Two well- known local surveying firms combined forces on 1 April 2013 to form the independent Chartered Surveyors Underwood Wright, with offices in Barnstaple, Bideford and Bude. Underwoods Surveyors operated from Barnstaple whilst Passmore Wright and Company was based in Bideford and Bude. The firms’ merger served to strengthen their presence across North Devon, Mid-Devon and North Cornwall.
Underwoods Surveyors was formed in 1996 and the partners, who had both practiced locally as surveyors since the mid 1980’s, built up their business into a multi-disciplinary general practice firm. Passmore Wright and Company have origins that go back to the 1970’s when it was better known for its building surveying services, including architectural drawing work on new development and refurbishment schemes and in more recent years has become recognised for being a general practice firm.
Underwood Wright Ltd has five Chartered Surveyors; Directors Lester Bird, Paul Furse, Stuart Smith and Stephen Shortridge and Associate Tim Dunne During their careers all of the Directors have had a broad experience in most aspects of the profession. Their disciplines overlap but the strength of the business is that all the surveyors are able to combine their knowledge and experience. Regular clients range from individuals to Local Authorities, Public Companies, Charitable Trusts, Property Companies and Local Businesses.
The core business includes survey and valuation work whilst other specialist areas include Landlord and Tenant work, Party Wall Act matters, Property Management and Dispute Resolution.
Stephen graduated from Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1976 with a BSc in Urban Land Administration. His early surveying career and professional training took place in London where he worked for several well known corporates in commercial and estate management roles.
In 1984 Stephen returned to “his roots” in North Devon where he has worked locally since. Within Underwood Wright he concentrates mainly on Residential Surveys and Valuations but he is also involved in Party Wall and Expert Witness matters and general building advice.
Stephen is a keen badminton player and runs a local badminton club. His other interests include gig rowing (Barnstaple Pilot Gig Club) and watching his home football team, Bideford (Bideford AFC) for whom he provides behind the scenes support. Stephen is married with 3 children.
Lester Bird graduated in 1995 from Northumbria University with a degree in Estate Management and was elected as a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 1998. In the same year he joined Passmore Wright in Bideford as a general practice surveyor where he worked until the firm merged with Underwoods Surveyors in 2013. Lester covers a wide range of professional work from Underwood Wright’s Bideford office including valuation and survey work but his specialism is now Party Wall matters.
He is a member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors (http://www.fpws.org.uk) He is on the Governing Body of Shebbear College(Shebbear College) a co-educational independent school in North Devon and also sits on the Property Committee of the Methodist Independent Schools Trust(Methodist Education) which has 14 Colleges and affiliated Colleges across the country. In 2016 Lester was appointed Warden of the Bideford Bridge Trust taking over from Martin Wright who has now retired.
Lester lives in Parkham with his wife and daughter. In his spare time he is Chairman of Bideford Rugby Club having been a past player and Club Captain (Bideford RFC)
Stuart was educated at West Buckland School and Leicester Polytechnic, graduating in 1982 with a diploma in Estate Management. He qualified in 1985 as a Chartered Surveyor.
Stuart’s property career is West Country based and he has 34 years wide ranging property experience. He currently specialises in commercial valuation and survey work and landlord and tenant related matters.
Stuart has a passion for the great outdoors and a particular interest in renewable energy. He is a Trustee of the West Buckland School Foundation, Vice President of the Old West Buckland Association and a former Chairman of Ilfracombe Round Table
Paul is a Chartered Surveyor, having gained a Batchelor of Science Degree in Land Administration before being elected a Professional Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 1986.
Paul covers a wide range of professional work from the firm’s Bude office and is a RICS registered valuer.
Although specialising in residential surveys and valuations he also carries out general practice work including commercial rent reviews and lease renewals, professional consultant certification, rating appeals and provides boundary dispute advice. He has experience of preparing Expert Witness Reports.
Paul lives at Sutcombe and is married with two daughters. He is a trustee for the Sutcombe Almshouse Trust and is actively involved in the local community. He is a keen golfer (albeit high handicap) and previously played and refereed local league football.
Tim graduated from Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic in 1987 with a BSc in Estate Management. His early surveying career and professional training took place in Plymouth with a mixed general practice following which he worked for the MOD Defence Land Agent. He became a qualified Chartered Surveyor in 1991.
After 17 years of residential survey and valuation work with a corporate surveying company Tim returned to private practice in 2013 although he still undertakes residential mortgage valuation and survey work on behalf of corporate panel valuers. He also is a qualified Home Inspector and RICS Registered Valuer. Within Underwood Wright he concentrates on Residential Surveys and Valuations.
Tim lives with his wife on Dartmoor and is a keen walker and photographer. He also enjoys live and recorded music of most types, is a regular theatre-goer and is a supporter of both of his current, and former, home league football teams.
The newest member of our team. Matt is currently studying on a part-time basis for a BSc (Hons) Degree in Building Surveying and the Environment at Plymouth University, having completed a Higher National Certificate in Construction at Petroc College in Barnstaple.
Matt’s early career saw him working with an Architectural Design and Building Consultancy Practice in North Devon for 6 years, where he specialised in drawing plans to Building Regulation compliance, Topographical Land Surveys and carrying out domestic Air Tightness Testing on new dwellings.
Under the employment of Underwood Wright, Matt is continuing these services. Once fully qualified he hopes to join the team in carrying out Building Surveys.
Matt lives in Crackington Haven, near Bude. His private interests include gig rowing (Boscastle and Crackington Haven Gig Club) and he is a past men’s rowing captain, and is into his general fitness. He is also a lover of live music.
The newest member of our team. Alex was born locally in Barnstaple and educated at Great Torrington Community School, before completing his A-Levels at Petroc. Alex completed a degree in BSc Building Surveying at the University of the West of England Bristol and graduated in 2016.
Under the employment of Underwood Wright, Alex is working towards becoming a fully qualified member Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Alex has a particular interest in the conservation of historic properties and will continue to develop this skill during his training.
Alex lives in Newton Tracey and spends much of his spare time either on the rugby field for Bideford Rugby Club or hacking his way around the golf course.
Sharon is the Property Manager heading up the company’s Property Management Department. She has a flair for communication, great organisational skills and thrives on ‘getting things done’ which are all ideal attributes as far as her Clients are concerned!
Sharon has 20 years of local property and legal background and is currently studying to become a member of the Institute of Residential Property Managers.
Sharon lives in Northam with her husband and two children. She loves listening to music, is a keen shopper and has a passion for dance. She is an active Committee member of the North Devon Dance Festival and has inherited the job of ‘Lighting Lady’ for the Bright Stars Theatre group in Northam.