19 January 2021

Gavin Newburn

Gavin Newburn

Fit Out Director Profile

It’s time to introduce you to a few of the fantastic Fado Fit Out Team. Gavin Newburn is the principal director and driving force behind the business.

Gavin has been in the industry for over 22 years. He has extensive experience in delivering projects across the UK across a number of sectors, including education, healthcare, government, and commercial office.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your career:

My career began when I joined a large main contractor – Gilbert-Ash, where I spent the next nine years of my career learning about the industry working on several large healthcare projects and urban mixed-used developments.

To further develop my career I joined Farrans Construction as part of the Building Services team, which led to me heading up the Building Services department and being responsible for growing that team over the last seven years. It was a fantastic team to be part of and I very much enjoyed my time with them. During my time at Farrans, I picked up a BEng in Building Services and a PGDip in Quantity Surveying.

What led to the formation of Fado Fit-Out?

We decided to create a fit out business with one of our close business partners as we felt there is a gap in the market. Fado has been created as a fully integrated joint venture between Farrans and M&E contractor Dowds Group to provide Cat A, Cat B, and refurbishment services throughout the property lifecycle.

As part of my role at Farrans, I was responsible for overseeing the ISO:44001 Collaborative Working collaboration accreditation. It took two years, but we were one of the first contractors in the UK to achieve this. As part of the accreditation, we had to work with one of our supply chain partners to demonstrate this collaborative working, and in this case, it was Dowds.

Having worked together for many years, there is a lot of synergy between the two companies in terms of people, approach and delivery. Therefore, when our clients asked for a separate, dedicated fit-out delivery service, a venture between the Farrans and Dowds team seemed like a natural choice. With dedicated fit-out specialists from each business, Fado is now able to offer a truly integrated fit-out service.

What makes Fado different?

Our team are specialists in the fit-out industry, and we also have a number of in-house skill sets, such as M&E services, that are often contracted out by a number of the traditional Cat A and B fit out contractors.

We also, as a business, have extensive expertise in heavier refurbishment/cut and carve projects, which is again a number of the traditional fit out contractors are not keen to undertake. Many of our team have an M&E background, which we see as a major asset due to the high service content on fit out projects, and this in turn we believe, will benefit our clients.

We also have strong partnerships with joinery and furniture subcontractors and are always actively looking to expand our supply chain to ensure our clients are getting the best value and quality.

What do you see are the key factors to successfully delivering for your clients?

Firstly, having the right supply chain is critical. We work hard to ensure that we have the best subcontractors on board and work collaboratively with them by having regular feedback sessions to capture what went well and what didn’t, and how do we offer certainty to our client/end user.

It’s been said many times before, but unless the whole construction team – from the client to the subcontractor – work collaboratively, the project won’t be a success. Working this way makes delivering projects much more enjoyable to work on for everyone – and the key to gaining repeat business.

What do you see are the main challenges facing the industry at the moment?

The obvious challenge is the one every industry is facing at the moment – making spaces safe for people to get back to work in. There is also the ongoing challenge of designing and constructing truly agile and flexible spaces, which can change quickly for changing purposes. We are currently having these conversations with clients and consultants, and the pandemic has just accelerated this trend. Looking at HVAC systems and workplace topologies that are safe and promote healthy working spaces is something that we have been talking to clients a lot more about.

What is it that attracted you to the construction industry?

It is such a dynamic industry – the only constant is change! And this is what keeps it interesting. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in the industry; there are always new things to learn and new ways of doing things. It also has a reputation for being a fun industry to work in – people work hard but always have a sense of humour about things (mostly anyway!)

I would greatly encourage young people to look at the industry as a viable option for their career, it supports a wide range of skills and allows you to move between roles and disciplines as you develop and grow from a position of technical to a position of strategic.

It doesn’t sound like you have too much time to relax, but what do you when you have some downtime.

Well, I have three kids so that pretty much removes any downtime. We made the decision at lockdown to invest in some chickens, jury still out on my wisdom in this regard. There are many places to explore (and jobs to do) around our house, so we try and get the family out as much as possible.
I am known to grace the 5-a-side football pitch when the opportunity arises, albeit the level of skill seems to be deteriorating, along with general fitness, no comments!