of PAS 7, that pioneered the concept of systems thinking for strategic fire risk management which this year became BS 9997, and as we re-brand and move forward our new brand will include 7 different sevens, and 7 different colors. It’s kinda quirky and kinda fun.
I want to say thank you to all the clients that have put faith in our expertise and our experience. I want to say thank you to our peers in the profession that have embraced us and collaborated with us with a view to making a safer future. I want to say thank you to all the people at BB7 (You know who you are) and there are far too many to mention. You are contributing and helping us build an enduring company with a purpose.
The last ten years has been a journey but now we have grown up and come of age. That was just the warm up.
There is work for us to do. The systematic failure within the construction industry, geopolitical tensions, and climate change are the biggest challenges facing our built environment, nationally and globally. We have a role to play and will continue to focus on excellence through engineering to create a safer, more secure, resilient world.
Thank you once again. To all those who have contributed, supported and encouraged us on this journey. Also a big thank you to BGF. They are great partners and nice people, providing patient capital for us to continue our journey.