Helping Puraffinity, a Scaling Business
As a specialist in developing environmental materials to mitigate the contamination of water, Puraffinity has a unique set of requirements for any new building and is a successful company experiencing 20% growth year on year. For the last four years, the business had been linked to Imperial College London but it was now time to move out and build new laboratories (labs).
The MD of Puraffinity Henrik had met Jonathan at a Cleantech industry webinar. The topic was about lease negotiations and included how to tackle this area in a pandemic.
“After an hour of talking to Jonathan I thought wow, we have been doing this wrong for the last 4 years. It would take us years to learn what he knows and we don’t have the time, much better to hire a professional to do it.”
Information shared at the webinar included understanding the implications of lease terms, such as repairing liability, break clauses, tenant incentives and the implications of contracting out of a lease. The content identified a series of common pitfalls which Henrik recognised through his experience. This next company move was going to be the largest financial commitment ever made so it was time to add Jonathan’s expertise and trusted advice to the team.
Identify the need
There were several specialist requirements for this new building. The labs would contain toxic chemicals so health & safety was the main priority with a need for high specification air changes. Strict levels of cleanliness was another important area as the labs would need to detect chemicals at a very low level.
The property agents were briefed to find a suitable site. The search was being carried out on a non-exclusive basis – it was an opportunity to compare everyone’s costs. Time was spent looking at a few sites and there was a deadline for moving out of the existing building.
“It became clear the property agents were not our friends. So we brought Jonathan on board as the Lease Negotiator, from the start he had an interest in our company and was on our side throughout the process. I understood he was a recognised expert in his area and wanted to get him in.”
They needed to appoint a consulting engineer because Henrik knew there would be a lot of challenges along the way. This was another area that Jonathan could help with as he had the necessary contacts and recommended a consulting engineer with a significant depth of expertise.
Deliver the solution
With the pandemic and Brexit, there were plenty of hurdles to overcome. It wasn’t an ideal time to be moving but it was needed and they had a deadline for leaving their current building. Henrik set up a working group with five key individuals. Meetings were held weekly with representatives from each of the main functions including Jonathan.
This group tackled all the building and construction issues. The task was to find practical solutions to the challenges they faced. Jonathan was the main point of contact for the lease stakeholders such as the landlord, solicitors and tenants. Flexibility was the key, particularly as the external supply chain for materials was proving difficult to manage.
“Jonathan has been a fantastic help. My wife always knew when I had spoken to him because I would come back home feeling relaxed. If everyone was as professional as him, life would be so much easier.”
Once the lease had been signed the bulk of Jonathan’s work was done but he was still involved as a valuable member of the working group.
Realise the benefits
The construction is nearly complete with the labs and the building almost ready for the team to move in. Specialist individuals have been needed during the process and the depth of Jonathan’s network has been invaluable. Being able to work closely with the company has helped in recommending the right people.
“Talking to people who are searching for lab space I always say to them don’t do it yourself. You will lose flexibility and get hit further down the line. Much better to pay a bit more upfront for someone like Jonathan and get a professional job done.”
Working with Jonathan has been a really positive experience for Henrik – so much so that he has introduced him to other companies in the same sector that require this level of expertise.