Better Late Than Never!
At last, we have the Building Regulations Completion Certificate for our new building! Yes, here is a copy of this all-important piece of paper, dated September 10, 2018, relating to plans submitted a full five years before, on 13 September 2013. Could it have really taken this long? No, of course not, as we actually first approached our local Council about this a whole year earlier, in September 2012! This of course begs the question of why it instead took that long, so I guess we need to come up with a few excuses by way of explanation.
Well, planning issues do tend to be rather like this. We spent that first year discussing with the local Council what sort of building would likely meet their approval, during which we fully took on board their preferences concerning its appearance (they wanted something that looked very traditional), while each of our own suggestions was for something just a little bit bigger than the one before. This is called “negotiation”. So, the plans as eventually submitted were duly approved, but then of course we needed to find someone who could build it for us at a sensible price. That took a while, so we didn’t break ground until August 2014, and the structure wasn’t externally complete until nearer the end of 2015.
By now we could perhaps have been rather frustrated by how long this was all taking, but previous significant building experience on both the personal and the business front meant that we knew this was pretty much par for the course. Fortunately we’d taken this into account by starting the whole process correspondingly earlier than we were going to need the extra space, but we’d nevertheless pencilled in a completion date sometime in 2016. However, then we pretty much deliberately decided to take our time, in order to do the internal fitting out to a rather higher standard than we might otherwise have done.
So all the internal doors are solid wood rather than cardboard, for example, although once again our workbenches are made from standard kitchen units and worktops as opposed to being dedicated laboratory ones (for which the main practical difference would appear to be about a tenfold higher price – our “Tale of Two Buildings” blog deals with relative cost issues of this type!). Andrew our Technical Director also took over pretty much all the organisation of this himself, which is of course why he has the biggest office in our dedicated new R&D area, and very well-deserved too!
The whole Building Regulations issue may seem rather strange to the unitiated, as it can be very pedantic (and rightly so) over detail, and can be correspondingly time-consuming to achieve full compliance, and yet in practice the people concerned were quite happy for us to at least start movng in meanwhile, so we were already beginning to use the extra space last year. Therefore this nevertheless highly prized Completion Certificate has just been another step along the road rather than some definitive transition point. Does that mean that building work is still continuing here?
Well, yes! First, there is still some further internal work to do, according to how the business needs have changed since the submission of the plans. For example, the success of our image splitters and camera adapters in particular has created the need for a bit more space for Dominique’s optical empire, and we want to convert our old darkroom in the office area into a proper office with a window, as we’ve earmarked a useful unused space in the new building for those of us who want or need to work in the dark. And second, our plans for the new building also included an extension to our existing entrance area, which James our Marketing Director has been looking after, and is now also proceeding apace. Beyond that, who knows? We wouldn’t want to get bored now, would we?