Friday, 21 December 2012

Is it the end of the world today?

Apparently not.  But it is the end of the working week and the last Friday before Christmas and so it probably is the end of any kind of sanity out there on the roads and in the shops. Only four more sleeps...eek!

Since our last blog we’re very pleased that our nice and shiny new website has gone live and our sincere thanks have to go to Charlotte and Will at Mookat for their great work, thanks guys, it was a really enjoyable process and it was a pleasure to work with you both. We hope you all like our new website and we always welcome your feedback.

And now, as it’s half past four in the afternoon and as the last three emails I’ve sent have all bounced back with, “sorry, we’re on holiday now until the new year” messages, I’ll keep this blog brief, but just before I do sign off and start making lists and checking them twice and all that, I would just like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...let’s hope it’s a good one!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Continuing Professional Development - Rhys Taylor

Thought I had better do another blog, before Michelle and Anne start nagging at me ….again!

As practicing professionals, we are expected to keep abreast of developments in the industry – members of the other professions have a similar obligation, whether they are Doctors, Solicitors, Airline Pilots, Politicians…, perhaps not Politicians….but you see what I mean.  This process is generally known as “Continuing Professional Development” or “CPD” for short.

The professional bodies each set minimum “targets” for CPD that individuals are expected to achieve each year – most commonly this is represented in terms of hours of time spent in Continuing Professional Development.  In the case of the Association of Building Engineers (ABE) this is set at 35 hours per annum.  How each individual achieves that target is in the main left to the individual to determine, but each year the individual is required to submit a diary of their CPD undertaken in the previous 12 months period, for assessment and approval by their professional body or bodies.

CPD could be gained by attending a training seminar on a particular topic, or by researching a topic (possibly on the internet) or even by making a positive input to the organisation and running of one’s professional body – either at a local or national level.  The directors of Taylor Tuxford Associates are proud to be able to say that we all individually make certain that we not only equal, but ideally exceed by some margin, the minimum CPD requirements laid upon us by our respective professional bodies.

Last week I had the pleasure of chairing a panel with two other colleagues conducting professional membership interviews for the ABE, over in Warrington (hello to Geoff and Nick) and in the process, adding to my own annual total of “CPD hours”.  These interviews are part of the process by which prospective Members of the ABE are admitted - or not as the case may be - for full corporate membership of the Association.  The actual interview lasts about an hour or so, but is based to a great extent upon a Portfolio of Evidence of the individual’s experience, which in some cases, will have taken many months, even years, to compile for submission.

During the interviews, I commented to a couple of the candidates that they had little or no CPD hours in their diaries that were related to regional events organised by the ABE itself and I enquired why this was the case?  They responded that in their particular area of the UK (North West England) there were very few CPD events organised by the regional committee.  I checked in the copy of the ABE’s Journal that I had with me and sure enough, the next event logged in their neck of the woods was next January!

They were basically having a moan about the lack of events being arranged for their benefit – so I had a bit of a gentle dig myself, to the extent that if they were genuinely unhappy with this, why didn’t they stand for election to the Regional Committee and get involved themselves?  Failing that, why not approach the Committee and offer to arrange an event in their locality?  Time will tell whether or not my suggestion may generate a positive, pro-active response….

So, where is he going with this, I hear you say?  The fact is that in one’s career as in one’s life in general, what you get out of the system is commonly a function of what you put in.  This applies to one’s personal relationships – 36 years of happy married life and counting thank you folks – as much as to one’s professional standing in our chosen industry.  As an example, Michelle is currently the Regional Secretary for the ABE in Yorkshire and the Humber….remember this is a voluntary post for which she receives no remuneration for her time.

I don’t think that it was coincidence that the outstanding candidate last Friday was one who not only attends regional events for the Association, but chairs the regional committee in her local “patch” (Wales) and therefore is actively involved in arranging regular CPD events.  This individual was patently a very well-rounded individual, and gave detailed and (very) complete answers to the various questions that the panel posed about not only her own portfolio of projects, but about other tangential issues regarding upcoming developments in the construction industry as a whole.

