As a fully qualified Incorporated Engineer working in Air Traffic Services, I was given the task of working with the architects on the new Air Traffic Control Centre at Jersey Airport. I thoroughly enjoyed working on such a prestigious project, and when the opportunity arose to make a career change, Langlois Design & Build was started, not to take on multi-million pound control centres, but more down-to-earth domestic projects.
I had already demolished our old subsiding bungalow to self-build a new eco-house in its place, so I was fully immersed in design and build.
By contrast, for this home project I budgeted on spending no more than a quarter of the local build cost, and to make it even more challenging, my specification far exceeded the Building Regulations - a tall order.
Over the years, I attended exhibitions and seminars in the UK, France and Belgium to learn everything I could about building and the latest developments.
With our building industry lagging so many years behind Europe and the rest of the World, it is essential to keep up to date with modern building design, construction and materials.
By taking on the design and virtually all the actual building work, first hand experience of all the trades was gained.
Everything from groundworks, drains and foundations to block-laying, steelwork and concrete beam/ lintel construction; joinery, roofing and tiling to
glazing, plumbing and electrics. (The dark art of plastering was attempted but there has to be a limit!)
The discipline of working to the high
standards required in safety critical environments, combined with a genuine interest in building, construction and design, proved to be a good combination.
Experience has also been gained in many areas, such as underground rainwater harvesting, timber-
frame and engineered structural timber construction, eco-heating, and insulation systems.
People outside of the 'Trade' are often at the mercy of extortionate costs. I take pride in helping people get value for money in an industry that assumes clients have very deep pockets!
It doesn't have to be that way...