April has been Stress Awareness Month

We all have felt stressed at some point but it’s not always easy to identify what has triggered it.

For many in the construction industry, stress has become a daily occurrence; a feeling they cannot get away from.

The main causes being cited as long hours, budget concerns, workloads, projects away from home, tight deadlines and client demands.

And this has been supported by a 2016 survey from UCATT (now Unite)* which found that 76% of the construction members who were asked had at some point suffered from stress in the workplace.

These are worrying statistics and so, for Stress Awareness month, our H & S team looks at stress and some ways to prevent it taking over.


When stress peaks in our bodies it can feel like a heart attack.  Sufferers complain of feeling unable to breathe, everything closing in on them, problems with their eyesight and hearing.

It can happen at any time, day or night, and become so bad that you don’t want to leave your house or even be alone.

One sufferer commented, “Everything was closing down, the sound was muffled, everything was drawing in on me, I couldn’t get my breath in. You don’t get enough oxygen.”

A graphic description of stress culminating in a panic attack.  In severe cases stress induced panic attacks can continue for months, to the point where sufferers feel unable to leave their homes in case one occurs. One sufferer described it as “one of the darkest times of my life,” a complete breakdown.

In our fast-paced, hectic lifestyles more and more of us are affected by stress.  It can cripple the way you function, your relationships with family, friends and colleagues, your work and home life.

To help, here are some simple measures which can help tackle common contributors to stress:

Do Some Digital De-cluttering

Whether you’re a complete technophobe, or surgically attached to your phone or laptop, technology is a constant in life and can create its own stresses!

The constant bombardment of information clutters up screens and inboxes making it more difficult to focus on things of real importance.  Try these tips to remove digital clutter:

  • Re-organise your computer’s desktop. Keep it simple & tidy – remove unused icons.
  • Audit your e-mail accounts. Delete accounts you rarely use and unsubscribe from unwanted mailing lists and blogs.
  • Set up a logical filing system for your documents and delete files you don’t need.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

The benefits of a good night’s sleep are wide-ranging and well-documented. Restful sleep lowers anxiety and improves brain function.  So, if you’re not sleeping well, and it’s contributing to your stress levels, you could try:

  • Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and chocolate after 3pm
  • Eating your evening meal before 8pm.
  • Training your body to wind down at the end of the day. Develop a relaxing bedtime routine; switch off electronic devices (‘phones, TVs, tablets), and read or listen to soothing music instead.

Work Getting you Down?

It’s not uncommon to feel tired after working all day, but problems can occur when you are continuously tied to your desk or feel like you are fighting a losing battle to get the job done. This is when tiredness can easily tip over into stress.  But what can you do?

  • Ensure you take a break from your desk and aim to move every hour. Maybe get up, walk around the office and make a hot drink.
  • Try to not eat lunch at your desk. Take the opportunity to enjoy a quick five-minute walk in the open air.
  • Try to look for the positive moments in your day. This can be anything like chatting to your colleagues.
  • Speak to your manager or HR department. Small changes can be made to your work to help alleviate your worries, but you don’t know what can be done until you ask.
  • Make the most of your time outside of work especially with family and friends. These small moments can help boost your mood and help you recharge.

For more tips to help manage your stress levels, read Dorling Kindersley’s ‘Stress: The Psychology of Managing Pressure.’

Feel like you’ve tried everything, but nothing works? Don’t suffer in silence.  Consult your GP or other professional to help you manage your stress before it takes over your life.

* https://www.ucatt.org.uk/ucatt-finds-high-levels-stress-and-mental-illness-among-construction-workers




“ I enjoy the buzz of helping clients unlock asset value in property through innovative design and refurbishment solutions”

I joined the Daniel Connal Partnership in 1994, became a Partner in 1997 and Joint Senior Partner in 2011.  My time is split between fee earning work, the management of the business and business development.

I am a Chartered Building Surveyor, Chartered Project Management Surveyor and an Incorporated Member of the Association of Project Safety.

My areas of expertise are Project Management, Dilapidations, Party Wall Advice and Defect Diagnosis.  I also act as an Expert Witness and am a member of the Academy of Experts.

Outside of work I am a keen sailor and have recently given in to the middle aged man’s craze of cycling around in tight lycra.  I am also a frustrated Ipswich Town Supporter.

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“I love the teamwork in delivering a project, but relish the knowledge that our singular input is making a real difference.”

I have been joint Senior Partner of Daniel Connal Partnership since 2011, having joined the practice in 1995 and been made Partner in 1999.

As a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, Chartered Building Surveyor, Incorporated Member of the Association of Project Safety and experienced project manager, I enjoy helping our clients deliver their ideas for their property through successful building projects.  It is my aim that our staff enjoy their work and that we always provide the best service we can.

When I am not working I enjoy being active and spending time with my family and friends.

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Jonathan Dennis MA, MRICS

“As an experienced Quantity Surveyor I strive to ensure that all of our clients achieve the best possible value for money when undertaking construction works.”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership in 2011 as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, was made an associate at the start of 2015 and Partner in January 2016.

I have wide ranging experience in sectors across the industry, including Urban Regeneration, Social Housing, Industrial and Manufacture, Education, Defence, Local Authority and Health and have recently enjoyed developing my knowledge of the conservation of buildings with Listed and Ancient Monument status.

When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am a keen cyclist and also enjoy a leisurely walk around the golf course.

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Andrew Long, MEng, MSc, MRICS

“As a surveyor I delight in the opportunity and knowledge that we have a direct impact on shaping the future, bringing buildings back into service and the prospect of leaving a lasting but sustainable impression on the earth.”

