1 Nov 2012

60 seconds with...Tony Hordon, Director of Business Space at DTZ and BCO Northern Judging Chairman

Tony is Director of Business Space at DTZ and has extensive experience of Agency and Development work, principally providing advice to clients on masterplanning, pre-development design, marketing, property disposal and aquisitions.

He has led the BCO Northern Judging panel since 2011, so we spent 60 seconds quizzing him about his judging experiences to date:

How long have you been a member of the BCO and what do you see as a key benefit? 
I have been a member for some 10 years, during which it has provided an excellent source of information through publications such as The Guide to Specification and the Fit Out Guide, together with of course the various conferences and more recently with my involvement with the BCO Judging Panel. 

You have been on the Northern judging panel for three years and Chairman for one, what has been your favourite moment so far? 
I can honestly say there has been too many moments in order to single out one particular moment. The judging process is incredibly intense over a reasonably short space of time and we pack in so much in terms of the travel, the visits, the debate over the scores and therefore there are many favourite, enjoyable and dare I say entertaining moments! 

What is the hardest part about being a BCO Judge?

Perhaps the most demanding part of being a Judge and certainly a Chairman is the responsibility of arranging the itinerary of visits. The Northern Chapter represents a considerable geographical area to cover from the North of England to Yorkshire to the North West including North Wales and Northern Ireland. Last year for example, we had 23 entrants as far north as Alnwick and as far south as North Wales, together with a visit to Belfast. It is therefore incredibly important to ensure we plan the most efficient route in order to ensure we visit the submission with the appropriate time set aside for each submission. As always best laid plans can be totally thrown when you add the additional ingredients of weather. One particular incident was at Belfast Airport where I had arrived, but unfortunately my fellow Judges, who were flying from Manchester, were kept in a holding pattern for over an hour whilst a significant snow storm blew over! 

What is the best part about being a BCO Judge? 
The opportunity of experiencing a huge variety of schemes across a variety of cities – as part of this variety you get to see the good, the bad and the ugly. Most importantly, firsthand experience of each scheme in terms of the aspiration and ultimately the delivery.   


The Entry Guide asks entrants to describe how the office lifts spirits, is there a past awards entry that made a particularly positive impact on you? And if so, why was this? 
The stand out entry was the scheme we visited in Darlington which was a refurbishment of an old industrial scheme by Marchday and occupied by Student Loans. From the submission the panel were reasonably lukewarm in advance of the visit however on arrival we knew within seconds we were visiting a winner. To convert an old industrial unit into a modern call centre of over 80,000 sq ft with sustainability high on the agenda, air quality, light quality, spacial layout and breakouts was outstanding. It represented perhaps one of the best call centre environments I have ever witnessed – ultimately an environment I would personally work in and certainly a place that as you walk in simply lifts your spirits. 

What advice would you give someone planning to submit an entry for the 2013 Awards? 
As we receive a number of entries, it is important every effort is made to differentiate and highlight the unique points of the project, but in a concise and easy to read manner. I also feel the use of photography is important. 

What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out as a BCO Judge? 
Get plenty of sleep beforehand, travel with plenty of Nurofen, but be prepared for a wonderful experience from the presentation by the home team, to the actual tour of the submission followed by the debate by the Judging Panel, a debate which is fascinating due to the cross section of the panel. In the Northern Chapter we have five judges on the panel, from five different backgrounds, with an agent, an architect, cost consultant, developer and M&E engineer, therefore five different skills and therefore five different opinions.

Who/what has most inspired you in the Commercial Property Sector? 
Whilst my career has been in office agency and development, I am a somewhat frustrated architect and therefore I guess if there is anything that has inspired me during my career it has been the architectural industry. The vision, the creativity and deliverability that this sector achieves can be game changing and life changing. I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with many architects and it really is a pleasure and an inspiration. 

What couldn’t you live without in your daily routine? 
Blackberry 

What is your guilty pleasure? 
My guilty pleasure would have to be margaritas, although I don't have any guilt, only a headache!