2023 – A Year in Review
14th December 2023
WOW, what a year.
As we approach the end of 2023, we reflect back on all that we have achieved this year. 2023 wasn’t all smooth going, but there is so much for us to reflect on and be proud of as a company and as an industry.
From the introduction of The Golden Thread and industry events to the Building Safety Act and awards, it is safe to say it was an incredible year for us here at Wilkinson.
We have looked at each month and taken a snippet of our favourite moments.
Main highlight: We kicked off the year with a lot of talk about the introduction of The Golden Thread
Key Project: Our team started working on Uniqlo in Covent Garden – a stunning architectural building!
Team: The Employee of the Quarter award was presented to BOTH Chloe and Michael for all their hard work over the previous quarter.
Community: Geoff held a site safety day at a local school in Leybourne, just down the road from the West Malling office.
Main highlight: Our MD Geoff attended Urbano’s Build Zero Carbon networking event.
Key Project: We were appointed approved Inspectors on a fantastic community project, St Faiths Church and Community Centre in Maidstone. This project was designed by the team at Hawkes Architecture, with a particular focus on energy efficiency and sustainability.
Team: Amanda, our HR and Finance Director, celebrated her birthday.
Community: We committed to working with Mid Kent Mind over the months that followed to see how SMEs in the construction industry can also provide support to their staff where they don’t have large corporate budgets.
Main highlight: Our new website went live.
Key Project: We were appointed as the Building Inspector for the London Transport Museum.
Team: We had a fantastic team night out at Boom Battle as well as celebrating many birthdays.
Community: Geoff held a guest lecture at Middlesex University on the Architectural Technology course.
Achievements: We won the Global 100 Award for the Best Approved Inspectors in 2023 for the third year running.
Main highlight: Mike Chambers was awarded the first-ever Keith Seeley Award for Employee of the Year. The Keith Seeley Award is an award in memory of our friend and colleague who sadly passed away last Christmas and is much missed. This award is given to the person who we feel best fits the #bemorekeith criteria – a colleague who has a positive, caring and friendly approach and is professional and supportive in their job.
Key Project: We carried out an inspection of a very exciting project – Damien Hirst‘s Demon, the 60-foot-tall bronze sculpture that began to rise by the Thames on the Greenwich Peninsula.
Team: We celebrated Tracey, who won employee of the quarter.
Community: We renewed our sponsorship of The Big Issue. Every subscription purchase supports The Big Issue’s mission to help the most vulnerable people in the UK improve their lives.
Main highlight: May saw the first episode of The Lego Inspector, created by the very creative team member, Melanie.
Key Project: Geoff attended a final site visit in Elephant and Castle, London, for a fabulous new barbershop, Hair Authors.
Team: Michael celebrated his one-year employment anniversary at Wilkinson’s Construction Consultants.
Community: Geoff delivered a passionate talk on the Building Safety Act, engaging fellow RICS surveyors in insightful discussions. The wealth of knowledge and expertise shared by Geoff was truly inspiring.
Main highlight: June was the final deadline for applications submitted prior to the 2022 changes to commence work on site. We were also very busy with inspections and updating clients on the changes to Parts F, L, O and S.
Key Project: Azhari conducted a final building inspection of an Industrial estate in Croydon for the installation of a mezzanine with a steel deck. This was a fantastic project, and we would love to work on more mezzanine projects in 2024.
Team: We celebrated Tara’s birthday as well as congratulated Michael on achieving his Certificate in Building Control from the Chartered Association of Building Engineers.
Community: Geoff joined an ARAD panel discussion and networking event on fire safety and the Building Safety Act, along with the esteemed panel featuring Max Titchmarsh, Joe Hart, and Tom Grey. Together, they shed light on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for our industry.
Main highlight: Geoff attended a fantastic event this month, Westminster Business Council’s Summer Party, which took place at 55 Broadway. It was a brilliant networking event with fabulous views of London.
Key Project: July’s feature project was Pippin Barn. We were appointed by Hawkes Architecture earlier in the year, but the project really started to take shape during the summer. This contemporary and sustainable residential project in the Kent countryside has been one of our favourite projects to be part of. We love working on unusual projects and helping architects to bring their visions to life.
Team: We celebrated two promotions within our team. Melanie was promoted to Building Inspector, and Mike Chambers was promoted to our Building Control Manager. Finally, our adorable office dog, Suggs the Schnoodle, celebrated his 8th birthday.
Community: Geoff Wilkinson’s latest article in Architect Journal looked at designing autistic-friendly workplaces and highlights what architects can do to make the world of work more inclusive for neurodiverse people.
Main highlight: We passed the annual ISO 9001:2015 audit with flying colours. Not only did we pass, but we passed without any NCRs, not even minor ones!
Key Project: We completed the final Inspection of an amazing project in Croydon. The new offices of Elite Renewables are the UK’s first showroom entirely powered by renewables.
Team: We had a Team Social event at Edenwood Place, where we enjoyed food and drinks in the sunshine. The day also featured epic table tennis battles and intense table football showdowns; the energy was electric, and the fun was non-stop.
