A quarter century of change, but the fundamentals of professionalism remain the same

They say you should never look back, but one of the great advantages of taking the occasional glimpse over your shoulder is that you can get an idea of how far you’ve come.

This came home to me rather forcefully as I was considering the remarkable transformation which the commercial property market in Scotland has undergone since I was brought aboard DM Hall as a callow apprentice surveyor nearly 25 years ago.

It’s a long time, I know, especially for one who remains so remarkably youthful, but an indication of just how dramatically the market has changed can be seen in the personnel numbers back in those heady days of 1987.

DM Hall at that time had one commercial surveyor in the Glasgow office, a couple in Edinburgh and one in the lonely outpost of Aberdeen. Now the firm has 11 commercial surveyors in Glasgow alone and 30 in total across the country, all supported by a huge backroom staff.

How did the commercial property scene grow at such an exponential rate? How did the boom years up to 2007 alter the balances of the sector? And how is the market likely to fare as the economy continues to struggle its way out of recession?

It’s worth reflecting on just how different the commercial property arena was back then, in the year when Margaret Thatcher was winning her third term in office and Black Monday was wiping £50 billion off UK shares after the Wall St. crash.

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