Who We Are

BlackSurv Ltd is a well established and friendly firm of Chartered Surveyors, (based in Halstead, Essex) regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Here are the profiles of BlackSurv Ltd and some of their associates. Starting with The Senior Director Mr Laurence Black.


Laurence Black

Laurence Black BSc MSc MRICs CSRT

Laurence has had a varied and extensive career in both Construction and as a Property Professional. Emanating from Wanstead E11 originally and arriving with his parents and siblings to Wethersfield in the late 1970’s, he finished his schooling at Tabor High Braintree. After a short time in a panel beating and spraying garage Laurence decided to go into Construction and started as a builder’s labourer with a small firm in Chelmsford. After two years as a labourer he entered a formal Carpenter’s three year apprenticeship studying for his City & Guilds qualifications at Braintree College. ‘During the colder months I would look at the fella in the site hut poring over drawings and giving instruction and thought that’s where I want to be’.
Laurence swiftly moved up the ladder from being Site foreman to Site Manager with larger Construction firms overseeing large scale new builds and refurbishment schemes including Essex County Hall in the late 1980’s. ‘I seemed to gravitate into Quantity Surveying and Estimating and worked for large Construction firms in both London and Essex for a number of years.’ He enrolled on a three year Chartered Institute of Building Construction Management Course at Chelmsford College and attained Management Certificate and Diploma with Merits. Whilst working at Anglia Ruskin University Campuses Estates Departments in both Cambridge and Chelmsford, Laurence was invited by one of the Senior Lecturers to undertake a BSc Degree course in Building Surveying. This was immediately followed by an MSc Masters’ Degree Course in Conservation of Historic Buildings, gaining specialist qualifications in Damp, Pest & Rot and becoming a Chartered Surveyor – MRICS.
‘I am very proud of my Construction Trade background qualifications as I am my professional qualifications. It all seemed to be a naturally progressive pathway from being a time served Carpenter and Joiner into being a Chartered Surveyor.

Scope of Knowledge and Specialisms

All property Surveys, defects diagnosis, Boundary disputes, Rights of Light, Party Wall Matters, Construction Health and Safety – CDM, Plans and Drawings, Dilapidations, Historic Property Conservation, Specifications and Project Management & Damp, Pest and Rot.


City & Guilds Craft Certificate in Carpentry and Joinery
Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Certificate in Construction Management
Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Diploma in Construction Management
BSc Degree in Building Surveying
MSc Masters Degree in Conservation of Historic Buildings
CSRT Designation – Certified Surveyor in Remedial Treatment of Damp, Pest & Rot (BWPDA/ PCA Accredited)
MRICS – Full Member of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
*Registered Property Valuer with the RICS

Personal Life

Laurence has been married to Caroline for over 30 years and they have four children. He currently resides in a refurbished Late Tudor former Public House in a village close to Halstead, Essex. He enjoys what little spare time he has continuing to refurbish his home alongside rebuilding classic cars and motorcycles and/ or playing guitar and singing in a local covers band.


Melanie Potter

Melanie Potter


Melanie has had a great deal of experience as a Secretary and PA with firms of solicitors and estate agents in Halstead and Colchester since leaving Hedingham School and starting work in 1979 after completing a City & Guilds and Diploma course at Colchester Institute covering all aspects of office work and book-keeping. This work involved, over the years, all types of legal work, of which the company law element has proved particularly useful. She has a family history in Halstead and Hedingham going back many generations, and also spent 4 years of her childhood in South Australia.

“I am employed by Blacksurv Ltd as a Co-Director and Office Manager working alongside Laurence Black MRICS, since we started the business in 2013 which has proved to be team which works well. Shortly before this I had been working for the previous 14 years for the Late David Oswick, a Chartered Surveyor for over 40 years in Halstead. I am also employed by Allen Estates in Halstead, on Saturday mornings to help with their viewings, with whom we have a good working relationship as a business, and my estate agency experience is very useful to both companies.”

Personal Life

Melanie has four children, who have gradually dispersed to their various careers and university, but one daughter still living at home, which is an almost completely original Edwardian villa, in Halstead, which is quite a rarity these days. She enjoys live music in small venues and spending time with friends, and has also been a North West clog morris dancer for the past 8 years with a local female team, travelling to folk festivals to perform in all parts of the UK and Ireland and in 2010 to West Virginia and Washington DC dancing outside the White House.


Keith Cullis

Keith Cullis

Keith is our I.T Consultant, he is the owner of System Solutions based in Braintree, he is a fully qualified IT Technician and Computer Engineer and maintains our server, work computers and our website. He is the go to guy for all our Computer and IT related needs.

“I was approached by Laurence Black when he and Melanie Potter first started the business back in 2013, to supply my knowledge and expertise to help set up and maintain the technical side of the office, I was very happy to do so as I have known Laurence for many years and is a very good friend. My company, System Solutions and BlackSurv Ltd have had a very good working relationship for the past three years and I’m sure it will last for many years to come”