Team3-Jan15We are experts at marketing for construction markets. We can help you develop strategies to influence building product specification. Our specialist team have been recruited from sales, marketing or specification roles within the construction sector. This experience means we are informed about current issues, familiar with the construction industry’s language and practices and understand the challenges you and your customers face.



Chris Ashworth – BSc (Hons) DipM FCIM MIMIC Chartered Marketer : Managing Director

Chris Ashworth – BSc (Hons) DipM FCIM MIMIC Chartered Marketer

Managing Director

Chris has over 35 years sales and marketing experience in the construction industry and is one of the construction industry’s leading authorities on Specification Selling. He spent 20 years in sales and marketing roles with building product manufacturers before founding Competitive Advantage in 1999.

Chris Ashworth is one of the leading authorities on specification strategy and the drivers that influence this such as sustainable construction and BIM. He has experience of establishing a Key Account Management approach, helping to develop sales of added value products, has implemented pricing strategy and reorganised sales and marketing departments of businesses.

He is on the organising committee for the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group (CIMCIG), formerly BIM4M2 Promotions Working Group Chair and Steering Group Member and formerly on the External Affairs Committee of the Construction Products Association. He is a former member of the Green Construction Board Promotional Working Group. He is a regular contributor to industry journals, including Construction News, Building and RIBA Insight’s bulletin. Chris regularly speaks at seminars for organisations such as the Association of Interior Specialists, Council for Aluminium in Building, RIBA Enterprises and CIMCIG.

Read Chris Ashworth's full biography

Helen Johnstone – BA (Hons) : Marketing Communications Manager

Helen Johnstone – BA (Hons)

Marketing Communications Manager

Helen has many years’ experience in marketing communications. She started working in the construction industry in 2004 when she joined The Concrete Centre as Communications Manager. Joining Competitive Advantage in 2011, Helen is responsible for managing the marketing communications for Competitive Advantage. Since joining she has developed an expertise in the how social media is used which informs development of research programmes such as the Construction Media Index. She is also responsible for contributing to the format and presentation of research reports to make them easier to understand and interpret.

Rachel Ward – BA (Hons) : Associate

Rachel Ward – BA (Hons)


Before joining Competitive Advantage, Rachel worked for Saint-Gobain Glass and Solaglas, in a variety of specification sales, B2B and B2C marketing and communications and product management roles, including Marketing Manager in Ireland. Her product experience encompasses specialist internal glazings and cladding, as well as more general applications, providing technical expertise in related performance areas such as solar control, acoustics and energy efficiency.

A French-speaker, Rachel has experience in working on an international level, with large, multinational clients and projects, both with Saint-Gobain Glass and Competitive Advantage.

She has worked with Competitive Advantage since 2005 taking on research, training, communications, event management, business development and strategy projects. She heads the research team for Competitive Advantage, advising clients on appropriate research methods, managing projects and conducting research for all manner of products and services from the specification-driven sector to the more volume-based commodity sector. She also leads projects for clients on reviewing, tailoring and developing CPD, to maximise its effectiveness for the manufacturer.

Julie Mould – BSc (Hons), MCIM : Associate

Julie Mould – BSc (Hons), MCIM


Julie has over 18 years experience in the electrical and telecoms sectors of the construction industry. She has experience in delivering detailed marketing strategy and integrated communication plans, on time and to budget. Julie has a wealth of experience of a range of marketing tools including; PR, branding strategy, advertising, website design and implementation, event management, social media and apps.

Working for the cable manufacturer BICC, which later became Pirelli Cables, she held various marketing roles including Components Marketing Manager, UK Marketing Communications Manager and Product Manager for one of the specialist fire products. When Pirelli changed its name to Prysmian Cables in 2006 Julie was the UK Marketing Manager who oversaw the complex rebranding project for this market leading company.

Nichola Martland – CIM Dip : Researcher

Nichola Martland – CIM Dip


Starting her career with manufacturer BICC and then Pirelli Cables, where she worked in marketing and telesales, Nichola joined Competitive Advantage in 2002. Since then she has specialised in research - interviewing clients, architects, engineers, contractors, house builders, home-lifestyle retailers, builders merchants and specialist wholesalers amongst others. During this time she has gained a good understanding of the construction industry and its issues and is able to talk the language used by these respondent categories to ensure she can engage with them when gathering information. She is also able to draw on her commercial experience to identify opportunities for the client.

