Overill Associates

Meet the team

John Donovan BSc MRICS – Director and Building Surveyor

John graduated with a BSc in Building Surveying from South Bank Polytechnic in 1984, and qualified as a Chartered Building Surveyor in 1990.

His early years in surveying were spent in local government, but he has been working in private practice since 1990, providing a range of Building Surveying services across Sussex and further afield, particularly in the disciplines of defect diagnosis and repairs.

He was with Peter Overill Associates in Brighton and Hove for 14 years, latterly as a Partner, before the transfer to Overill Associates.

Alexander Gathern BSc (Hons) DipFD – Associate Director and Building Surveyor

Sponsored by Overill Associates, Alex graduated from The University College of Estate Management with a BSc (Hons) Degree in Building Surveying in June 2019.

He has also completed his Diploma in Fire Doors and has registered with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors to complete the Assessment of Professional Competence and achieve the status of MRICS.  

Alex has previous experience in property management, having worked for 2 years at Austin Rees as a Residential and Commercial block manager before joining Overill Associates in 2015.

Matthew Davenport BSc (Hons) – Senior Building Surveyor

Matthew joined Overill Associates in early 2015 following a period as an in-house surveyor looking after a well-known charity’s property portfolio.

He graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 2008 with an honours degree in Building Surveying.

He has previous experience in building surveying, property management and land surveying.

Adam Smith BA (Hons) PG Dip Surveying – Senior Building Surveyor

Adam joins an expanding team at Overill Associates, bringing valuable knowledge of the residential, commercial and charity sector.  

He worked for 6 years in the London residential market for a Chartered surveying practice, gaining experience of project management, contract administration, party walls and valuations. 

Moving to an animal welfare charity as a Consultant Building Surveyor, Adam was tasked with asset managing a large portfolio of mixed tenure properties and project managing the development of new facilities.

Adam is now completing his professional competency qualifications and is enjoying life back in Sussex.

Ben Riches – Insurance Valuations Coordinator

Ben’s role at Overill Associates sees him working alongside the team of Chartered Surveyors coordinating Reinstatement Cost Assessments for various property management companies in the South East.

Ben is also studying towards a BSc (Hons) in Real Estate Management and Surveying at The University College of Estate Management, with the goal of becoming an RICS Chartered Surveyor on completion of his degree.

Peter Overill BSc DipArb FRICS MCIArb IMaPS – Consultant and Building Surveyor

Peter has been a Chartered Building Surveyor for almost 40 years having gained a degree in Estate Management from The University of Reading and completed his initial training with The London Fire Brigade and The Greater London Council.

After spending 12 years in private practices in Mayfair, Cheltenham, Bristol and Bermuda, Peter moved to Brighton in 1984 where he established his own surveying practice in 1988.

He is now acting as a Consultant to Overill Associates bringing experience and expertise in all types of buildings and building processes.

Administration and support team

Sally Dowdell – Administration Manager


Sally worked at Austin Rees for 17 years until being transferred to Overill Associates in 2015.

Since leaving school Sally has worked for various Estate Agents in the Mid Sussex area as a secretary/negotiator. This background makes her an important member of the team.

Sally Brooks –       Project Coordinator

Sally has worked at Overill Associates for three years and was at Austin Rees prior to this.  

Sally is the first point of contact for new business relating to Building Surveys, Schedules of Dilapidations, Party Wall work and Insurance Reinstatement Valuations.  She co-ordinates planned maintenance projects for the Austin Rees and Graves Son & Pilcher portfolios and also oversees Fire Safety Improvements at smaller blocks of flats.  

Hellen Wickens – Surveyors’ Administration Assistant

After training as a Legal Secretary in Conveyancing, Hellen worked in the legal department of Local Government. She then became PA to the Director of Planning for the District Council. 

Her role included working with Engineers and Surveyors, Building Control, Development Control, Local Plans and Enforcement.