Lessons learned, mistakes made, advice given
and suggested future improvements after
more than 50 years as a building surveyor

by Paul Winstone, Consultant

Originally published by Henry Stewart Publications

The opinions expressed in this paper may be familiar or controversial to some. They reflect my own personal viewpoint.

I have recently retired after over 50 years as a building surveyor, and this is my last opportunity to pass on some of the lessons that I have learned — some painful — and my aspirations for the future of our profession. I am fortunate to have had a varied career, initially at the long-defunct Greater London Council (GLC), short stints in two London Borough Councils, and latterly 43 years in a major and leading private practice. Although London-centred, my work has been throughout the UK.

My mentor has been Ted Watts, the first building surveyor President of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), whom I am proud to say remains a good friend. I have sat on numerous working groups of the RICS and given a great many seminars and papers on diverse topics as varied as defects in buildings, asbestos, the Construction (Design & Management) (CDM) Regulations, and latterly external cladding and issues arising from the tragic Grenfell Tower fire.

In my latter years, I have specialised as an expert witness, encountering the mistakes of surveyors, architects, and employers. This sounds like a CV … hopefully not an epitaph, but I hope that it gives some credibility to this paper. Most importantly, I have worked through major changes that have significantly affected our profession, some not for the better.

Paul Winstone 

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