Could you tell us your name, how long you’ve been at Denbury Homes and your job title?
Hi, I’m Stephen. I joined back in 2006, so have been with the company during its transition from Hopkins & Moore to Denbury Homes when it was renamed last January.
After six years spent gaining experience and refining my skills as an Architect Technician at Suffolk-based Wincer Kievenaar Architects, I discovered more about what I enjoyed and found a real interest in new build housing. That’s what led me to the role I am in now, I progressed from a Cad Technician to an Architectural Technician and Project Coordinator to a Technical Coordinator at Hopkins Homes, before taking the role of Technical Manager with Denbury Homes.
Talk me through your career journey and how that led to becoming a Technical Manager.
I left school in 1998 with not much of an idea of what I wanted to do. My dad was already in the construction industry and encouraged me to take up a course at college.
I completed a two-year Higher National Certificate in Construction at Suffolk College. After this, I began as a trainee at Wincer Kievenaar Architects whilst studying for a Higher National Diploma. During that time, I found out what I enjoyed whilst gaining important skills and hands-on experience.
Both the course and practical work there informed my passion, enabling me to work my way up to my current role as a Technical Manager at Denbury Homes.
A local architecture organisation sounds interesting! What made you leave and choose Denbury Homes?
It was interesting for sure. There, I learned about myself and the area I wanted to pursue due to the whole range of aspects I could dip into, from small extensions to huge commercial projects. I preferred drawing plans for new builds, as I enjoy the variation and working with different property types
I found my passion; I just needed to choose the right place. Denbury Homes (Hopkins Homes at the time) was the perfect fit. The product is what sets them apart from other developers. Before joining Denbury Homes, I already knew of its well-respected status as a quality housebuilder and have always appreciated the look of a Denbury home.
That seems to be echoed throughout the team and leads me beautifully to my next question… What does the Denbury Difference mean to you?
It’s the quality of our homes that stand as a testimony to the people who care, who work hard, and who work together behind the scenes. In our small team, we help one another; every colleague you meet is committed and wants to be part of the story, which results in a product that is of exceptional quality.
We work hard but we’ve fostered a great work-life balance, which is driven by our company culture. A friendly, warm environment has been cultivated by an open-plan office, flexibility and lots of fun activities to get involved in. It’s easy to converse between departments when everyone is on the same page.
How does the technical team interact with other departments such as land or marketing?
The technical team feeds into every department. We handle each aspect of the construction process from the planning and design stage to selling the home. That means cooperation is important.
We’re involved in carrying out appraisals at the land stage; overseeing the production of drawings once the land is with the design team and when it progresses to planning, and we liaise with site managers about the technical aspects as the build is underway. We also work with the sales team to provide conveyancing plans whilst handling and consulting solicitors.
The Denbury Difference, and how the entire team is intertwined in working towards the same vision makes that process easier, whilst the open-plan office also helps!
This communication leads to a final result crafted with creativity and care, delivering artful homes that we are all proud of.
What challenges is Denbury Homes facing as a housebuilder in the current climate?
Tighter building regulations that have come into force do provide a challenge, however, we don’t see it like that. It’s an opportunity for us to evolve so that we are continually providing exceptional homes. As part of the technical team, I’m tasked with ensuring we meet regulations.
Our high standards mean we are always on the lookout for emerging trends and changing environments, and we’ve been working on enhancing our sustainable credentials for some time. We’re strengthening our zero-carbon technologies by installing electric vehicle charging points, air-source heat pumps and sustainable fabric. I’m proud to say that I work for a firm whose homes are both aesthetically and environmentally pleasing, where I’ve met and worked with some incredible people along the way.