[vc_row][vc_column][templatera id="562"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width="stretch_row" content_placement="middle" css=".vc_custom_1524424290580{margin-top: -50px !important;padding-top: -15px !important;background-color: #013b7a !important;}"][vc_column][mpc_button preset="preset_1" url="url:https%3A%2F%2Fstorey-homes.co.uk%2Fnews%2F|||" font_preset="preset_19" font_color="#ffffff" font_transform="none" font_align="left" title="Show House Article - ``With Katy Jordan``" icon="typcn typcn-arrow-back" icon_color="#ffffff" icon_size="30" icon_effect="stay-left" icon_gap="10" padding_divider="true" margin_divider="true" margin_css="margin-top:-15px;"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][mpc_textblock preset="preset_0" content_width="100" font_preset="preset_15"]Michael Dineen meets Storey Homes' managing director, a quantity surveyor whose attention to detail is proving invaluable to the small housebuilder

Quantity surveying is a tough discipline - tough to master and very tough on all the other toilers in housebuilding. Katy knows all about this because she comes from a family of quantity surveyors, and to keep up with them she obtained a university degree in the subject three years after leaving school.

"With father and uncle in construction it was a natural decision to follow suit - but I wasn't very good at maths."

You have to get used to Jordan's disarming candour. She speaks her mind and clearly knows what she wants out of a day's work.[/mpc_textblock][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image source="featured_image" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][mpc_textblock preset="preset_0" content_width="100" font_preset="preset_15"]Today she is the first managing director of Storey Homes, a housebuilder based in Milton Keynes. She leads a small team answerable to brothers Mark and Matthew Storey who head M&M Supplies, the leading food trading concern.

Storey Homes arose because the Storey brothers had invested in enough vacant local building plots to be called a land bank, and decided eventually to build a few homes on them.

What they were lacking, until recently - apart from housebuilding experience - was someone capable of running this show for them, from soup to nuts; someone with the executive experience, and the firm discipline of a quantity surveyor, someone to keep an eye on costs as well as the building.

They found her, and the attraction of the job for Jordan was that the brothers gave her complete autonomy - something she'd been wanting for decades.

"When I left university I went straight into a job as a graduate estimator with Countryside Properties. It was a very good firm to work for. I liked it very much from 1994 to 2006, by which time I was development director: but also by then, I was discovering that the higher up the corporate ladder you got the greater was the pressure. Numbers. Numbers. Numbers. And it was all taking its toll.

"Then there was a management buy-out, but I wasn't given a chance to be part of the buy-back and it made me ask, well how much do you really value me? It was all too impersonal in the corporate world."

So she quit and set up her own consultancy. And she hasn't been tempted in the past decade to go back into employment with a plc.

She told me this with cheerful, rather than grim satisfaction.

As a consultant, she was able to form an outsider's view of construction and housebuilding. It was not flattering,

"I realised I was in big demand among small and medium-sized contractors and housebuilders who were going downhill fast during the recession of 2007. I was surprised at how poor their skill base was. I'd been used to diligence at work, careful and hardworking, and there was precious little of these in the companies I advised."

Admittedly, she looked good-humoured when she spelt this out to me, but I still caught a steely note of QS in her voice.

In the village of housebuilding, it was inevitable that someone with Jordan's experience would eventually be introduced to an outfit that wanted her to move in permanently.

Messrs Storey had taken their infant housebuilding wing as far as they could, as a sideline.

"Their big selling point as far as I was concerned was the complete autonomy deal. I thought it was unusual to get that - on someone else's money.

"But when you come from QS, everything is about risk management, budgetary and control: and I took on everything, all the jobs. I'm definitely a hands-on MD.

"There were a few staff already there - but they didn't really seem to understand the new standards they now had to work to. They thought I would go down to their level."

Not surprisingly, quite a lot of them decided to leave; Jordan then started building her new team.

"My first appointment was a commercial manager to head up our estimating and surveying, then came a technical manager on projects, a construction manager, office manager and land manager. I do the sales and marketing."

When I met Jordan at Milton Keynes her team was just six in the office and three onsite - enough to handle Storey Homes present programme, building mostly family homes selling at around £300,000 in Bedfordshire, Herts and Bucks. It builds one-bedroom flats and five-bedroom luxury homes too.

"We are quite flexible and we like market towns, the middle ground and what we build sells well. Next year we plan to build and sell 44 new homes and then settle down to a yearly average of about 50. But we have land to spare and this could increase."

Milton Keynes is a competitive area for housebuilders to operate in. The city celebrated its 50th anniversary the day I was there. Not much sign of bunting, but most of the leading housebuilders have been there since the beginning, and nearly everyone finds the local planners agreeable to deal with.

"The planners are fine, but there's still quite a lot of nimbyism here - among the councillors. They slow things up."

This is a fast-moving Storey worth following.[/mpc_textblock][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][templatera id="595"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][templatera id="693"][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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