Meet Geoff Wilkinson, the Managing Director of Wilkinson Construction Consultants and Jury of the BLT Awards 2021.
March 23, 2021
Geoff Wilkinson is a renowned Building Inspector with over 35 years of experience in the Construction Industry. He has worked in both Public and Private practice, across almost every sector and his company currently deals with over 600 projects a year. He has served on many industry working groups in the development of UK Standards and Regulations and is highly respected for his knowledge and practical application of the regulations. Geoff is sharing his professional journey and the expertise needed to be a construction consultant.
Can you tell us a bit about your professional journey? Where are you based?
My career in construction started as a child as my father was a contractor, and some of my early memories include coloring in superseded plans with crayons!
My first-holiday job was working for my father as a general laborer where I helped knocked things down and shift barrows of rubble from site to the skip during the school holidays.
I left school at 16 and joined the Greater London Council (The Municipal Authority for London) in 1983 where I commenced a trainee program to become a Building Inspector. I worked for several other municipal authorities prior to the privatization of the sector in the 1990s, and have since worked for commercial Building Inspectors prior to setting up a family business with my wife in 2009.
I am based in the UK and more specifically in Kent – The Garden of England
You are the Managing Director of Wilkinson Construction Consultant; can you please tell us the scope of expertise a construction consultant brings to a project?
Wilkinson Construction Consultants can offer a range of professional support services related to regulatory compliance in the UK along with Expert Witness services. Our core service is Approved Inspector services, and we are one of around 100 companies in the UK licensed to give Building Control Approvals. We are not just another consultant, we are the actual decision-makers and our certificates of approval are accepted by all the relevant Local Authorities, Conveyancers, and Financiers.
Can you tell us more about your involvement in developing the UK construction Standards and Regulations?
In addition to direct involvement in projects, I have also sat on a number of working parties and committees that assist the UK government in setting the relevant standards that need to met. These have included proposed changes to UK Fire Regulations and the provision of Access for people with disabilities.
What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities in your industry now?
The biggest issue we currently face is climate change and adapting traditional building techniques and designs to face this challenge, including the upskilling of the workforce. Whilst a lot of focus has been placed on fire safety in recent years, there are around 10x as many deaths from overheating in our buildings as there are from fire or smoke inhalation. As the climate continues to heat up providing a cool place of shelter and maintaining access to water will provide particular challenges.
Is the ongoing Covid-19 healthy crisis affecting your field of work?
Covid -19 has affected our field of work, and it’s clear that there has been a move away from the office to increased home working. This in itself provides challenges, as our homes are not typically designed to provide suitable and sufficient working environments, and the open plan living trends of recent years, are especially difficult when focused working space is required. We are seeing our city centers empty and in need of reimagination – we look forward to new place-making that enables home, work, and leisure activity in close proximity and less reliance on the commuter journey.
What are you working on at the moment, and do you have any upcoming projects or collaborations that you’re able to tell us about?
As a practice, we have the luxury of working across a range of sectors – from well-known high street brands to unique one-off homes. We also like to focus on “retro first” – the reuse and refurbishment of disused and even historic buildings to make them fit for a new millennia. Examples across our current/recent portfolio are shown over.
Last, aside from your passion for construction, what are you interested in?
I enjoy travel (at least I seem to remember that I enjoyed travel when it was permitted) Jazz, Fine Dining and Football (Soccer for the US audience) and am an avid follower of Arsenal football club.
Canterbury Cathedral Visitor Centre
Private Dwellings – Lakehouse
Scania UK Headquarters
Simpsons Wine Estate