Ashley is a Director based at TFT’s Bristol office, joining in 2002. Alongside Hilary Gleghorn, he leads TFT’s Construction, Design & Management (CDM) Regulations advisory service, providing Principal Designer, Principal Designer Adviser and CDM Client Advisor roles across the country to a wide variety of clients seeking strategic and practical advice on compliance with the regulations. Ashley also deals extensively with Party Wall and Neighbourly matters, helping to set up the local Severnside Branch of the Pyramus & Thisbe Club, providing best practice advice in party wall matters. He served as inaugural Secretary and Treasurer of the Branch from its inception in 2007 until 2017.
Other specialisms include Technical Due Diligence and quality monitoring on commercial and residential schemes, including defects diagnosis and resolution. A regular presenter of internal and external CPD sessions on both CDM 2015 and party wall matters, Ashley is also responsible for coordinating CPD events for the Bristol office, and has been published in the RICS Building Surveying Journal.
Building surveyors naturally look at the whole life aspects of buildings so have a great perspective on the many facets of residual hazards and risks arising from design that face constructors, occupants and maintainers. The transformation in site safety and welfare since I entered the industry in 1987 has been great to see, but there is still much to be done. The latest figures indicate working days lost from instances of work-related ill-health in construction outstrip work-related injuries by more than 2 to 1. The sharpened focus on design risk management brought about by the CDM Regulations 2015 presents a huge opportunity to reduce the ill-health effects of design hazards, and this is the guiding philosophy of TFT’s team of CDM practitioners that I lead, whether working on commercial, industrial or residential projects, large and small.
This rigorous scrutiny is at the heart of the instinctive detective work we undertake in locating, analysing and resolving issues (potential and real) arising from designs, buildings under construction and completed schemes. In doing so, the variety of construction forms, site locations and people we encounter help to ensure no two instructions are ever the same. Indeed, despite the obvious technical aspects of our work, construction and property remains a “people” business and these soft skills are vital in delivering successful outcomes, whether helping keep people safe and healthy, drilling into detailed design issues or dealing with a homeowner affected by a party wall matter related to a large commercial development.
Whether working on local projects in the heart of vibrant Bristol, or (in the past) as far afield as the Falkland Islands I’m happy, as I never wanted to “drive a desk” for a career. I did want to drive fighter jets for the RAF but chose building surveying instead – long story. This does mean I remain fascinated by all things aeronautical, and past attempts to sate this by taster flights in gliders, helicopters and aerobatic stunt planes have not helped.
I’m lucky enough to live on the edge of the Mendip Hills in Somerset and regularly remind myself just how beautiful the area is by cycling around it. A lot. It also affords me sufficiently dark night skies to indulge in another interest, astrophotography.
My wife and daughters tell me they also appreciate the beauty of both the area in which we live and my celestial photos, but they have yet to be convinced of the need to either cycle uphill and down dale or to sit in the cold, dark back garden to do so.