I became an Associate in 2011 having joined the practice in 2010.

As a Chartered Building Surveyor, with areas of expertise in Design, Contract Administration, Project Management, Defects Diagnosis, Building Surveys and Dilapidations, I endeavour to provide our clients with the best service to enhance, preserve and obtain the maximum returns on their diverse property portfolios and building projects.

Outside of work I am in demand from my young family and friends in various active pursuits.

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Jonathan Rensink, Tech.IOSH, AIIRSM, IMaPS

“By working hard and supporting others, you won’t be far off the quote that I take great inspiration from. “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort”. Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

I joined DCP in 1999 and was made an Associate in 2013.

A NEBOSH qualified Health and Safety Consultant; my areas of expertise are Health & Safety, CDM 2015 and the provision of Fire Safety and Risk Management advice.

Outside of work I enjoy walking, badminton and football, taking a keen interest in my local football club, Wivenhoe Town.

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Jason Froude BSc (Hons) MRICS

“As an experienced Chartered Surveyor, my number one aim is to deliver success in terms of my Client’s expectations”

Having joined the Daniel Connal Partnership in 2002, I was made an Associate in 2013 and became a Partner in the London office in 2018. I am a Chartered Building Surveyor, with over 15 years experience and a wide ranging skill base over many industry sectors specialising in Project Management, Party Wall, Building Surveys and CDM Advice.

I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Association of Project Safety.

Lucky enough to have the Surrey Hills on my door step, I am a keen rambler, cycling enthusiast and lawn bowler for my local Lawn Bowls team. For my sins I am also a Crystal Palace Supporter.

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“It gives me great pride to take projects from inception to completion whilst working closely with the clients to meet their design and cost expectations through construction knowledge, design acumen and property expertise”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership in 2003 as a trainee Building Surveyor with a BSc in Geography and then undertook a post graduate conversion course at Anglia Ruskin University. I became a Chartered Building Surveyor in 2010 and was made an Associate of the Practice at the start of 2015.

I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Association of Project Safety and the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors.

I have a wide ranging skill base over many industry sectors specialising in Design, Contract Administration, Party Wall and CDM Co-ordination.

When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am a keen cricketer and partake in weekly five a side football. I am fortunate to live in the Norfolk countryside and enjoy the benefits of long country walks and sunny days at the beach.

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“I look to use my varied career experience to the benefit of each client and to produce the best outcome on every project”

I was appointed Associate at the Colchester Office in January 2016 having joined the Practice in January 2015.

I am both a Chartered Quantity Surveyor and Chartered Construction Manager and have over 30 years’ experience working in both private practice and for contractors. I also have familiarity with the client’s perspective having overseen redevelopment of the buildings at my Church.

My varied experience & knowledge enables me to provide a balanced view on projects for the benefit of all parties involved in the construction process.

I am a Deacon & Trustee of my Baptist Church in Ipswich; enjoy theatre, visiting National Trust Properties and a game or two of tennis in the summer months.

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Chris Talford BSC (HONS) MRICS

“I enjoy assisting our varied client base in developing projects right from the initial idea through to a fully finished building, I take great satisfaction in helping clients understand and develop their knowledge of construction along the way.”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership as a Senior Quantity Surveyor in 2013 and was made an Associate in 2019.

I have experience across a wide range of sectors including Education, Industrial, Healthcare, Residential and Commercial and have gained valuable knowledge from a very varied workload.

I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Outside of work I enjoy playing golf and attempting to persuade my two young sons to support Sheffield United.

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“As an experienced Chartered Building Surveyor my key aim is always to act with my client’s best interests in mind, delivering high quality building surveying services to them at all times.”

I became an Associate of the practice in November 2016, having joined DCP earlier that year.

I am a Chartered Building Surveyor and Chartered Architectural Technologist with over 28 years experience across a wide range of industry sectors.

A Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, I also act as an RICS APC mentor for the building surveying pathway, helping candidates achieve Chartered status.

When not out surveying buildings I am an avid wildlife photographer and an agency photographer for the RSPB.

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Alastair Clark BSc (Hons) MRICS

“It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to be involved with projects, especially seeing a completed building knowing that I have added value by taking a proactive approach to cost and risk management through all the stages of design and construction.”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership as a Senior Quantity Surveyor in 2005.

Progressing to Associate in 2007, I was made Partner in charge of the Colchester office in 2011, with additional responsibility for Ball Hall (Project Management) Ltd (BHPM) from April 2012, when DCP took over their long time sports hall project management partner.

In January 2017 I became the Managing Director of Ball Hall (Project Management) Ltd.

When not flying the BHPM flag, I enjoy the occasional hack around a golf course or game of football. I am also, for my sins, a life-long supporter of West Ham.

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“I see surveying in its various forms as the means of providing one’s own expertise for the benefit of clients….. and satisfied clients make satisfied surveyors”

I joined what was then Daniel B Connal & Partners in 1964 straight from School and retired as Senior Partner of the Daniel Connal Partnership in 2010. I remain actively supporting DCP with its services, particularly those for Ball Hall Projects, whilst acting regularly as a Mediator, Adjudicator, Arbitrator and Expert Witness in my own right.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

My areas of expertise are Quantity Surveying, Project Management, Contract Administration and Dispute Resolution.

When not in the office, family life happily occupies a lot of my time, and I escape to the golf course or fish for trout when time permits. I am also a Trustee of Headway Essex.

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