Community: We helped to get Maidstone United to welcome fans back for the new season. Mike conducted a final inspection of the new security and welfare facilities being built.
Finally, how could we forget that August 2023 also marked the first time EVER that the Lionesses made it to a Women’s World Cup final, making history for the country?
Main highlight: We were delighted to win Best Approved Building Inspectors at the AI Global Excellence Awards 2023. This was our second award of the year for our Approved Inspector Services.
Key Project: Something different we want to mention this month was a little project we gave to our team. We gave them a photography project with the theme ‘days off’. We judged the entries, and the winner received £25 to use on a day out. Chloe won the competition with an absolutely gorgeous photo of a sunset (First image below).
Team: Geoff Celebrated 40 years in building Control. Geoff started in Building Control in 1983 when he left school at 16. He was offered 3 jobs in construction/engineering – one in planning, one in building control and one as an engineer with the underground. He chose to work in building control, and the rest is history.
Community: We were shortlisted for the ESG Business Champion of the Year Award in the Westminster Business Council Awards 2023. We believe in long-term relationships, both internally and externally, and we have adopted the UN sustainable development goals, which underpin our business philosophy.
Main highlight: In October, we saw one of the most dramatic changes to building regulations in years as the BSR Regime came into effect. The new regime included new terminology, roles and timelines that are important to understand for any building work (not just HRBs).
Key Project: We added a new case study to our website of the Spiritland project situated in a double ground-floor unit within the listed Granary Building in Kings Cross. Spiritland is not just another bar or restaurant; it’s a sanctuary for sound, a temple of taste, and a haven for those who appreciate the finer details of life.
Team: Geoff and some of the team attended the Kent Construction Expo, where Geoff gave an insightful talk on the Building Safety Act and the need for accurate digital records and increased competency across the entire supply chain, as well as the penalties for failing to act.
Community: We were so thrilled and honoured to win the ESG Champion of the Year award at the Westminster Business Council Awards 2023!
Main highlight: In November, Geoff delivered CPD courses on the Building Reg changes to hundreds of architects and other industry professionals. The course covers the key themes of competency, compliance and transitional provisions. It was so popular that we even added an extra date.
Key Project: Hoka opened its very first UK standalone store, and we were so proud to have been involved in this project, offering our approved inspector services. The fit-out, carried out by contractor Silvaman, is over 2 floors, and it was a challenging project both technically and operationally for all involved, but was successfully delivered and opened as planned in Autumn 2023.
Team: This month, we celebrated two birthdays – Suzy and Geoff – and awarded Mike the Employee of the Quarter award. We also welcomed Maddison to the team as Administration Assistant.
Community: We stood silent with the rest of the country on remembrance day to pay our respects.
Main highlight: We did a talk with Small Business Britain & Indeed on the importance of the people in your small business. Geoff Wilkinson took on the People for Business programme from Small Business Britain & Indeed for Business to help small businesses grow and hire with confidence and celebrate the people in your business.
Key Project: As a festive treat this month, we are holding a competition on our website to win Christmas Goodies.
To mark the introduction of Wilkinson’s Lego Inspector in 2023, we have hidden 5 Lego inspectors on our website. Check out https://wilkinsoncc.co.uk/ and let us know which pages they can be found on by completing this short form – https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/sl/5Ibhq0b/ChristmasLegoInspector
The winner will be sent wonderful Christmas goodies 🎄The closing date is the 17th of December.
Team: We celebrated Christmas Jumper Day at Wilkinson HQ to help raise funds for Portage, “a preschool home visiting education service for young children who are not meeting their developmental milestones”.
Chloe, our Quality Assurance and Data Auditor, perfectly explains the brilliant work that Portage do.
“As many of you know, I have a gorgeously cheeky disabled son called Freddie, who turns 4 in April. Being Freddie’s Mum is both wonderful and very challenging at times. This year, we received support from a lovely lady called Ashley, who works for the charity Portage. She helped us as a family in so many ways, and her work continues to make a difference to our lives even after our sessions with her have ended.
We are pleased to be able to give a little something back and support them on Christmas Jumper Day.”
Community: We are very proud to be supporting Crash Charity again this year. Crash charity helps charities navigate the complex and costly process of construction with confidence. Empowering them to make informed decisions and create the best quality environments for the lowest possible cost.
It is safe to say that 2023 was eventful and had a lot in store for us and the rest of the construction industry. Whilst it may have been challenging, particularly in the last quarter, with the overhaul of the building regulations, it is important to remember that the new regime places residents’ safety at its heart and will drive a real shift in industry standards.
We need to continue to work together as an industry to understand the changes that have come in 2023 and head into 2024 with a positive outlook that we are one step closer to building safer homes and buildings for everyone.
Contact us for further information or guidance on the latest changes.
At first glance the regulations are the same for all types of buildings – Parts A, B, C etc. However, the use of a commercial building is very different from the use of a residential building, so some of the building regulations vary depending on the project type.
Our clients often say they are not ready to appoint us yet as they are waiting for planning permission. This can be a false economy, as getting Building Control (BC) involved early can help save huge amounts of money and time.