Get to know – Andy Wilkes (Associate Director)
Tell us about your experience, have you always been in Building Control, if not how did you get into it?
“Not at all! My first job was as a butcher which was a great grounding for customer service, and banter. I started my construction industry career after doing work experience for an architect while I was still at school. This led to me being offered a YTS (yes I am that old) and drawing plans on tracing paper on a drawing board with Rotring pens, that I still have. I also have a tattoo on my ankle from the 0.18 pen that I dropped.
This gave me an understanding of the design process and the challenges faced by the design teams generally, and how design practices function.
The practice where I worked played football with the building inspectors at the local council which gave me an introduction into building control. They offered me a trainee role which I accepted and took me through a degree into professional membership of CABE which I will always be grateful for. I still meet with most of them now, even though they have all retired.”
What is your main area of strength?
“In my career I have worked in most sectors. My time at a large corporate practice introduced me to large commercial projects, high-rise residential as well as MOD projects. Latterly I have experience in residential care projects.”
What is your favourite project that you’ve worked on?
“Some of my favourite projects were defence projects which I obviously can’t discuss, however, some of the care homes that I have worked on have been the most fulfilling. I find it really interesting to understand the management of these buildings and how care is delivered, particularly within the dementia environment where the provisions of the Approved Documents can conflict with specialist care standards.”
What’s your view on the future of Building Control?
“These are really exciting times for building control with the biggest changes due to come into force since the Building Act in 1984. I don’t see the changes as being challenging to private sector building control, although being called a Building Control Approver is more of a mouthful than an AI !! We are used to being tightly audited and accredited and the new system headed by the new Building Safety Regulator can only be seen as a positive development for Building Control in both the public and private sector.”
What keeps you motivated for a day of site inspections? (do you listen to podcasts? Blast music in your car? What do you do for lunch? – packed lunch or grab something out?)
“I rarely go to site other than to peer review surveyors. I do enjoy developing our new surveyors though. At first it’s daunting to impart how much information they have to learn when you have taken it on yourself over a 30+ year career, but it is rewarding when they are so engaging and willing to develop.”
How long have you worked for Cook Brown and why did you choose us?
“I am relatively new to CBBC having only started in May 2022. Building Control is a small world though and I know a lot of people at CBBC. My passion has always been delivering a great customer service and I was aware of the fantastic reputation that CBBC have within the industry, so when I decided to make a change after 10 years at my previous employer, Cook Brown were the only choice.”
What do you do to relax outside of work? (hobbies, interests, holidays, events)
“The majority of my weekends are often taken up by football, both of my younger children play for local teams on Saturdays and Sundays and I wouldn’t miss a game! We also follow Kidderminster Harriers when we can and my lads support Man U and Liverpool, which can be interesting. I am an ex-rugby player (I had to stop when things started breaking) but I do love the game and try to follow England when possible. I was at the Calcutta Cup match in Edinburgh when storm Cara hit in 2020 and had to get a taxi back to the midlands!
Holiday-wise, my father-in-law lives in Cyprus, so we tend to go there every year. Other than that, we might have some cheeky weekends away in the southwest.
We also have two dogs that demand walking – fortunately we live on the edge of town and have access to plenty of canals, rivers and nature reserves. If I am reading it tends to be technical updates/industry news, which is a bit geeky but I do love to keep up to date.”