Former Hardies senior partner ‘speechless’ at pace of digital transformation

Former Hardies senior partner 'speechless' at pace of digital transformation

Charlie Downie and Danny McArthur

25 years after retiring as senior partner at Hardies, Dunfermline resident Charlie Downie paid a long overdue visit to the firm’s local office and was left “speechless” at the pace of digital transformation that has taken place throughout the construction sector.

Having retired in 1997, Mr Downie had not set foot inside an office for quarter of a century, so he readily accepted an invitation from Hardies’ current senior partner, Danny McArthur, to see for himself the many changes that have taken place in the construction industry and the firm where he worked for some 45 years.

“The transformation in how the firm operates now since my time is unrecognisable!” he said.

“I recall that my own office was always jam-packed with paper from floor to ceiling so that I could hardly see my desk so I could hardly believe it when Danny showed me his office: no paper just two computer screens!

“Danny started with us not long before I retired, so to see him now as Senior Partner is fantastic. And having retired 25 years ago, I’m delighted to see that Hardies has continued to thrive and grow to become one of the largest and most successful surveying firms in the country today.”

Back in 1997, computers were more frequently used by secretaries than surveyors in the construction sector and fax machines were all the rage. Fax machines have long been superseded by cutting edge cloud-based software which enables Hardies’ surveyors to access information from anywhere in the world at any time.

When Mr Downie retired, Hardies did not have a building surveying team. Today, along with its long-established quantity surveying and project management departments, it boasts the biggest team of building surveyors in Scotland, while other departments introduced since 1997 include health & safety, housing, energy and retail.

And having been paperless for a good five years, the firm has grown from eight offices to 13, recently expanding across the UK with offices now in London, Leeds and Belfast.

Mr McArthur added: “Despite all these changes, Hardies has managed to retain the same ‘family-feel’ culture that Charlie installed all those years ago. Once you’re in this business, you’re forever part of the ‘family’.

“It was a privilege to be able to introduce Charlie to some of our staff and show him the changes we’ve made since his retiral 25 years ago, though it does make me wonder how our office will look 25 years from now in 2047!”

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