Thrings solicitor takes the helm at the Forum for the Built Environment

By Anita Jaynes on 15 April, 2015

Eric Livingston, partner and construction solicitor at leading commercial law firm Thrings, has become chairman of the Great Western branch of the Forum for the Built Environment (fbe).

A specialist in construction procurement, contract preparation and negotiation and resolving construction disputes, Eric assumes the role after serving as the regional vice chairman of the fbe, the networking organisation for the property, development and construction industries in the UK.

Supported by new vice chairman Clive Woodford of Ridge & Partners, and a committee of 13 other professionals, Eric will be responsible for a programme of events for the fbe’s 150 regional members, who include professionals from multi-national construction companies, cost consultants, architects and designers, property developers, engineers, planners and legal and financial specialists.

Highlights over the next 12 months will include a series of formal dinners – each for more than 400 members and guests – regular members’ lunches and evening networking sessions, site visits at local projects, and members’ golf days and barbecues. Further events to mark the 70th anniversary of the fbe next year are also planned.

Eric will also aim to broaden the scope and spread of fbe events across the Great Western area through increased consultation with members as well as highlighting activities undertaken by the branch through social media – including the LinkedIn Western fbe sub-group.

Eric said: “The fbe is a leading independent built environment networking organisation which provides the forum for members to discuss local issues, collaborate on local projects and deliver excellent results for clients in the area.

“We are a volunteer organisation, and in addition to carrying out their day jobs, committee members work hard every year to make events happen and raise £10,000 for local charities. It’s my intention to build on the great work of my predecessor Peter Harris and help members continue developing contacts, form effective relationships and benefit from business opportunities.”

News of Eric’s appointment follows the recent election of fellow Thrings construction law specialist Natalia Sokolov as chair of the Association of Women in Property (WiP) in the South West.

Last month Natalia, who specialises in construction procurement projects, assumed responsibility for the strategic direction of the South West branch of WiP, the national organisation that seeks to enhance the profile of women in the property and construction industry sectors.

Warren Reid, head of commercial property at Thrings, said: “Since 2008 Eric has been a committed member of the Great Western branch of the Forum for the Built Environment, one of the UK’s most respected industry organisations. During this time, he has used his experience and understanding of the construction sector to support the branch in delivering the high standard of events that its members expect, before now taking the lead role himself.

“Every year Thrings sees its construction and commercial property lawyers benefit as a result of their association with independent professional bodies. With construction in the South West forecast to rise at an average rate of 3.5% per year until 2018 – ahead of the national average of 2.2%  – Eric and Natalia are well-placed to stay close to industry issues so they can provide informed specialist legal advice to their clients across the region.”