Lewis Brown

"I like how my role varies day-to-day as no two sites are the same. Each has different constraints which require different solutions..."

Job Title: Land Negotiator

Studied: National Diploma in Construction; Degree in Planning and Development BSc (Hons) at Nottingham Trent University

Employer: Croudace Homes Limited

Job: Land Negotiator

About my job

What does your department do?

The primary role of the Land Department is to acquire land for residential development. We seek land from multiple sources including landowners and agents. Land ranges hugely from greenfield to brownfield sites, all of which have different constraints and opportunities.

The department acquirer land by formulating justified and competitive offers. Offers must meet the requirements of Croudace whilst remaining competitive and appealing to the landowner.

Land is responsible for creating comprehensive due-diligence packs which are presented to the Board as supporting documents prior to any acquisition.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

On a day-to-day basis I will produce planning and development appraisals which inform my valuation of a site. Planning appraisals include examination of Local and National Planning Policy, previous planning applications, supporting documents and discussions with the Local Planning Authority. Development appraisals focus on the technical side of the proposed scheme. The development appraisal requires information to be collated from multiple places such as soil consultants, service providers, land and building surveys and many other sources.

I use the two appraisals to create a proposed scheme and a build estimate of the proposed site. The build estimate is the total build cost of a scheme.

My role also requires me to be out of the office to:

  • View sites – this is our opportunity to understand the area and the site itself and decide whether it meets the requirements of Croudace.
  • Sales work – this includes visiting Local Estate Agents to collect information of past sales within the area. This information is used to value our units on a proposed scheme. 
  • Networking – Networking is a vital part of the Land Department. Networking ensures landowners and agents are aware of Croudace, our requirements and our hunger for land.

With the above information I determine the value of a site using a residual valuation approach which I present to the Board.

What do you like about what you do?

I like how my role varies day-to-day due to no two sites being the same. Each site has different constraints which require different solutions whether it is a former gas works requiring extensive remediation or a greenfiled site located within the Greenbelt which requires release from a Local Planning Authority’s Local Plan.

Another benefit of my role is that I am not purely office based. I enjoy meeting new people and promoting Croudace. I enjoy looking at land, what it has been, what it is and what it could be.

Why did you choose this career?

My initial interest in construction was sparked from following my dad as he built various structures. I was always more of a ‘hands on guy’ and with my interest in construction, decided to undertake a National Diploma in Construction as to A-Levels. This course is where I was first introduced to property development (commercial and residential) and the possibilities that existed to create successful and progressive changes within the built environment.

I decided at this point that I wanted to be the person that is able to identify opportunities and enable them to happen.

What qualifications did you need to get this job?

I undertook a National Diploma in Construction which gave me my base knowledge for my BSc (Hons) in Planning and Development which I undertook at Nottingham Trent University.

Is there any particular advice you would give to someone looking for a career in your area of work?

Don’t be afraid to call companies with an aim of securing work experience. Work experience is what will set you apart from others and support you in your studies.

Questions & Answers

What hobbies or interests do you have?

My hobbies range, however generally rotate around some sort of sport. At the current time I am training for a 20 km obstacle course. I also mountain bike and occasionally play squash.

When I‘m not training, I’ll generally be visiting new places, dining out and socialising.

What’s your favourite type of music?

It ranges from country to drum & bass to rock.

What’s your favourite film / film genre?

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, a nice classic.

Where’s your favourite place to go on holiday?

Very difficult question which depends on the type of holiday, however, at the current point a road trip around North America tops it. What I loved about my road trip was the fact you can see everything changing as you cross the county including, the weather, the land, plants and most notably the culture.

I hope to have a road trip in South America over the next couple of years which I believe could top the North!