Better by design:
Building and construction is in the blood and finance is on the CV, but Daryl Teague also sees himself as a bit of designer.
Teague’s young company, Glencairn Properties, is behind a number of niche developments around the capital, each one different from the other.
“We’re leading by design,” he says, quoting a company mantra, but one that he also seeks to live by.
The company has developed a barn concept at Liberton, has injected a Scandinavian concept in a small development at Corstorphine, and has built a row of modern colonies in Broughton, the first since the originals were built in the last century.
“The council loves them. So does the Cockburn Society,” he says, adding that Barratt, better known for building off-the-shelf designs, is building its own versions at Portobello.
“I love modern architecture and I do the research to develop the idea,” says Teague. “Because we are small and do everything from buying the plot to building the homes we have the ability to design to suit the site.
“Price is decided by the market but smart design helps you stand out.”
At 31, Teague is one of the youngest building company bosses in the country and has emerged as one of its most vocal. He has voiced his concerns on a number of issues, from Brexit to planning department delays.
In a recent article he spoke of the increasing challenge facing builders trying to get warrants from Edinburgh City Council. He called on the authority “to take a fresh look at the system” adding that “the current process isn’t working and is negatively impacting the local economy”.
How does this go down with council officials?
Teague shrugs his shoulders. “I’m not afraid to speak up on issues I think need raising,” he says, his smile betraying a little youthful indifference to what others might say.
He’s applied the same attitude to tackling the recruitment issue, and the implications of Brexit on the construction industry.
“Yes, the problem of immigrant workers is a real one,” he says, estimating that 25% to 30% of his company’s workforce are EU nationals, mainly Polish.
He’s a big believer in apprenticeships, arguing that too much focus is on university education when many youngsters would benefit from learning a trade.
“It’s crucial that the industry puts a plan in place to open up new routes to apprentices,” he says.
Teague comes from a family of builders but took the route into business via private education and university. After a short spell at JP Morgan he returned to the family trade in 2011 to launch Glencairn. Brother Barry joined as site manager two years later.
He got some initial backing from his father but it is essentially self-funded. His first project was in Aberdeen, turning a care home into student flats, and since then the focus has been on Edinburgh. Turnover is expected to hit £4 million this year and he’s setting himself a “sustainable” £10m target.
“I tried for a number of jobs [in finance] but was told I was ‘too entrepreneurial,’ ” he says. “I guess I like being able to run a business.”
He’s now awaiting news on a site at Fountainbridge and is about to unveil a plan to convert a rundown former 1930s cinema and bingo hall in Leith into 35 flats.
It’s a B-listed building, though nothing of the original interior has survived. Ian Springford has been appointed architect to give it a new purpose. Teague believes it will also help inject some life into a rundown corner of Leith on Great Junction Street.
“There have been legal and land ownership issues, but we’re just about ready to submit the plan,” he says.
Education: Stewart’s Melville school, Aberdeen University (property and finance)
Career highlights: JP Morgan (analyst); director of Glencairn Properties
Any other interests
Golf and shooting…and a young family
I’d like to drive past one of my developments in 40 years and feel proud that I helped build it. One day, I want to hand it all over to my kids, so it’s my job to make sure I don’t drop the ball.