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15 Feb 2022

Q&A with Nicola Richards and Mark Fairhurst from ACR

Nicola Richards and Mark Fairhurst from ACR

1) Could you please give me a little bit of background about you, your career path in the industry and any notable achievements? 


Nicola Richards – With background developed from a rich mix of administrative roles across a number of sectors, in October 2019  Nicola joined ACR as an FM Administrator . Each year has presented fresh opportunities to grow her knowledge, draw fresh perspectives, hone her administrative skills, and cultivate her ability to manage successfully, client expectations and staff demands.

In parallel and to blend this practical experience, she has actively pursued formalised qualifications and successfully completed Level 5 Extended Diploma in CMI Leadership. She is currently  studying for an IWFM Level 4, in Facilities Management.

She has an appetite to build her business network. If you would like to get in touch, please visit her LinkedIn page and connect - Nicola Jayne Richards


2) Could you possibly give us some fun facts about yourself?


Nicola Richards 

  • Nicola loves dogs and has recently acquired a 1-year-old rescue called Coco
  • She enjoys watching sport especially football and has her own Fantasy League Team.
  • Nicola enjoys travel and lived in Australia and New Zealand for almost 3 years.
  • She loves study and is always eager to learn more.  


3) What is your position within the company and your role and responsibilities? 


Nicola Richards – Senior FM Administrator for ACR

Summary of responsibilities: to-

  • Maintain client relationships, contract, and client records
  • Support colleagues with helpdesk and office duties
  • Promote proactive planning of Pre-Planned Maintenance (PPM) and Reactive works
  • Prepare Client Reports
  • Manage the scheduling of Reactive and PPM on a client-by-client basis.
  • Deputise for the FM Manager during their absence


1) Could you please give me a little bit of background about you, your career path in the industry and any notable achievements? 


Mark Fairhurst

With nearly 30 years in construction management, civil engineering and architectural services Mark has acquired a wealth of experience working for blue chip clients across a  range of  sectors including health, industrial, commercial, residential and education.

Mark is a Chartered Building Engineer and a member of both the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

With experience at all levels of project design and management, Mark is customer focused and an effective communicator with the technical expertise to provide solutions which exceed Client’s expectations.


2) Could you possibly give us some fun facts about yourself? 


  • Mark learned how to DJ over the Covid period.
  • He holds a Level 2 Powerboat licence.
  • Mark follows St Helens Rugby League Club and watches F1.


3) What is your position within the company and your role and responsibilities? 


Director – Projects

Summary of responsibilities:

  • integral member of the SMT responsible for growing the Practice reputation
  • Senior level Client liaison
  • Strategic management of project delivery team


4) At IntraLogisteX, will you be launching anything ‘new’ to the market? If ‘Yes’, what is it and why is it a must-have product/service for our visitors? If ‘No’, please provide some details about the product/service that showcases your expertise in this sphere?


ACR will bring to the exhibition, its Bespoke Technical FM HelpDesk and with it, its specialist expertise based on 50 years’ experience and a wealth of knowledge in the Logistics sector. Its strength is in providing clarity to expenditure plans, advising on statutory compliance and business continuity and with it, the avoidance of any fines.


5) Case Studies include (view website for more information)


Movianto ,Haydock, The Cube, Trelleborg, MWI


6) We’ve all discussed the pandemic and Brexit to death. What new challenges have you been helping your customers to resolve?


The challenges which ACR have been helping its clients overcome more recently include:

  • An absolute shortage of space within existing premises
  • Reconfiguration of existing racking arrangements to promote increased capacity and efficiency in operation.
  • Brokering relocations (site searching/legal agreement/space planning) and with it any dilapidation requirements associated with the space vacated together with all aspects of the fit-out works necessary within the newly occupied space to foster projected business growth.


7) How can warehouses stand up to the rate of innovation and changes to customer behaviour?


If warehousing is to withstand changes in customer behaviour it is essential that:

  • its design and layout is fully informed by a thorough understanding of customer need
  • that the design process is predicated on a clear understanding of the client’s operational requirements/processes
  • that critical adjacencies are firmly understood from the outset
  • preliminary ‘block planning’ is developed informed by the above as a prelude to any General Arrangement Planning.
  • the final arrangement is sufficiently agile to accommodate modest change with minimal disruption.


8) For all the excitement around automation, most logistics companies have not yet taken the plunge. What needs to change to make this happen.  How do we go from c.5% today to more? Is automation feasible for most?


Automation is always based on the Return-on-Investment appraisal, finely balancing the expectation of the Board with that of the Automator.

The onus is always upon the Automator to make the prospect attractive to the client such that they get a return on their investment consistent with the ambition of the company/Board.


9) How is the push towards net zero raising the bar for warehouses? What are you seeing in warehouse sustainability developments that you think is particularly innovative, whether it is renewable technology or an overall strategy?


Our expertise is built on in excess of two decades working within the FM environment – many of the innovatory ‘gain saves’ relate specifically to building management and carefully integrating green technologies as part of  building fabric – for instance ground source heat pumps, PVU’s (solar panels) to assist with the heating and cooling of space , zoning areas and controlling lighting within such utilising motion detection, as energy becomes an ever more critical component in all business modelling and at a more strategic level, organising the building footprint to promote efficient servicing, internal movement and maximum utilisation rates.


10) New technologies, growth in e-commerce and sustainability are mega-trends that will continue for some time. What new megatrends do you anticipate and what market demands do you see evolving/changing over the next five years?


Due to expansion of new technologies and growth in e-commerce and sustainability, the availability of good warehouse stock is extremely low and virtually non-existent in certain areas of the country. The market demand for new warehouse stock is outstripping supply and there is little indication that this will change over the next 2 to 3 years. In the foreseeable, Companies will therefore have no choice other than to adapt existing warehouse stock to meet their particular needs and requirements.



11) How can the sector drive down energy consumption/bills?


Current practice dictates that the majority of warehouse developed is designed as ‘unheated’ space.

With an ever increasing need to respond to a demand for temperature-controlled space, fresh emphasis should be placed on lowering U-values (i.e. increasing insulation within the building envelope) which by inference will reduce energy costs and improve the degree-of-fit between the end user requirements and space available.


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