David Bucknall

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Lara Giles


Lara Giles


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It is with great sadness that Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) confirms David Bucknall, OBE, our former Chairman and founder of the firm has passed away. David, aged 76, died on Sunday, 7th June.

The family has said that he was out cycling as part of training for a forthcoming Iron Man triathlon.

Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time and we ask, on their behalf, that you respect their privacy as they come to terms with David’s unexpected death.

RLB Chairman Ann Bentley said on behalf of the company, ‘It was with great sadness that we learned of David’s untimely death. There have been a handful of personalities within the property and construction industry that have inspired change and innovation, but none as influential, pioneering and dynamic as David Bucknall.’

‘It was an honour and a privilege to work with him, both on a professional and personal basis. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time, as well as our staff, for many of whom he remained a friend and mentor.’

A leading industry figure

David was a leading figure in the quantity surveying profession, well known for his enthusiasm and desire to innovate and push the boundaries in everything he did.

He was renowned for his perseverance in striving for best practice, pushing conventional boundaries, and encouraging collaboration across the industry, to ensure that the quantity surveying profession would be at the forefront of any changes in the construction sector.

A Chartered Quantity Surveyor, David chaired the RICS Global Construction and Quantity Surveying Board, a role that recognised his huge contribution to the global profession.

David began his career in 1961 with Bucknall Austin.  He held a number of roles, culminating in his leadership of the global merger of Rider Hunt, Levett and Bailey, and Bucknall Austin, to form Rider Levett Bucknall in 2007.

Protégé and Bucknall’s First Rung

He retired from the firm in 2012, but remained part of RLB, acting as patron for the company’s graduate recruitment scheme, Protégé. David was passionate about the future of the profession, and was behind its inception and launch in 2006.

Protégé was later expanded to include ‘Bucknall’s First Rung’, a scheme targeted at NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training). This aimed to increase diversity in the industry, and widen the opportunities available for people who found it difficult to enter the profession.

Accolades and career highlights

David achieved many accolades and held a number of prominent positions:

  • Honorary Doctorate, University of Wolverhampton
  • Honorary Doctorate, Birmingham City University, for Contribution to Excellence and Quality in the Property and Construction sectors
  • Board member of Midlands ‘Constructing Excellence’
  • Trustee of Construction Youth Trust
  • Trustee of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Board.

He also founded and chaired the Birmingham Community Foundation charity (BCF), which distributed grants to local community grass-roots projects.

One particular career highlight in 2003 featured Nechells Baths. David acquired and restored the derelict Victorian Bath House to its former glory for community use, which merited a Royal visit by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.