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David Stephens
Assistant Director

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David has over 20 years’ experience in student accommodation and university estates and for the last 5 has specialised in providing strategic estates advice to the Higher Education sector.


David has particular experience in residential strategies, on-campus student housing partnerships, facilities management, catering and commercial operations and student demand analysis. David has advised 20+ universities in the UK, as well as FE colleges, local authorities, NHS trusts, developers and investors. David’s passion for HE and thorough understanding of the needs of both students and institutions provides clients with the reassurance of SFG’s commitment to achieving the long-term outcomes and benefits of each project.


David assists Robert within SFG’s University Advisory team, providing services to a range of Higher Education clients.


Prior to joining SFG, David was at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) for 5 years, where as Associate Director of Higher Education, he advised universities on projects that created or upgraded c.10k beds. For most of these David led dialogue sessions as well as specialist workstreams around demand and supply studies, FM requirements and service level agreements, student experience and rental strategies. He has also advised student housing partners and investors on similar projects. David has also assisted in the production of residential and non-residential estate strategies, provided strategic property advice for Further Education Colleges, and advised NHS trusts on residential partnership projects.


Prior to this, David spent 15 years at the University of London where he was responsible for the c.3,000 bed Intercollegiate Halls, and latterly also the operation of the academic estate, which consisted of c.140 buildings, 40 of which being directly operated and the considerable grounds which included historic Georgian squares. While at the University he took a lead role in the specification, procurement and contract management of two student accommodation partnership projects of c.1,900 beds, as well as the University’s bundled FM and catering contracts of c.£10m per annum. He also served on a number of university committees.


David has a degree in Hotel and Catering Management from the University of Surrey and prior to moving into the HE sector he worked in catering, serving as Food and Beverage Manager at a private golf club in Kent, as well as an Assistant Manager at various PizzaExpress restaurants in Central London.

“The student experience is our number one priority at the University of Birmingham, and we knew how incredibly important it would be for us to get this right within our student accommodation partnership. David was invaluable in helping us embed every aspect in dialogue and documents. Having been through the process on the client side himself, he helped us articulate our requirements, broke down all the complex issues, and gave real insight and reassurance to my team about how it would work on the ground. I look forward to working with David on future projects soon!”

- Einita Suman
Director of Accommodation and Operations
University of Birmingham

David's Project Involvement

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