A Lamb Associates Limited

Meet the Team: Daniel Cooper

Daniel Cooper is a Senior QS working from ALA’s Warrington Office. Daniel joined ALA in June 2023.

Dan has experience with major civils projects, including highways, bridges as well as build experience through major car park schemes.

He holds an MSc in Commercial Management and Quantity Surveying and an MSs in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution. He is a Chartered Quantity Surveyor (MRICS) and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Read more about Daniel’s work and home life below…

Senior QS Warrington

What do you enjoy most about your line of work?

Everything. Quantity Surveying isn’t just a job. It’s a way of life. So much so that I unapologetically take my work home with me.  Just ask my wife. Rosie is well-versed in the concept of “Disallowed Cost”.

Take the weekly food shop from the joint bank account. She is the only person I’ve ever known to arrive back home from a food shop, with salmon, which is already out of date.

I will frequently quiz Rosie with questions like, “When purchasing the Salmon did you follow the procurement procedure as stated in the Scope?” (i.e. going to the shops and getting some fresh salmon). Equally, “Did you comply with a constraint in Providing the Works as stated in the Scope?” (namely, that the salmon had to be fresh, and not out of date).

Other frequent offenders include candles (literally burning money), diffusers, and flowers. They are clearly a resource not used to Provide the Works (i.e. acquiring the weekly food shop).

Joking aside, I think as a general statement, construction is like no other field of work. I think there’s something almost idyllic about being sat in a cold site cabin, with muddy boots on, getting out and seeing a project progress out of the ground. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve bored Rosie with the projects I’ve done in the past. Equally, the characters you come across, and the laughs you have, I don’t think there’s another industry like it.

I’ve completed an MSc in Construction Law, so naturally, I enjoy the contractual aspects of my role. I like the attention to detail that is required or trying to solve contractual problems practically and pragmatically.

Finally, I love learning. It keeps me away from the utter dross spinoff shows Rosie watches on TV such as “Housewives of Anywhere”, or “Below Deck the River Mersey”. Construction is so vast that you are constantly learning, be it a new construction technique you’ve never used before, updated case law or standard forms.

Out of work, what do you do for fun?

Growing up I played a fair bit of football. My dad’s favourite comments from the sidelines were “You’re the definition of a luxury player”, “I’ve seen milk turn quicker”, and “You have two gears, and one of those is reverse”. I still play 5 a side, but unfortunately, those comments still hold some weight. Sadly, so do I.

I support Liverpool and our family outings often fit around the football.

Otherwise, I just enjoy spending time with the kids who crack me up with the things they come out with. I remember a few months back Lara saying, “Ted is my best friend” and then proceeding to ask, “Can we keep him”. He hadn’t broken the downstairs TV by that point, so regrettably, I said yes. We’re members of Chester Zoo as we live close by, so I’ll often take the beasts to look at the animals.

Also, I’ve recently purchased a pizza oven and become a bit of a pizza dough connoisseur which I appreciate is one of the most ‘dad things’ ever.

What is the best part about working for ALA?

I love the variety of things you get involved with. For context, one of my first jobs at ALA, which resulted in success, was an adjudication against one of the largest top 10 main contractors in the UK. This involved a hearing with the opposing party being represented by a Partner from one of the top 20 law firms within the country. I’ve also been involved in producing a variety of claims documents all the way up to working remotely on a project in Australia.

I also feel that prioritising work-life balance and work flexibility at ALA is not just lip service. You’re trusted to essentially organise your diary. If you have a deadline to hit, to a certain extent, it’s immaterial whether you meet that deadline sitting on the moon or in the office. Of course, there are caveats to that. Certain tasks dictate you need to be in a specific place at a particular time to carry out the task at hand. However, you’re trusted as an individual in making those decisions, giving a true sense of independence.

My kids typically go to bed between 6-6:30 pm. Previously, there were occasions when they’d be asleep when I left for work and when I got home. Since working at ALA, that is no longer the case. If I need to do more work to finish something, I will do it. Just after the kids have gone to bed. That for me is priceless.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?

It used to be trying to find the lunch box lid for the corresponding lunch box when rushing in the morning before work.

Rosie, to her credit, always makes me lunch for the following day. She often leaves it in a lunch box in the fridge but without a lid. For reasons unknown, we used to have about 30 different-sized Tupperware boxes with 30 different-sized lids. Trying to match the lid with the box, when already rushing around is a stress nobody needs in their life. If you ever see me with porridge oats in a sandwich bag assume I’ve been unsuccessful that morning.

Moving past that, I would say undertaking my MSc in Construction Law on top of my day job with Lara being two and Ted being one at the time was intense. Fortunately, some light bedtime reading around the Arbitration Act was usually enough to see them off sound to sleep.

What is your favourite work-related achievement?

Considering the above answer, I’d say my MSc in Construction Law.

What is your favourite non-work-related achievement?

My kids. Lara will be 3 years old on 27th December (note the closeness to Christmas – 2 for 1 Christmas and Birthday presents I hear you say?! Like I said, forever the QS). Ted will be 2 years old on 22nd February.

That said, I can’t take sole credit as I’m sure Rosie also played some part.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully sat in a comfy chair, with a beer-induced larger waistline, and a hairline still intact.

I also wouldn’t mind having a crack at the ICE Adjudicators exams along the way.

What is the most important thing to you as a person?

My kids, of which, I include our first born (in my eyes at least), Mavis, our French Bulldog. Legend. Any dog that simultaneously looks like a gremlin, bat, pig, bat-pig, or equally wouldn’t look out of place on the wall of a bank, as some sort of goblin creature, must be important in my eyes.

As for Lara and Ted, people say you love your kids unconditionally. I can vouch that saying must be true. Nothing is more heartbreaking than cooking a healthy meal for someone from scratch for them to go “EUGH!”, tip it on the floor, all without even trying it. Or, like Ted’s special move at the moment, throwing fresh fruit across the room, chasing it, with the sole purpose of smushing it into the carpet with his feet.

For perspective, if anybody else came into my home and broke our TV, drew on our living room walls, or attempted to ride our two-foot-nothing French bulldog like some sort of pack horse, they would certainly not be invited back in a hurry.

Not only are Lara and Ted invited back, but I hope they stay indefinitely. If that isn’t unconditional love, I don’t know what is.

Of course, Rosie and the rest of my family would feature in there as well.

How are you finding life at ALA on a day-to-day basis?

I love it. As I’ve noted above there is an interesting variety of work. There’s a vast amount of experience within the business to feed off and everyone seems like they are all cut from a similar type of cloth. Everyone is approachable, doesn’t take themselves too seriously, and generally all are up for a laugh (at the appropriate time of course). For me, that makes ALA such an enjoyable learning and working environment.

What is your favourite film, song and food?

Favourite Film: City of God.

Favourite Song: I think music depends on your mood, so I’d go with a memorable song. Mine and Rosie’s first wedding song was: Six Pence None the Richer – Kiss Me. So, I best go with that.

Favourite Food: The saying goes ‘You are what you eat’. My favourite food is Mussels. Coincidence?


Connect with Daniel on LinkedIn.

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