My sincere compliments and congratulations therefore, go to Karen Roberts MBEng – very well done indeed!

Finally – received a letter from the Dept of Work and Pensions this week, confirming that my pension age will now be on my 66th birthday.  This was a very pleasant and unexpected surprise, as Anne has been telling me for several years that she intends to keep me working until I’m 75! 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Bark around the Park!

Last Sunday saw all three Directors getting involved with a sponsored dog walk on land adjoining Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice, supporting many BluCrew volunteers as well as helpers from the home itself.

Anne was busy throughout the day collecting sponsorship money while Michelle and Rhys borrowed family pets to take on the walk. They were joined by 70 other pooches, with their very well behaved owners and the weather was very kind to them all.

The amount raised by this fun day has yet to be announced as we wait for the remaining sponsorship money to come in, but early indications are looking good.

This was the second year that this event has been held and it is proving to be a very popular one which we hope to be able to support for many years to come.

For more infromation about BluCrew's events why not pop across to their facebook page (search for Blu Crew) or on their website at (although the website is 'still under construction' as they say).

Monday, 8 October 2012

Blogs...what to write?

Whenever the word ‘blog’ is bandied around the office there’s an audible groan; when do we have the time to write a blog and what should we write about? Consequently the blog seems low on our list of priorities and doesn’t get the attention it deserves. So, having been prompted to look at our blog by our website developers we’ve finally sat down to put pen to paper....but what shall we say? What message do we want to put across?

It has been suggested to us that the blog doesn’t have to be all about the job or the company, it could show our human side, much like an online journal or diary. So we’ve sat down and made a list (we like lists) of all of our planned events both in and out of the office with a view to using this as the basis for our future blogs (and hopefully to make us post more often!?)

And so to kick it off (pun intended) one of our staff was lucky enough to win a free tour behind the scenes at Rotherham United’s new football ground, the New York Stadium by becoming the 1000th fan on their Facebook page. The pitch was in great shape and Rotherham should rightly be proud of their new community stadium, it’s a great facility which is already helping to bring a whole new generation back to the sport.

The Stadium also has great conferencing facilities which we made use of on the 4th October 2012 where we exhibited at the Rotherham Enterprise Event ‘business-to-business exhibition’ which was hosted by the Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce. The speakers on the day represented Oxley & Coward Solicitors, RiDO, UKTi, Rotherham College of Arts and Technology as well as local MPs and representatives from Rotherham Council and the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership who were there to talk about their plans and visions for the local region.

And our final thought, sat here next to the window as the sky darkens, turns inevitably to the English has made our job a little more challenging this week; trying to take notes outside in this wind and rain has proven almost impossible. We’re so glad to be sat inside now with the heating well and truly on.

Friday, 5 October 2012

New School Year

Well, the madness has started again with Michelle’s first day back at Sheffield Hallam University as she begins her fourth year of part time study in Architectural Technology.  

This year’s subjects include Architectural Conservation, Environment & Technology, and the History of Architecture.

In Architectural Conservation she will be exploring the philosophy, principles and practice of Conservation.

The Environment & Technology module will be looking at environmental strategies and technologies that are considered to be appropriate in the design of medium scale non-domestic buildings with a drive to design environmentally conscious buildings.

And for the History of Architecture a short residential trip is planned to Edinburgh in November to look at the varying forms and types of architectural building style and to help bring the lectures to life.

All in all quite an interesting start to the year, of course, university + study = assignments and exams and the first assignment has already be issued, there really is no rest for the wicked!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Fundraising success

March 16 saw the staff of Taylor Tuxford Associates taking part in a Fun Quiz show at the Silverwood Miners Welfare in Dalton, Rotherham. This was BluCrew’s first big fundraiser of the year in support of Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice and was a great success raising in excess of £1900.

Monday, 27 February 2012

What a busy week we have planned!

