Hive Five – BB7

Introduction

Stuart Williams is Head of Security Consulting at BB7, a specialist consulting firm that imagines new ways to mitigate risk within the built environment. Stuart joined BB7 in 2017, adding a new Weston location to BB7’s portfolio of locations across the UK and Ireland. The Weston branch has a national and international remit but primarily covers the South West and Wales region.

Meet Stuart from BB7

Stuart says, “I’m originally from London and Kent but have lived in a village near Weston since 2007. I joined BB7 as its new Head of Security Consulting about 18 months ago. The company used to focus only on fire risk consultancy but, with changing global needs, it has diversified to deliver security risk management too.

“I came to Weston via a rather circuitous route. I met BB7’s founder, Ben, while based in Abu Dhabi several years ago. We really got on, but I wasn’t ready to leave the Middle East, so we agreed to stay in touch. Our paths kept crossing including one fortuitous day at Nairobi Airport. I was about to start my holiday to climb Kilimanjaro, my contract in Abu Dhabi had just been terminated and Ben called to ask if I was able to lead the security discipline. We got chatting, everything fell into place and you’re up to date!”

What does BB7 do?

Stuart explains, “BB7 is the UK’s leading and biggest independent fire and security engineering company with eight locations in the UK and Ireland. We consult on large-scale development projects, to ensure buildings are safe and secure, and we offer post-occupancy consultancy delivered through fire risk assessments and fire risk management strategies. In our post-Grenfell world, a myriad of regulations are being reviewed. Companies, councils and organisations are very aware of their corporate responsibility and our whole industry is being rejigged and scrutinised as a result. This all means that BB7 is busier than ever.”

Why The Hive?

“I didn’t want to relocate to the company’s Rochester base and the Bristol commute didn’t appeal. Ben and I viewed many straightforward and serviced options there and found them small, pricey and soulless. Come and hire an expensive box? No thanks.

“A friend suggested The Hive. It was significantly better than anything else we’d seen in terms of cost, size, parking and security. It’s a modern, purpose-built office space and it shows. Natural lights pours in to each office through external windows and there are kitchens on every floor and loads of space. It’s not a cramped, retrofitted office building and cost-wise, it’s a fraction of the price. I often cycle in and there are covered bike storage, showers and drying racks which are thoughtful touches you don’t get everywhere. I’ve genuinely never been to an office space that’s as well thought out as The Hive.”  

Stuart also finds The Hive better connected than Bristol. “The London train takes slightly longer but we’re on the same train line so it’s as convenient. I’m often up to Manchester and the M5 is on the doorstep and, in the usual traffic, Bristol Airport is actually quicker to get to and from Weston than Bristol. From a daily commute and business perspective, I choose Weston over Bristol any day – it makes the start and end of each day better.”

BB7 is regionally structured and national teams always enjoy their visits to The Hive. The building’s supportive staff and ease of administration leaves Stuart and his team free to focus on business.

Hive horizons

When BB7 joined The Hive, they had a four-person office. They quickly took on a larger space to house their expanding team of five fire engineers and security experts. Their bespoke standing desks were crafted by the local Somerset Wood Recycling CIC and a whiteboard-painted wall and other individual touches complete the space.

Stuart explains, “Our industry only looks set to expand in the coming years which is great for BB7 and we plan to recruit additional staff later this year. My priority right now is to grow BB7’s reputation and footprint in the South West and Wales region, kicking off with a major Transport for Wales project. We’re very happy where we are and, with The Hive’s flexible terms, know that it will be able to accommodate our needs for the foreseeable future”.

Stuart’s ‘Hive Five’ highlights

  • The BREEAM excellent building design
  • The supportive staff
  • The bright, bookable rooms
  • The national connectivity
  • The price