With more than 20 years’ experience in the office fit out industry, Operations Manager Tim Hibbert brings a unique perspective to the 361 Degrees team. He knows the challenges our clients face, and he’s managed projects of all shapes and sizes. Now his sights are set on helping continue our development from a family-run business into the leading HVAC provider in the UK.
Tim joined 361 Degrees in 2017, having spent 18 months at Woodhouse Workspace. He was chosen by Woodhouse to oversee a single project worth £3 million, but then stayed on to manage three more over the next 12 months. Tim has overseen new builds, refurbishment of hospitals, high-tech offices, distribution projects and complex demolitions. Now he’s applying his knowledge of potential pitfalls to help the team go a degree further for contractors.
“As the principal contractor, you need your HVAC provider to be responsive and flexible. The HVAC installation's proposed timeline needs to be sufficiently detailed to coordinate with electrical services, for example,” he explains. To Tim, detailed planning is the most important aspect of the project, and its effects are seen in two key areas.
“Many HVAC providers lack design capabilities, so their contribution to the overall design lets them down,” Tim says. “The principal designer needs to be certain that design and build HVAC contractors have the expertise. Too often, particularly on small to medium-sized projects, insufficient attention at the planning stage leads to frustration, delays and costly revisions.”
The ability to integrate with other contractors has been a hallmark of the 361 Degrees approach, and we’ve expanded our design service to make sure every system is planned effectively and appropriately. Tim’s close working relationship with our design team helps ensure that work on everything above, on and below the ceiling is considered.
When it comes to refurbishment projects, understanding the condition of existing systems and equipment is perhaps the biggest challenge of all. “As office outfitters, we were responsible for everything from design to build, so we had to be sure proposals were viable. Mechanical and electrical services are very specialised, and it’s difficult to know what you’ve got,” Tim says.
He’s promoting a validation survey service at 361 Degrees, because this early examination gives the building manager the insight to make informed decisions. Engineers produce “MOT-style” reports, which prevent nasty surprises when the project is underway.
“If you had a boiler at home and wanted to add 12 radiators, you wouldn't just go ahead, fire everything up and find the boiler only has half the capacity you need. A quick check of the boiler output would tell you it needs to be upgraded. It’s the same principle, particularly with existing buildings where it's all too easy to go ahead and install what the customer thinks is needed, without fully understanding what you have to start with.”
Strength to Strength
Tim’s appointment as Operations Manager comes at an exciting time for 361 Degrees, and he’s keen to help make sure every system and process works as effectively on a larger scale as they have in the past. “The company’s gone from a small family outfit to an SME, which allows us to provide a much greater range of services for clients,” he says. “That presents new logistical challenges for the ops team and we need to take a new approach to planning and communication, but we’re ready for that!”