Andy Thomas takes the helm at Downing Construction

Changing of the guard at Downing Construction

Andy Thomas has been promoted from Technical Director to Construction Operations Director at Downing Construction. This followed the retirement of Director and Head of Construction Ian Orton, as the developer continues to progress at pace with its £1bn pipeline.

After 24 years with the company, Ian has decided to take a step back. However, he will continue to work with Downing as a Non-Executive Director.

Sally O’Brien, Joint Chief Executive at Downing, said: “We are really pleased that Ian will still be involved with Downing. He is responsible for the great team we have established at Downing; each member being guided through his experience. The whole team are immensely grateful for his loyalty and dedication, that has led to the delivery of many high-profile projects for us.

“Andy has been a rising star since joining us and is someone who was earmarked very early on as a future leader. It’s very fitting that having been mentored by Ian from the start of his career, he is now taking over the helm. He has a wealth of experience and has played a pivotal role in some of our largest regeneration projects and will continue to do so in the years ahead.”

Over the years, Ian and Andy have worked together on some of Downing’s landmark schemes including Broadcasting Tower in Leeds [Best Tall Building in the World 2010 from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)], Downing Plaza – Newcastle, and £80m School of Arts at Leeds Beckett University.

Andy said: “It is no secret that the construction industry has had some challenging times the last few years with changes in legislation, insurance market challenges, supply chain issues, energy costs, Brexit, Net Zero to name a few. Downing has met every one of these challenges with motivation and enthusiasm and this is something we will continue to carry into this next chapter.

“I am extremely honoured to take on this role within Downing and proud to follow in Ian’s footsteps. We are lucky to have a great team which has been built and guided by Ian since it was first founded.” Downing is currently on site at one of its biggest developments to date, First Street, a £400m mixed-use co-living scheme in Manchester city centre.

Andy Thomas, in his new role as Construction Operations Director, will oversee all major projects, ensuring that Downing’s high standards and efficiency in project delivery are maintained.

Last year, Downing took over the former Children’s Hospital site in Edinburgh as part of its £150m mixed-use scheme to deliver a five-storey 323 student accommodation building, 95 private residential properties, as well as affordable housing.