Richard de Klerk takes the helm at Occupier Services

Here are some quick insights from Richard De Klerk, our Head of Projects in Profica Occupier Services. He shares his thoughts on the benefits of a streamlined Design & Build service and the key emerging trends as workplaces evolve and respond to the impact of COVID-19.

How did you start your career in the property industry?

I’ve always had a passion for the built environment and seeing the physical realisation of a design concept upon construction completion. Following completion of my studies in the early 2000’s, I began work as a Construction Manager in the UK and ended up spending 15 years working in the London fit-out industry.

What does your new role at Profica entail?

As Head of Projects for our Occupier Services division, I have direct oversight of our live OS projects within South Africa, as well as those extending into the various African regions. I work closely with our global clients, both new and repeat, to ensure that the projects are set up correctly from the outset, and provide support to our team of talented project managers through the delivery phase of the project.

What are some of the key projects you’ve worked on for Profica?

Since starting with Profica in 2017, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in projects for a number of our key clients. These include Mastercard, Amazon, Oracle and AIG to name a few.

What are the key benefits of a streamlined Design & Build service?

The key benefits of a Design & Build service offering to our Clients are savings in both time and cost. Construction procurement by way of a traditional route can be a lengthy process and by bringing the consultant and contracting team under the same banner, this can be shortened considerably. It also allows the client a single point of contact to take responsibility for their project from inception to completion.

What differentiates Profica’s Occupier Services division?

We have a great team of talented designers, quantity surveyors and project managers. I think our main strength is our ability to engage collaboratively with our clients to better understand their needs and through this interpretation, realise their vision in the end product.

Can you outline key emerging trends in Occupier Services in South Africa, and across Africa, as we start to emerge from the Pandemic?

It’s no secret that the pandemic has been a game changer in the corporate real estate market. We’re seeing a lot of our clients downsize to more agile work premises as they deal with the fact that more of their employees continue to work on a flexi-time basis, even as we see a gradual return to offices post-lockdown.

What are the greatest challenges the industry is dealing with right now, and how are they being addressed?

I think the economy on a whole is facing huge challenges and these manifest themselves in all industries. For construction, we need to see the investment in infrastructure development as promised by the Government as part of their economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.

What is your vision for Occupier Services at Profica?

To build on our client-centric approach and become a major player in the Occupier Services market, both in South Africa and further afield.

How would you like to see the industry change in the next ten years?

It would be great to see the benefits that advancements in technology bring to the industry. We’re already seeing this through the capabilities of BIM and the like.

What really inspires you?

Good architecture. This is so often overlooked by the general public who don’t often think about all the elements that make it good. But good architecture enhances our daily lives in ways that we wouldn’t necessarily predict or expect.

What are you good at, outside of work?

I’m a keen wood-worker.

What surprising thing about you would we not find on your LinkedIn Profile?

I love football and I am a huge Spurs fan!

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