Spotlight on Kevin Jones
2 November 2016
This week the spotlight is on Kevin Jones, Facilities Manager at the UCL Bartlett.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am the Facilities Manager for the Bartlett, UCL's faculty of the built environment. While maintaining business as usual for the faculty, I'm currently working alongside the design and project teams upgrading the Bartlett's accommodation, not only on the Bloomsbury campus, but, also creating new manufacturing, testing and teaching facilities at Here East, formerly the London 2012 Olympic Press and Broadcast Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP).
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I've been at UCL for four Provosts, two Deans and 19 Heads of Departments - that's nearly 15 years. I previously worked for a French telecoms company and was part of the team that refurbished a sub-marine fibre optics manufacturing site in Greenwich, which has now become a housing development.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
It's not often you get one opportunity to be involved in the design of accommodation for a high-profile school of architecture like the Bartlett, but in the past three years I've been lucky enough to be involved in two! In order to undertake the refurbishment and extension of 22 Gordon Street, we had to find a short term home for the Bartlett School of Architecture. The conversion of an empty concrete warehouse at 132-140 Hampstead Road, designed by Hawkins\Brown Architects, provided a unique opportunity to promote a change to how staff and students had worked, interacted and collaborated in the old Wates House.
The Bartlett School of Architecture community were open-minded about how they would operate in their temporary space and the post occupancy workshops we organised for staff and students provided very useful feedback. Hampstead Road has proved to be a positive experience and has certainly helped inform the design and layouts for both 22 Gordon Street and our space at Here East.
I am incredibly proud of ensuring UCL and the Bartlett get the best possible return on investment in terms of transforming UCL's estate - it is an astonishing team effort! UCL's current commitment to invest in the Bartlett began as far back as 2011 in order to address a historical space deficit. When the current programme is complete in summer 2017, around 60% of the faculty's accommodation will have been refurbished to a high standard.
In order to achieve this almost on time, to budget and with great care and quality, I have been fortunate enough to be part of a huge team that includes my academic and administrative colleagues at the Bartlett, colleagues in UCL Estates Strategy and Capital Programmes, external architectural and building services consultants, building contractors, UCL Estates Maintenance, Facilities Services, fire, health and safety, cleaning/waste and UCL Security. It is truly fantastic to see what we have all achieved by working together.
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
On the Bloomsbury campus we have just two weeks left on the 22 Gordon Street project, six weeks until its official opening and nine weeks until the students come through the door for the first time. I'm furiously ensuring everything is going to be in place for our opening by working with all our partners to make sure we get there and it is operational.
On the QEOP site, we are now 14 weeks into a 40-week programme and the project is really gathering pace - it's an exciting time and I hope the new facilities support the Bartlett and UCL long into the future.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
There aren't many genres of music I don't listen to, though I am definitely beyond my roadman days, but despite being a drummer in a number of bands over the past 30 years, if I had to pick one, I'd go for Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis - stirring stuff.
Film would be Blood Simple - the Coen Brothers' first directorial outing.
I rarely read fiction, so I would go for 1080 by Ines and Simone Ortega.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide.
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
As much as I like cooking, I think I like drinking beer more. I would love to spend an evening chatting in the pub with players from the 1974 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa. And some people say sport and politics shouldn't mix…
What advice would you give your younger self?
There is so much advice I would give myself. Luckily, I have two teenage children, so much to their annoyance, I get to practice giving them advice on a daily basis.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I've been fortunate to be part of a small community group that has protected and maintained an amazing garden in north Southwark for the past 20+ years. Despite the best efforts of drug dealers and property developers, it's still going strong and I take enormous pride in seeing the pleasure it gives the local community.
What is your favourite place?
There aren't many places better than the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, just before kick-off.