COEL’s new property head hails dawn of agile working

As we emerge from the pandemic and embrace a new era of 'agile' working and flexible workspaces, COEL has the innovation to succeed, says new Head of Property Services, Daniel Fordham. Cambridge-based COEL specialise in high-quality office and laboratory refurbishment, working closely with science and technology clients, to create modern and forward-thinking working environments. “Agile working is set to be at the forefront of commercial workspace decisions as we come out of lockdown," says Daniel. "It was something that was always on the horizon, but the pandemic has brought it forward several years - and so for COEL to already be pioneering well-thought-out agile workspaces, makes this an exciting time to be part of the team.”

Daniel, 35, who joined COEL in October from Cushman & Wakefield, has more than 13 years’ experience in the management of commercial estate and property, across both private and public sector portfolios. Ambitious and highly driven, he brings a wealth of commercial facilities and property management knowledge to the position; his CV includes roles at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Bidwells Cambridge.

“I’ve worked from the ground up, starting out in swimming pool plant operations and private leisure centre maintenance management,” he explains. “I’ve managed leisure and educational centres in and around Addenbrooke’s Hospital and worked closely with the mobilisation of the University Technical College, Cambridge, before deciding to consolidate my career in professional services, working in facilities management for Bidwells, supporting the estate and client property portfolio at Granta Park.” Daniel was appointed into a key position in support of the Brookgate CB1 and CB4 portfolios, working on the mixed-use estates’ development and management strategies, with some of the country’s biggest real estate management and investor firms.

More recently, he worked for real estate giants, Cushman & Wakefield, heading up facilities and property service delivery for Aviva Investors in Cambridge. “One of my biggest projects was leading the mobilisation and services delivery to 50-60 Station Road, taking the 230,000sqft property from the construction phase to ‘business as usual’ status and overseeing 14 simultaneous fit-out projects.” Daniel’s latest career move comes at a pivotal time for the future of the workplace and having witnessed COEL’s top-class work on the imaginative office remodel of Bidwells’ HQ in Trumpington, he was motivated to explore the position when it was presented by CEO, Neil Cook.

“I was so impressed by COEL’s dynamism, and their desire to service the client far beyond the typical client/contractor relationship,” he explains. “The spaces they create are very exciting, and I wanted to be part of that. Hopefully, I bring the corporate knowledge to the business, allowing us to understand our clients’ requirements, having in turn been the ‘client’ myself.”

Alistair Rumbelow, COEL’s Group CEO, says: “Daniel’s arrival with the COEL team is of immense worth and will be fundamental in our continued growth and commitment to delivering exceptional customer service.”

The remit of the Property Services Department at COEL spans small maintenance works and Planned Preventative Maintenance agreements, through to supporting design, build and commissioning of mechanical and electrical systems and workplace mobilisations from project phases into occupation. The team deal with commercial offices and buildings across the Eastern region and along the Oxford/Cambridge corridor.

“We work on some great projects, often on an ad hoc basis, so I’m keen to grow our brand and outreach and create longer term relationships with existing and forthcoming clients. I’ll be focusing on consolidating our processes, ensuring that we’ve got consistency and efficiencies across all our service areas, with the common goal of providing unrivalled customer support,” Daniel explains.

As lockdown restrictions ease, and employees head back into the office, Daniel believes there will be more flexibility for both employers and staff. “There’ll undoubtedly be a lot of innovation. Landlords will be looking at restructuring commercial leasing strategies, developers will be looking at supplying more accommodation to support agile working. Employers will be considering how to blend and balance the work and personal lives of their employees, as this is now a key factor in job satisfaction and talent retention.”

Aside from the agile working model, another key commercial focus will be on how organisations can make workspaces more energy efficient, economical, and environmentally sound. “Environmental sustainability is a real global concern, and we can advise clients on how to repurpose their space, improve energy efficiencies and the facilities management of their workspace,” explains Daniel. “As a company, I’d like to grow our electrical vehicle charging installations team, explore waste management solutions for firms, and look at how artificial intelligence technology could be used to manage building management systems, with an aim of driving down carbon output and reducing operating costs.” Just four months into the role, Daniel has set himself an ambitious ‘to do’ list, but with a proven track record in property support services, he is the perfect fit for this trailblazing business which has been driving workplace innovation for more than 30 years.


With over 30 years’ experience in design and fit-out, COEL delivers innovative workplace solutions.

Lizzie Duckworth

Marketing Manager

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