Caxtons has again elected to be a sponsor of the Gravesham Business Awards.

On the strength of a buoyant and thriving business community, and a successful inaugural event, Gravesham Borough Council is keen to make this year's awards a celebration of business achievement and enterprise.

According to the Federation of Small Businesses, there were 5.6 million small businesses across the UK at the beginning of 2018 and, together with medium sized enterprises, made up 99.3% of all private sector businesses. And Gravesham is proud to have a substantial number of innovative small businesses within its borough.

Gravesham Borough Council has been astute enough to recognise their worth and encourage and reward their continued presence within the local economy.

Chair of the judging panel, Keith Mason from accountants Barnes Roffe said: "We want to find what is truly outstanding in the local business community and shout about it ...."

The Panic Room, a young business operating in the leisure and entertainment sector were worthy winners of the Business of the Year 2018. They took the title in part because of their impressive growth in a progressively crowded market place .

Other 2018 award winners included Austen Allen Homecare in Northfleet, and Revitalize Health and Fitness Clinic and People's Choice winner was Forget-me-not Vintage and Crafts.

Locally based sponsors and supporters of the 2019 awards include Handelsbanken, law firm Hatten Wyatt, Barnes Roffe, GK Coffee, Gravesham council, Rise Communications, Softforge, University of Greenwich and the KM Media Group.

David Gurton, director and head of Block Management at Caxtons said: "Last year's awards were a positive focus for businesses throughout the borough and, at networking events, we noticed a change – a vivacity - in the mood of Gravesham's business community, which seemed more cohesive and with a common goal to make Gravesham work.

"It's not difficult to showcase some of the best businesses in Gravesham, and I don't envy this year's judging panel their task as I'm sure there will be some very strong contenders in the mix.

"We wish all entrants the very best of luck and look forward to seeing them at next year's Award's Gala, when the winners will be announced."

GBA 2019

Sylvia Meade, chair of the organising committee, foreground, Tony Martin representing Caxtons, third from right with other supporters and sponsors of Gravesham Business Awards 2019

Caxtons is delighted to confirm the appointment of Laura O'Donovan MRICS MA BSc as Senior Building Surveyor in their building services department located in Gravesend.

Having studied Architecture at the University of Wales in Cardiff, Laura graduated with a BSc(Hons), followed by an MA in Design. She continued her studies with a Post Graduate Diploma at the College of Estate Management and qualified as a Chartered Building Surveyor becoming a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in June 2007.

A Chartered Building Surveyor with 14 years' experience in construction consultancy practice, Laura has delivered a variety of new build and refurbishment projects.

She has experience of Traditional, Design & Build and Partnership procurement routes and her role as Principal Surveyor and Project Team Leader with her previous employer, involved the leadership and co-ordination of

projects from inception to completion, working with both developers and local authorities to accomplish development goals.

With effect from 26th November, Laura will head up Caxtons' building department and be involved in developing the variety and extent of works undertaken.

Presently the department focuses on a wide range of Building Surveying disciplines, including planned and reactive maintenance, defect analysis, pre-acquisition surveys, dilapidations, Party Wall Matters, insurance reinstatement cost assessments, bank funded construction and development monitoring, contract administration, CDM co-ordination and project management. Laura will work across the region, in Kent and the South East.

If you would like to contact Laura email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01474 537733. For further information about Caxtons visit www.caxtons.com

Laura ODonovan copy

Laura O'Donovan

There was a great turnout to Caxtons' Residential Block Management Update 2018 at The Princes Suite, Dartford Football Club on 21st November, with many directors of Residential Management Companies, fellow agents, solicitors and other professionals in attendance.

David Gurton, director of Block Management at Caxtons welcomed the assembled audience and outlined an extensive programme for the half-day seminar, then introduced the first speaker, Philip Jones.

Phil, who is a Chartered Member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health and a partner of Quantum Compliance, updated the delegates on current fire safety requirements and also provided an insightful review of the recent Dame Judith Hackitt fire safety report into the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Bukola Obadun-Craigs, a Senior Associate at Brethertons Solicitors who specialises in litigation and management in the residential leasehold sector, was second on to the platform and gave an interesting presentation on the exacting responsibilities and legal obligations of directors of residents' management companies as well as covering both service charge demands and 'Section 20' consultation.

There was a short break for coffee, which was followed by a compelling briefing from Chartered Insurance Broker,

Jason Oldham from Morrison Insurance Solutions, who gave the low-down on Directors and Officers Insurance; dealing with major claims; the impact of escape of water and the importance of terrorism cover. There was much note taking during the final part of Jason's talk!

The last speaker was Tony Martin, Caxtons' Head of Block Management who covered what clients should look for and expect from a good block managing agent. Tony explained the importance of budgeting, including for major works; the effect of service charge arrears on cash flow; client money protection; day-to-day management and site visits; compliance obligations; the company secretary role and much more besides.

There was a final, busy Q&A session with David facilitating and all the speakers taking questions from the floor. A buffet lunch rounded off the morning when delegates were then able to talk to the experts on a one-to-one basis. And what did the audience think of the event:

o ..an interesting, diverse range of speakers ..
o ..very useful information ..
o ..very knowledgeable and assured ..
o ..good level of detail, not too technical ..
o ..excellent! ..

Block Seminar 1
 
Speakers (l to r): Jason Oldham, Tony Martin, David Gurton, Bukola Obadun-Craigs and Phil Jones
 
Block Seminar 2

Thoughtful delegates