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 seven Chartered Surveyors ; Directors Lester Bird, Paul Furse, Stuart Smith and Stephen Shortridge, Associate Surveyor Tim Dunne, David Dark and Matt Rogers. 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 in1998. In the same year he joined Passmore Wright in Bideford as a general practice surveyor where he worked until the firm merged with Underwood 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 in Party Wall Act 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, a co-educational independent school in North Devon and St Petroc’s School, a co-educational independent Preparatory school in North Cornwall.
In 2016 Lester was appointed Warden of the Bideford Bridge Trust and oversees their extensive property portfolio.
Lester lives in Parkham with his wife and daughter. In his spare time he enjoys watching rugby, having been a past player, Club captain and recent past Chairman of Bideford Rugby Club.
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. A former Chairman of Ilfracombe Round Table , Stuart is presently a Trustee of the West Buckland School Foundation and in 2019 was elected President of the Old West Buckland Association.
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 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 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.
Matt is the companies Chartered Building Surveyor, tasked with some of the more technical aspects of work.
Matt’s early career saw him working with a design and building consultancy practice in North Devon for 6 years, where he specialised in drawing plans to Building Regulation compliance, measured surveys and topographical land surveys, before joining Underwood Wright in 2014. He studied part-time whilst employed achieving a BSc (Hons) Degree in Building Surveying and the Environment at Plymouth University. With Underwood Wright he went on to undertake his Assessment of Professional Competence, passing first time and qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor in December 2018.
Matt lives in North Cornwall and in his spare time enjoys competing in the fiercely competitive world of Cornish Pilot Gig Rowing for his beloved Boscastle and Crackington Gig Club.
David is a Chartered Surveyor qualifying by examination via the College Of Estate Management at Reading University in 1981. While qualifying he was a national prizewinner for the top valuation paper. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in January 2000.
Born in Bideford and educated at Bideford Grammar School, he was a keen footballer and cricketer in his younger days. In fact his career could have been very different when he was offered terms with a professional contract with Southampton football club but he decided to remain in Bideford to qualify and play for Bideford FC.
He has worked in the North Devon area throughout his career, including two of the local estate agency practices and more recently for corporate national surveying companies.
David covers a wide range of professional work for the Bideford Office and is a RICS Registered Valuer. Although specialising in residential surveys and valuations he also carries out general professional work including development land appraisals.
A former Bideford Round Tabler, David lives at Northam, he is a trustee for the Andrew Dole Trust and a Bideford Bridge Trustee.
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.