The firm’s executive director on developing the surveying and construction consultancy, the vital importance of teamwork and two industry characters who have impressed and inspired him 

Paul Belfield-0947 Cropped

Paul Belfield joined Rund in 2012 and is now executive director

Why did you choose construction as a career?

I have always had a passion for buildings and the built environment, which led to wanting to be an architect when I left school. During my late teens, however, I had aspirations to become a property developer and decided surveying might help me on this journey.

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

Becoming an executive director of Rund in 2023 and my development of Rund’s profile in the build to rent (BTR) sector. It is exciting to be a leading consultant and I would say we are now known as an expert in the field, with a solid portfolio of experience offering a range of services for funders and BTR operators.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career to date?

Taking on the challenge to build a London office and develop the business in the capital. When I joined the London office in 2012, it was me and one other in a small, serviced office. London now has a team of about 40 and we have added a Birmingham and Bristol office too, which I am now focusing on growing.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

I actually have two. My first is dealing with defects sooner. When we hand over a project there are often defects that materialise which need to be resolved. From my experience, this process is always a challenge and can often take time. If I could change the industry so that collaboration was prioritised to achieve the swift resolution of those defects, then I would.

The second is planning. It is very protracted and takes such a long time to develop, even when it makes sense. The planning system needs urgent reform that works with the development process.

What is the most helpful advice that you have been given?

Early on in my career I was taught that integrity matters, and to always remember that it is about teamwork and not all about you.

Name your favourite building in the world?

This is a difficult one to choose, but I do have a favourite building scene when I am driving to our London office, and it is seeing the striking view of The Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) surrounded by trees in the foreground, as I drive alongside Buckingham Palace.

BT Tower

Source: Shutterstock

The BT Tower in Bloomsbury. Soon to be a hotel but lacking in harmony with its surroundings? 

Which famous building do you most dislike?

The BT Tower in London. It doesn’t harmonise with its surroundings, and I prefer building design to be more cohesive with the environment. It is quite topical right now, as it will soon be turned into a hotel. At least this will make something of it, as it isn’t a nice-looking building in my opinion!

Which famous building do you wish you had worked on?

The Battersea Power Station redevelopment. I like historic buildings with a story, and I think it is a fantastic regeneration scheme with character and style. I admire the public realm and the wonderful boulevard street scene that offers so much to residents, visitors, and the local community.

battersea 2

The Battersea Power Station redevelopment: a fantastic regeneration scheme 

What single piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in your profession?

I would pass down the advice I was given about not forgetting the importance of teamwork and collaboration. I cannot stress this enough. At Rund we focus on “building stronger together”. Also, choose a company to work for that will give you real experience and opportunities to get directly involved in projects and clients.

Who do you most admire in the construction industry?

Tony Pidgley, as I really liked his ethos and his developments in life. He was a character and I enjoyed listening not only to what he had to say, but the way he would deliver it.

Liz Peace is another figure in the sector I admire and is someone I would love to have as a mentor. I have met her a couple of times and she is very inspirational in terms of her work and what she has been involved in.

>> Listen now: Home Truths podcast: In conversation with Liz Peace

What is it like being you (and doing your job)?

I am always on the go and like to start my days bright and early. I can be in lots of different places from one day to the next. Often, I’ll be in Southampton, London, Birmingham or Bristol meeting with clients and the team, or elsewhere in the country on site.

I thrive on a busy schedule, so being me can be quite hectic, but I hope I am always personable and approachable as I love what I do and enjoy working with people.

Do you have a life philosophy?

Build strong relationships, be pragmatic, and remember there is no “i” in team. Don’t suffer fools and don’t be fooled.

I think living by these values and beliefs helps to define a true leader and not just a boss. Lastly, TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More.

What do you think your best quality is?

Being positive and understanding, wanting the right approach and right solution.

What trait do you most dislike in yourself? And in other people?

I don’t always have patience and I am very detail orientated. I try to be patient with others, but I am harder on myself and always want to move quickly and efficiently through tasks.

I also like to get to the point. So, when people waffle, I would prefer it if they didn’t.

Name three things that you like

Running, socialising and going for a walk along the beach with the family and the dog.

Tell us about a secret skill that we don’t know you have

I play Padel, which is a great new sport and a fun way to meet people.

What is your most prized possession?

Time is important, so I would say I most value my time and making the most out of it.

Early bird or night owl?

Both. I love getting up and starting the day, even when my morning alarm goes off at 4.20am. I also love going out in the evening with friends and creating memories.

What is your favourite food?

I have two. I love a roast dinner, but like East Asian cuisine also.

What would your superpower be?

I spend a lot of time travelling, so the ability to teleport!