Five Minutes With… Chris Lawrence
After an encouraging start to his urbanbubble career, Chris Lawrence has plenty to say about his skills as a Property Manager.
Tell us about your role at urbanbubble
Being a Property Manager plants me in the hot seat for major projects; the kind that I’d only assisted with before. Andrea Hall, my manager, acts as the conduit for the role, which encompasses both the financial and planned/reactive maintenance sides of the business. I look after the sites in our portfolio, ensuring they are clean, functioning and – if they’re in the early stages of development – on target with a build or renovation schedule.
Each site has a director, whom I know well and liaise with regularly. I note down what they need, as well as discuss with leaseholders if they require an update. Developments can range from a few-thousand-pound valuation to well over a million, so knowing what I’m in control of really matters. I currently have 18 buildings under my management, with a total of 1,500 apartments.
How long have you been with urbanbubble?
I’ve been with urbanbubble for three years. When I started, the organisation was half the size; it’s been incredible to see everything grow, yet stay the same, in many respects.
What’s your background?
Before I joined the team, I was in sales and lettings – perhaps the closest you can get to blockproperty management without actually doing it! I’m also a fully qualified surveyor. These elements strengthened my aptitude for the urbanbubble ethos, meaning I have confidence in understanding what a building needs, as well as its place in the residential market.
It took two years to make the leap from Assistant to Property Manager. In the last six months, after I found my feet with 700 flats or so initially, my portfolio has doubled.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
It’s a very close call – no two days are ever the same, but I also love the people I work alongside. On Monday I could be strategizing a budget; the next, fixing a leak; by Wednesday and Thursday, I’ve seen to faulty car park gates, or finished major amendments to a Grade II-listed site. Then we have Good News Friday at the end of each month, where beers are thrown in as people take turns presenting others’successes.
When you’re not at work, how do you unwind?
In my spare time, I play 11-a-side football with urbanbubble in the Manchester business league. We’ve won one league already and are closing in on a second trophy after promotion. I also enjoy swimming, or any gym workouts. Aside from that, I watch movies and cook with my girlfriend. She knows I’m a tad better than her!