Dan Wade is a Director at EK McQuade for the Rights of Light team within our Neighbourly Matters department.
Dan is enthusiastic about the subject of Rights of Light, dealing with the nuances and distinctiveness presented on each case, being an essential cog in a wider construction team. Covering legal and planning issues whilst applying a high degree of technicality in appreciating potential impacts created by a new build whilst evaluating the risk of proceeding with a development.
Q. What made you decide to become a Rights of Light Consultant?
My initial career journey began down the architecture route as I had a keen interest in design and build at the time of studying. However, a position as a CAD Technician at a chartered surveyors practice in Covent Garden came up where the lure of working in AutoCAD (an evolving technology in the 90’s) and earning a salary was too great to resist. I think it’s fair to say (well it was back then) that no Rights to Light surveyor ever set out to follow this career path and it’s something that you stumble on by chance. Most folk would not have heard of Rights of Light, let alone know that they may already have an easement to maintain adequate natural light within their own property.
I very much enjoyed the CAD element of my early role, working directly with and assisting renowned architects with their design evolution, visiting sites and appreciating how they integrate within their local infrastructure. Getting to work on proposed landmark buildings that would become eminent way before they enter the public domain.
In time, I started to become inquisitive of how my CAD output factored into the wider scheme of the project, how one interacts with the project team, reports and evaluates the results, formulates the strategic advice and conclusions to the client, steering the development through what could be described as choppy waters on those potentially contentious schemes.
I was lucky enough to work with highly esteemed professionals who have passed on their knowledge, wisdom, reporting techniques and prowess that I have inherited and carry with me to act in the capacity of Director today. I have been fortunate to work at a number of leading practices, create new Rights of Light ventures throughout my 25 year career and have since joined the amazing team at EK McQuade to launch their newest service line. I am sure they will share in my enthusiasm for the subject often referred to as the “Dark Art”.
Q. What is the most unexpected discovery you’ve made on a site visit?
I was on a roof top reconnaissance site visit at 3 Savile Row for a Rights of Light project blissfully unaware of the musical history at this location. Whilst I was busy taking photos of the neighbouring properties from this vantage spot the building manager asked if I knew the significance of where I was standing? Ashamedly I did not, he said you are standing in the very spot that the “Fab Four” played their last ever public gig as the Beatles in January 1969. I looked at him in astonishment and was blown away by what he said. This building was the Beatles home at Apple Corps and the roof top gig turned out to be their finale for family and friends. The building has a blue plaque to commemorate the event and is even labelled as such on google earth.
Q. What has been your proudest surveying job or project to date?
My proudest project was designing and project managing my own house extension in 2011 and creating an amazing kitchen / living / dining space for my then, very young family to live and grow up in with all the mod-con features.
Having worked on more projects than I can remember, my proudest surveying project is the Heron Tower on the corner of Bishops Gate and Houndsditch where you will find Sushi Samba and Duck & Waffle on the top floors providing panoramic views of the city and London beyond. I conducted the natural light assessments for common law rights of light along with full assistance during the planning process which included an Environmental Impact Assessment where I covered the works relating to daylight, sunlight and overshadowing. I cannot walk past this tower without being in awe.
Q. What is your favourite building in the world?
I will have to be completely biased here, it is the 62,850 capacity £1bn Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Unfortunately I was naturally conflicted from working on this project for affected neighbours’ Rights to Light for allegiance reasons.
Having been around the entire stadium it really is a remarkable feat of architecture and engineering with the smallest of details considered to the highest spec. Nostalgic features include the use of the crushed aggregate from the former stadium to form the polished floor slabs on the concourses. Quirky features such as its own on site microbrewery by local brewer Beavertown. Small touches like blue plaque location of the centre spot signifying where the former ground stood as the new stadium was built as a phased project around the old stadium. The multipurpose stadium use with retractable pitch to slide the hallow turf under the south stand to reveal an NFL American Football pitch underneath which is also used to host music concerts or Boxing bouts. The south stand is supported by just two cantilevered steel trees holding up the kop stand with a capacity of 17,500 fans, x4 giant jumbo screens (each the size of a tennis court) in each corner of the ground. I have heard of plans to make the stadium adaptable to house the UK’s longest indoor Go Kart track in a new contract associated with the F1 brand.
My only regret is that the Spurs trophy cabinet is still empty (boo) and its name should have remained as White Hart Lane. It’s still a privilege and a goosebump experience on every visit.
Q. What types of surveying work do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy working on a project being involved from inception to completion and being there every step of the way for the client to ensure that the development reaches its full maximum potential. Conversely, I also enjoy representing the affected home owner assert their rights over a development to ensure that their easement to light is considered and protected. I enjoy site visits especially those roof top visits that offer unique vistas that are not available to the general public.
Q. Describe EKM in 5 words!
Distinctive, Inspirational, Speciality, Collaborative, Outstanding.