Post-UKREiiF: Our Directors’ Insights


In May, we attended UKREiiF, held at the Royal Armouries Leeds and Leeds Dock. Directors Kriston Harvey, Howel Morris, Kully Toor, and associate director Matt Harrison were in attendance, networking and forging new connections within the sector and representing our infrastructure engineering, geo-environmental engineering, structural engineering and transport planning capabilities respectively.

UKREiiF connects the public sector, investors, funders, developers and end-users to bring about regeneration and development across the UK. On the importance of such events, Kully Toor said: “It’s a way of building relationships and speaking to other similar disciplines who are all at these events for the same purpose – new opportunities and networking. This was my first time at UKREiiF and I was impressed with how busy it was and the amount of possibilities presented to everyone within the construction sector.

“I personally came away with several new contacts, liaised with existing clients for other new opportunities and left with lots of interests and promising leads. It was such a worthwhile event to attend.”

Howel Morris said: “This is my first year attending UKREiiF, and my aim was to understand some of the larger regional plans and what infrastructure investment is likely. Being able to hear from clients and other professionals how they see the next 12 months going is incredibly helpful.

“It is important to have been part of such a well-attended event with important speakers discussing generational topics. The insight you gather from spontaneous conversations, pre-planned meetings and industry sessions – it’s all valuable and helps to form part of the picture to move our business forward.”

At UKREiiF, our directors attended a variety of panel sessions about the ongoing challenges and upcoming opportunities within the sector. Examples of sessions attended included the ‘Planning for Places’ panel, the ‘Reimagining Urban Sites’ panel, and sessions held by Western Gateway and the Midlands Engine where Howel heard talks on opportunities in the south-west regarding emerging markets and technologies.

Matt Harrison also attended the session on “Derby’s Olympic Year” held in the Midlands Engine Pavilion. This was particularly relevant as we continue to work on key projects in the city which were discussed by the panelists from St Modwen and St James’s Securities. Due to our ongoing working relationship with Chesterfield Borough Council and Destination Chesterfield, our team was invited to a luncheon with Claire Ward, the newly appointed East Midlands mayor, which Matt attended.

A variety of key stakeholders were met and spoken to over the course of the event through a mixture of planned meetings, fringe events and chance encounters around the city. The importance of our relationships and collaborations within the construction industry cannot be understated, and we value the positive engagement we had with consultants, developers, engineers, local authority regeneration officers and councils such as Swansea, Cardiff and Bristol.

Clients particularly within the north-west region were of priority for Kully to speak to due to our new office in Liverpool. Additionally, Kriston managed to have conversations with several main contractors. With our expertise in geo-environmental engineering, these conversations are useful to support tender bids or value engineering reviews.

Kriston said: “UKREiiF once again served as an important reminder of how wonderfully collaborative this industry is and why this is key to unlocking the potential for development. Relationships are the lifeblood of the construction industry and with so many people in one place, events like UKREiiF make it really easy to spend quality time with new and existing contacts, to establish what will undoubtedly be long-lasting relationships.

“The amazing support that we can all offer to the next generation entering the industry and the value that events like UKREiiF present to them in finding opportunities and establishing relationships cannot be understated.”

Matt adds: “The experience has reiterated one of my personal long known “truths”: talking in person matters. There can never be enough of it. We know dialogue improves mutual understanding, and ultimately leads to better outcomes.

“The UK construction industry clearly has challenges and is always affected by political and economic volatility, but it needs help from both central and local government; better collaboration between local authorities, developers and consultants would likely lead to more effective and efficient progress through planning and into construction.” 

The directors are already looking ahead to next year for UKREiiF 2025, ready to build on the success and potential of this year’s forum. Though the agenda for next year’s forum is far from decided, three things are already firnly on our director’s radar: comfortable shoes, an umbrella, and a reliable weather forecast