Don’t worry, I have not been up in the loft of that building I wrote about recently, sniffing the aromas, but the Monty Python refrain is to reflect the recent change in my working life.
I was sort of half expecting it, but nevertheless it was still a shock, when on New Years Eve at four-o-clock in the afternoon, my line manager handed me a notice of termination of my employment as Chief Building Control Officer at North Kesteven D.C., after 38 years with that Authority. I know that I am not unique in that happening and many of you in the recent past have received a similar letter. I just hope that the reason for my demise was a pecuniary one and not one of ability and attitude and that the thousands of unpaid hours worked, did something for the good reputation of Building Control in the District.
Again like many of you reading this, when you don’t want to retire, and eat, live and breathe Building Control, as I do, you feel a bit like Brian in the title of this article! Anyway, I am here to tell you that there is life after L.A.’s and you can escape the crucifixion, indeed there is a kind of resurrection, (forgive me God for this blasphemy) when you realise that you can concentrate solely on Building Control without the fripperies of local authority office, which include attendance at countless irrelevant meetings and similar dog-hangings, which have little or no consequence for the world outside!
I accepted a post offered to me with Butler and Young, Approved Inspectors at their Lincoln office, working as a project manager but as the Bard would say ‘there is the rub’! From administering and cajoling others, you are now in at the sharp end of Building Control again and have to relearn the nitty-gritty detail of the Approved Documents. The philosophy of the Building Regulations is all very well and earns respect but it does not earn any money or get the job done in good time. My biggest learning curve was and still is, Part L, which even in my former life I considered far too mathematical and scientific, from which data, simple solutions could have been extrapolated.
Although I miss very loyal Unit at North Kesteven and all the pretty girls in the planning department, I am now working with a team of very knowledgeable and qualified colleagues who are also most conscientious when it comes to enforcing the law. When I was in the public sector I often heard murmurings’ that too many compromises were made in the private sector, but I can tell you now, that listening to them tell very important repeat clients, how they must do as they are told when it comes to complying with the Regulations, is most impressive.
So if you are wondering what to do next, and you are good at the job, get on with it, don’t chew on life’s gristle, don’t grumble, give a whistle, as Building Control is the most important profession, even if others cannot see it, and your expertise can influence and ensure the safety of the built environment for a lifetime!
Hugh Johnson BSc (Hons) PPIBC FRICS MIFireE