The Man Who Smooths the Way for City's Growth; Tony McDonough Meets ANDREW STEVENSON, Senior Partner for David Langdon Q&A

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony McDonough

IT COULD be said that Andrew Stevenson and his team are among the unsung heroes of Liverpool's economic resurgence.

Developers and property companies like Neptune, Downing, Iliad, Space, Grosvenor, Milligan and organisations such as the Mersey Partnership and Liverpool Vision tend to be names people associate with regeneration.

However, putting together a major infrastructure development requires a whole range of skills, and this is where companies like David Langdon come in.

Senior partner Stevenson describes the firm as a "multi-disciplinary construction consultancy".

And while the average man in the street may not have heard of them, their expertise is proving crucial in some of Mersey side's biggest regeneration schemes.

These include the refurbishment of St George's Hall, Grosvenor's Paradise Street Project, Kings Waterfront, St Paul's Square, Edge Lane redevelopment, and the new cruise liner terminal.

"We look after projects and cost management which means we help developers make sure their projects are successful," said Stevenson. "Most clients can do without projects because they just want to get on with running their core business.

"If you were developing a school the schoolteachers want to get on with teaching kids, and if you manufacture widgets that is what you want to do. You don't necessarily want to run a building project. That is where we come in."

Despite being born and bred in Rochdale, spending his early working years in Manchester and describing himself as "another sort of Red", 48-year-old Stevenson now loves Liverpool so much he claims he wouldn't want to work anywhere else.

He arrived in the city eight years ago and, although he claims he wasn't apprehensive about coming to Merseyside, he must have initially looked around and wondered what he was walking in to.

He said: "I remember driving down Duke Street on the boundary of the Ropewalks area when I first arrived. In some parts it looked like Dresden. Now you drive down the same street and it is completely different.

"At that time there were very few tower cranes to be seen. A pounds 10m project then was a big deal. Now this office alone is dealing with more than pounds 1bn of construction projects.

"There is a confidence about the city now which has probably never been seen in the past.

"One of the first things I worked on when I came here was the Boulevard Industry Park in Speke. That is just about completed now with about 1m sq ft of industrial space created.

"Objective 1 has been a major factor because projects have happened that wouldn't have otherwise gone ahead. Success, of course, will be gauged when Objective 1 is no longer needed, and I think we are getting nearer to that."

Stevenson left school at 18 and was keen to get to work as soon as possible. A friend of the family was a quantity surveyor and he decided, after just one chat, that was the career for him.

"I decided I didn't want to be doing a job where I was just stuck behind a desk all day. So I wrote off for several jobs and started work at a small practice in Manchester," he said.

Three-and-half years later her left to join the architectural department of Manchester City Council working on housing projects and a variety of other public works. …