Patsy Beckett : Researcher

Patsy Beckett


Patsy has worked in the market research industry for over 30 years. She started her career working for leading agency BMRB where she worked in Research and Field Management, managing face to face interviewing as well as qualitative projects, and was involved in all aspects of managing the field department. Since 2003 Patsy has worked independently as a Research Telephone Interviewer, interviewing a cross section of people across many different sectors. During this time, she worked extensively for Lychgate Projects, interviewing all types of job roles in the construction industry ranging from architects, design manager, engineers, technical managers, surveyors, Housing Associations to suppliers in the industry and trade associations. Through this work, Patsy has gained vast knowledge and insight into the many areas of the construction industry and has a wide understanding of the current issues in the industry.

Michael Prince – BA (Hons) : Research Manager

Michael Prince – BA (Hons)

Research Manager

Joining Competitive Advantage Consultancy in 2012 as a graduate in economics from Kingston University, Michael’s role as Research Manager involves data analysis, business and market forecasting, researching and writing reports. Since joining, he has developed online information gathering options. He is also responsible for maintaining personalised client forecasting models.


Sarah Upton : Administrator

Sarah Upton


Sarah has over 10 years’ experience as a Senior Administrator. Having previously worked in the Defence sector for over 6 years, Sarah has the knowledge and understanding of the construction industry. Here she was responsible for supporting 70 members of staff, including construction professionals from architects to engineers.

Working for Competitive Advantage since June 2017 she provides administrative support to the team, contributing to the smooth operation and growth of the consultancy. She acts as customer liaison on consultancy and research projects, as well as managing training courses. She also supports the administration of important industry events such as the CIMCIG Chairman’s debate and The Construction Marketing Awards.

Brian Murphy – ONC HNC BSc (Hons) Dip Arch (Dist) : Associate

Brian Murphy – ONC HNC BSc (Hons) Dip Arch (Dist)


A technician and architect by training, Brian started writing specifications for Competitive Advantage in 2016 and joined the team in 2017. Brian has 44 years experience in the Construction Industry 34 of them specialising in specification writing, training and consultancy, founding ASWS in 1983, NGS in 2001, GreenSpec website in 2003 & on-line Green Building Encyclopaedia in 2012, along the way.  During that time Brian has specified £2,415m of projects including British Library and Bluewater Shopping Centre. He runs CPD, lectures, trains and coaches technicians, architects, interior designers and even project secretaries in the art of specification writing and use of its software.

He is on the steering group of The Green Register of Construction Professionals (TGR) membership and training group, technical committee of Ska Fit out and Refit Environmental Assessment Method, development team of Ska Higher Education scheme and steering group or writer, editor and reviewer of numerous environmental construction Guides, Books and website content.


Deborah Rowe – MSc, MISTC, MCIM, FIDM, FRSA : Technical Writer

Deborah Rowe – MSc, MISTC, MCIM, FIDM, FRSA

Technical Writer

Deborah is a technical writer, a chartered marketer, and a member of the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC). With nearly 30 years of writing experience, covering technical, sales and B2B marketing content, she specialises in making ‘the technical’ more accessible for a range of audiences.

With a strong background in science and engineering, she started her career as a technical officer for the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), before taking a postgrad marketing diploma and then working for an environmental consultancy. In her experience as a marketing consultant, she has worked with professional services, and engineering institutions, in construction, civil engineering and the built environment. She also has many years’ experience in academic publishing (covering STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), medical and healthcare).

Deborah regularly provides clients with content for everything from long-form articles, for trade media, to blogging, websites and social media. In the pursuit of quality, she works extensively with subject specialists to ensure that technical content maintains its integrity.

As a committee member of the CIM Construction Industry Group (CIMCIG) she has contributed to industry publications including RIBA Insight and Construction News.

Nikki Hunt : Credit Control

Nikki Hunt

Credit Control

Nikki has been working for Competitive Advantage since 2012. She manages the credit control and invoicing for Competitive Advantage.