Revealed: how top property expert has helped Principle’s success

One of the UK’s most experienced property professionals has been a key ingredient in Principle Estate Management’s successful expansion during the last three years, it can be revealed today.


Peter Dening joined Principle as a consultant back in September 2018 following his retirement as a partner at independent chartered surveyors Pennycuick Collins, where he worked for 36 years.


Mr Dening was unable to talk about his important role at Principle until now due to a departure clause from Pennycuick Collins.


Brett Williams, managing director at Principle, said: “Peter has been working with us for nearly three years on a consultancy basis and has been integral to the company’s rapid and successful expansion.


“It’s with pleasure that I can now reveal the importance of his role and how much we have valued his assistance.”


Mr Dening is a Fellow of both the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM).


He also worked with the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) for eight years, including two three-year terms on its council and two years as its chairman.


The latter position until 2012 immediately followed Mr Williams’ three years in the same role, which means Principle is the UK’s only estate management firm with two past chairmen of ARMA.


Mr Williams explained that Mr Dening had always been involved in property management with particular focus on IT systems and finance, specialisms that led to a previous chairmanship of ARMA’s Technical Committee.


Mr Williams said: “When Joe Jobson and I set up Principle, we decided to take the plunge and invest in the Qube property management software from day one.


“This was a big investment for a fledgling business, but we wanted to give our people the best system to help them provide the best service.


“Qube is very flexible, but to make the most of it we needed to configure and tweak it to suit our purposes, which was Peter’s key function, and I cannot think of anyone better skilled to have worked Qube so hard.


“Peter has also been crucial on various other projects devised to either improve customer experience or to improve staff’s working efficiencies so they can spend more time with customers and clients.


“Examples include automating an export and import routine for annual service charge budget reviews, which saved time by not duplicating efforts and reduced chance of human error.


“But one of Peter’s main contributions has been all Qube aspects, ranging from setting up and implementing all Qube finance processes to implementing Qube upgrades and enhancing functionality when they release different versions.


“He is also rolling out a current project to enhance Qube portal services for customers, has arranged a card payment system for customers, created links between Qube and office finance systems and import routines from banking systems, again reducing duplication and human error.”


Mr Williams listed other processes successfully introduced by Mr Dening, including:


  • VAT reporting routines for some of our commercial management instructions.
  • Creating templated stationery within Qube for invoices, statements, client statements, payment receipts, and remittance advice to suppliers.
  • Tracking bespoke insurance records on each property and also tracking insurance claims.
  • Another tracking system to ensure Principle is on top of service charge accounts, instantly knowing the status of each one, monitoring them from budget implementation and issuing final charges.
  • Bespoke recording of each client’s preferences, such as their preferred accountant, and whether they or Principle deal with things like consent for alterations or subletting and credit control procedures.


Mr Dening, who grew up and was schooled in Lichfield, worked at James & Lister Lea in Birmingham before joining Pennycuick & Brown in 1982.


His personal interests include collecting and restoring antique clocks, gardening and foreign travel, along with the ongoing restoration of a 16th century farmhouse.


Mr Dening said: “I’ve known Brett since 1999 when we worked together for five years, and so I was thrilled to join Principle in 2018, and delighted to now be able to talk about that openly.


“I love working with Principle – it is really enjoyable helping them to get more out of Qube and watching the business grow and develop.


“It has been inspiring to work with people willing to make the necessary investment of both time and resources to realise Principle’s founding ethos: to do property management properly and go that extra distance for customers.”


Principle was launched in spring 2018 and now employs more than 35 staff looking after well over 7,500 units in more than 300 developments across the UK.