HBC Away Day 2018

HBC Away Day 2018

Hertfordshire Building Control Away Day 15th November 2018
Forum Conference Suite, Ibis Hotel,  Stevenage


Our November ‘Away Day’ provided opportunity to get away from the usual distractions and think differently…

Morning Seminars

Grenfell – Future Changes, Process and ISO 9001, Computer Security

Trevor Clements and David Eggleton, gave a relevant and knowledgeable presentation in two parts. We heard about lessons learned from Grenfell, and how the review had a broader remit to look at high rise buildings. The interim report in Dec 2017 found high rise regulations to be weak, ineffective and inconsistent with grey areas.  On 17 May 2018, the final report was published making 53 recommendations which will hopefully result in a simpler more robust regulatory framework. David rounded off the session by talking about the LABC’s Golden Thread of good quality information that needs to be available from future building owners. The JCA (Joint Competencies Authority) will be involved right from the planning stages of a building through construction and occupation and it looks like LABC will have primary involvement to lead on building control issues. The introduction of their competencies matrix and associated qualifications is timely.

A cautionary tale followed in Steve Polfreman’s seminar, which opened with a video clip of ‘Toast’. Toast illustrated a complete lack of process, and we went on to look at why we have processes and how our processes have evolved coming from 7 different council teams. Making a potentially dry subject memorable and amusing, Steve used party hats to talk through our Building Notices procedure. By the time we’d defined each ‘cog in the wheel’, it was clear that process mapping isn’t a quick one.

More cautionary tales followed with Caroline Beaumont warning us about all things trojan, worms and viruses. We were armed with what we need to do to prevent cyber attacks! We need to be able to protect ourselves from the digital bad guys who want our data and want to flood our email accounts with malware and infiltrate our computers!


Afternoon Antics

Pat and Mick gave a rousing and informative presentation on The Building Control Company encouraging flexible working arrangements so that they can service the client’s requirements.

Getting away from the desk and interacting with colleagues in a different environment can lead to the generation of new and unique ideas. There was plenty of blue sky thinking in our groups for ‘pimp my appliance’. The finance update ‘Do we want to be drains or radiators?’  by Simon Heywood tagged along with the theme.

3 year plan

Construction accounts for 8% of the economy. In Hertfordshire, 91k houses are planned up to 2031, and plans for up to 167k in neighbouring boroughs to Hertfordshire. With the average 3 bed semi costing 460k in Hertfordshire, more people are also extending rather than moving house. Which is good news for us! However, the implications of Brexit remain unclear. This will affect the construction sector, an industry that relies heavily on certainty and market confidence. The availability of labor constitutes one of the biggest issues Brexit potentially creates for the UK construction industry. 40% of London construction workers come from other parts of Europe. A shortage of workers could lead to higher project costs, plus this could hinder the achievement of the government’s objective to build one million new homes.  We are seeing an increase in modeling systems along the ‘build offsite’ theme.

We broke away into groups to brainstorm ideas around customer acquisition, IT, operations, HR and marketing. Some good ideas were voiced giving the opportunity to build upon these. It was great to get the HBC team members on the same page, working towards common goals with a clearer sense of shared purpose.


Getting people out of their usual environments is both energising and inspiring, looking forward to next year!











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We oversee Building Control for many local councils based in the UK - with a focus on helping both individuals and larger companies to achieve great building results safely.

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