In the next seven days we are:  -

  1. Going to Gretna Green for wedding;
  2. Sponsoring the Real Ale festival at Magna, Rotherham;
  3. Visiting a recently completed straw bale house;
  4. Rehearsing for a forthcoming Charity Show/Quiz night;
  5. Travelling to Northampton to the headquarters of the Association of Building Engineers (and back again);
  6. Presenting a design project (Canal basin restaurant conversion) at Sheffield Hallam University;
...and that’s not counting our day to day workload! Not that we’re complaining, it’s great to be busy.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Rotherham Real Ale & Music Festival

We are very pleased to be sponsoring a barrel at the Real Ale & Music Festival to be held at MAGNA, running from Wednesday 29th February to Saturday 3rd March 2012. The Festival is 20 years old this year and there will be over 200 Real Ales for you to choose from with a good range of real cider and a huge choice of wines.

The purpose of the festival is to support local charities that help children throughout South Yorkshire. Last year, £35,000 was shared between their nominated good causes. This year the Festival profits will go to the Rotherham Hospice, Weston Park Hospital, MAGNA Trust and Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice (of whom we are a supporter via our activities with BluCrew).

The whole event is organised and run by volunteers. From the people in the "back office" to the bar staff serving your beer, all are unpaid helpers. Thanks to everyone and we hope to see you there.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Life long learning.

Michelle is currently almost half way through the third year of her part time degree in Architectural Technology at Sheffield Hallam University and has been anxiously awaiting the result of a recent exam which she sat in mid January. She’s pleased to have received confirmation that she has attained an excellent pass mark in not only the exam but also the first semester assignments.

The project this semester takes the form of conversion works to a Grade II listed building in the Peak Park to create a new restaurant; this will entail research into conservation methods and practices as well as an element of interior design.

Michelle decided to study for the degree course as part of her commitment to life long learning, she also wanted to expand her knowledge base in the field of Architectural Technology and to challenge her preconceptions and to develop an understanding of the industries emerging innovations and techniques. Of course studying with a group of younger students helps keep the ideas fresh and the subject matter interesting.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Association of Building Engineers Yorkshire and Humber Region

Last night we attended an evening seminar by Cupa Natural Slate – Specifying Natural Roofing Slate at Niagara Conference & Leisure, Hillsborough, Sheffield. This event was hosted by the Association of Building Engineers Yorkshire and Humber regional committee and followed their Annual General Meeting.

Rhys and Michelle, as well as being full members of the Association of Building Engineers, both served as active members on the regional committee. Rhys has made the decision however to stand down and to bring to an end 11 consecutive years of representation. He served initially on the regional branch committee followed by the National Council and Presidential team where he served as President of the Association of Building Engineers and latterly on the regional committee finishing as its Chairman.

The Regional committee would like to thank Rhys for all his hard work; a fellow committee member had this to say:

“It’s a shame he is stepping back because he is a real driving force to the ABE and a credit to the region. I shall miss him because he is a real character and always a pleasure to have been involved with the ABE along side of him.”

Michelle is pleased to have been elected to serve as the Region’s Secretary and takes over the role from Mike Hardeman and our thanks go to him; we would also like to congratulate Basil Parylo on his election to Chairman and to thank Bernard Henry for agreeing to continue as regional treasurer.

You can find the regional Committee on Facebook: -

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Wow, doesn’t time fly?

We hadn’t realised it had been so long since our last blog. Since the beginning of October not only have we been busy in the office but everyone at Taylor Tuxford has been heavily involved with a local fundraising group named BluCrew. This group was set up in September 2009 as an independent fund-raising group with primary ties to Bluebell Wood Children's hospice. They host social evenings, concerts, duck races and all manner of fundraising events.

BluCrew’s objective is very simple – to raise as much money as possible by organising entertainment and fundraising events. Typically they put on Variety Shows and Concerts at venues in the local area and invite members of the public to come along and enjoy the entertainment whilst primarily supporting charity. Their aim is to raise at least £10,000 per year and we are very pleased to announce that the target was surpassed for 2011...well done to all involved but especially to the supporters, without you it would not have been possible.

If you would like more information you can visit BluCrew’s Facebook page at