Meet the Building Surveyor: a conversation with Thomas Holt

26th April 2024

Meet the Building Surveyor: a conversation with Thomas Holt

Stonewest News

Introducing Thomas Holt, a Building Surveyor specialising in Built Heritage, who joined the Stonewest team last year. Thomas’s appointment further strengthens the Stonewest Consultancy offering and the scope of works and expertise we are able to deliver to our Clients.

We understand the importance and benefits of delivering specialised input at the early planning and design stages of a project’s development. Getting this right is imperative to its ultimate success. Here, Thomas tells us about his role on the Stonewest team.

What is your role at Stonewest and what do you deliver for Clients?

I work as an in-house building surveyor, delivering the consultancy service offered by Stonewest. I assist Clients to identify fabric defects and develop project scopes of work via the delivery of survey assessment and reporting. I routinely produce buildings and structures condition assessments with detailed schedules of work, annotated drawings and photographic appendices. Our consultancy offering can range from a single site visit and discussion, all the way to a fully detailed scope of works for tendering purposes.  I also manage our ancillary services, which include: structural assessment, 3D laser scanning, use of drones and MEWPs, materials analysis, fabric assessment and testing and materials sourcing and matching.

Tell us about your expertise, what skills do you bring to the team?

Since the outset of my career, I have predominantly worked in the conservation of historic buildings. My work relies upon an understanding of traditional building and structures pathology. My varied background as a building surveyor has provided me with knowledge regarding a range of professional surveying services, as well as investigative consultancy and materials analysis. I utilise various minimally invasive methods of inspection and assess and identify replacement materials for use in historic contexts.  I also produce technical reports, which clearly record and present relevant defects and methods of repair for the benefit of our Clients.

What does Consultancy mean to Stonewest and how do you support your Clients?

Our consultancy service exists to provide added value for our Clients. We are delivering clear information regarding the condition of Client assets, with recommendations for their upkeep, maintenance, retrofit, intervention and adaptation or repair. One benefit of delivering this consultancy service from a position at Stonewest, is that our Estimating Department may also provide accurate and competitive costs and budgetary input.

How has the Stonewest Consultancy services and survey offering been enhanced?

The quality of Stonewest consultancy services has always been high, with a professional approach to the survey and delivery of comprehensive reliable documentation. We are now capable of delivering full envelope surveys, in addition to advice and support regarding masonry structures (whether traditionally constructed or modern in nature). We are becoming more involved in adaptation and re-use of existing assets, which is in keeping with our approach to the sustainability of our building stock. We are able to advise on adaptive re-use, as well as more common scheme of proactive maintenance which we recommend. Our survey reports and associated schedules of work are delivered with items prioritised by order of importance, giving timescales for repair to allow our Clients to plan and manage the care of their assets in a practical and financially viable way. All documentation is delivered with illustrative annotated Orthomosaics, CAD drawings, sections and plans, to provide Clients with clear information which enables a spatial understanding and the extent of necessary repair or intervention.

What services are you delivering currently and will this develop as the role grows?

We are currently working on some exciting projects such as the development of a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) and 10-year maintenance plan for a large Grade I listed historic site in central London working in partnership with a leading international consultancy. We are also working on options appraisals for careful interventions and maintenance to listed masonry bridges, churches, alongside conservation accredited Structural Engineers. Futureproofing buildings including environmental improvements is also becoming more prominent in our current work. As this role develops, I hope to form strong partnerships with key practitioners in the field to deliver robust, sustainable strategies for the future management of our Built Heritage assets.

Tell us about some of the projects you’ve worked on since joining the team?

I have had the opportunity to work on a great range of projects since joining the team in 2023. Further to the above, we have provided consultancy input at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Tower of London and for ongoing projects on the Parliamentary Estate. I am currently providing recommendations for repairs required at a large former Theatre and now planned events venue, which was on the Heritage at Risk Register. I’m also providing a 10-year plan of maintenance advice for a 16th century group of Grade I listed Almshouses. My project work is varied and national and requires me to keep up to date in my understanding and knowledge of approaches to the care of these rare historic assets.

Stonewest is known for quality, dependability and innovation, how will you ensure this continued in your delivery of Consultancy services?

I chose to join Stonewest because of the company’s longstanding service within the heritage sector and the wealth of knowledge amongst its existing employees. The consultancy offering provided by Stonewest benefits from this collective knowledge and all reporting undergoes a peer-review process, ensuring the delivery of sound and up to date, practical advice. Building surveyors are problem solvers by nature,so I hope to aid our existing team to continue to find and deliver innovative solutions to progress Clients’ projects and add value.

Read here for more information about Stonewest Consultancy services.