AMPLIFIED: Aidan O'Connell, Managing Director at AOCA Engineering Consultants Ltd
Few of us are presented with a problem so big it needs to be dealt with on a national scale.
When Aidan O’Connell discovered pyrite, he tackled it head-on, literally writing the book on how to deal with it. Today, he is an acknowledged expert in the area worldwide.
A hands-on pragmatic civil engineer, Aidan’s colourful career has spanned from his early days in the UK, to running a successful small firm in Portlaoise for almost thirty years. In this packed half hour, he pulls no punches on pyrites’ early days in Ireland and the processes he helped develop to tackle it. He also shares invaluable information on the challenges of engineering, moving up the ladder and what he sees in the immediate future.
Listen below or on your podcast player!
Topics we discussed include:
03:27 The most insightful advice he ever received
06:09 The biggest challenge of his career
07:47 How he set industry protocols and standards
09:07 The problem with Pyrite
15:25 How he started his own firm
20:11 Competing with local councils
26:50 The one thing you must have to move up the ladder
27:50 Process of being named a Fellow of Engineers Ireland
Aidan is a Chartered Civil Engineer with additional qualifications in Geotechnical Engineering and Project Management. After starting his career in the UK, he returned to Ireland to establish his own firm AOCA in 1996, expanding to Dublin in 2014. Aidan is regularly called on as a civil / structural expert with particular expertise on Pyritic Heave. He also holds the honour of being a Fellow of Engineers Ireland.
Looking for ways to explore or advance a career in the field of engineering? Visit Engineers Ireland to learn more about the many programs and resources on offer.
You're starting out as a civil or structural engineer but what you will be in ten or twenty years will not be what you started out as. I found that to be absolutely true.
You're not going to move up the ladder unless you go for chartered status. That's an absolute minimum that you need to be able to bring to the table. That gives you the credibility to be able to sign reports and sign documents that you are qualified, that you're recognized, to be able to do that.
I don't know where engineering in Ireland in the ten, five or even two years is going. The reason is that it's moving so fast and it’s direction can be confusing. It's all about speed, speed, speed, speed.
For your convenience, here is a 90% accurate AI transcription of the episode.
Dusty Rhodes 0:01
Right now on Amplified the Engineers Journal podcast we're about to meet the Managing Director of AOCA Aidan O’Connell.
Aidan O'Connell 0:08
Being an engineer is a fantastic career. Every single day is a new day and every single day is a learning day. If you are good at what you do, your clients will come. The single biggest problem I've ever had to fix is the pyrite issue that started out back in say 2006 - 2008 and then really came to the forefront in the early 2010 to 2012 period. This was something I went ‘wow, I don't understand this’.
Dusty Rhodes 1:00
Hello there, my name is Dusty Rhodes and you're welcome to Amplified the Engineers Journal Podcast. Today, we're chatting with a man who will be sharing a little bit about how to grow an engineering business or even maybe how to take over the running of an engineering business. He also has a fascinating story to tell behind one of the big construction stories of the last 20 years with the pyrite problem. He is a chartered civil engineer who returned from the UK to establish his own firm in Portlaoise in 1996, then expanded to Dublin in 2014, before being named a fellow of Engineers Ireland. It's an absolute pleasure to welcome the owner and Managing Director of a AOCA Aidan O'Connell. How are you?
Aidan O'Connell 1:39
Good morning to see all good here in Port leash.
Dusty Rhodes 1:43
Excellent. Listen, let me get your engineering credentials. First, what inspired you when you were a child to get into this silly business of ours?
Aidan O'Connell 1:52
Strangely, I had no intention of being an engineer. I was that no, no medicine rules as far as I was concerned, right. And ultimately, I did my leaving cert like everybody else. And back then the points weren't as onerous as they are now in that back then we were I think it was 20 points to medicine. Yeah. Which was obviously high in terms of, they just gave you a lot less, you don't get the huge numbers of points for an A or a B. So ultimately, I miss out medicine by a single point. And engineering was down as my second choice. So I decided to faith had decided that that's I wasn't gonna do medicine. And in fairness, my wife had said to me many times that she's a nurse can't help anybody who ever saw you as a doctor. Because if you're going to be rebuilding them, or cutting the legs off and back together, again, maybe $4. And in that, none of that. Hold the hand. Nice, gentle engineer, or sorry, Doctor shoulder say, so I ended up doing engineering. And I have to be absolutely honest with you. I've loved every minute of us. There isn't a single second, I would say my entire career that I have doubters. Verba down the right route. I have traveled and I've met amazing people. I've spoken Australia, in in the doctrines and the UK talking to lads on site because they only spoke Australia because it was the pub, what you did over there if you wanted a bit of privacy on site, I had the time Yeah, half the time, you know, and I've gone to New York, and I've spoken I swear to god over there. Look, it's been having a small bit of the girl get is very helpful as well that way.
Dusty Rhodes 3:27
When did you sit back and just say to yourself, I've achieved the dream, I am now an engineer.
Aidan O'Connell 3:32
I've never said that. I've always said that every single day is a new day, and every single day is a learning day. So if you don't learn something new every single day, you're kind of wasting your life. I would say being an engineer is a fantastic career. One of the most insightful lectures or talks I've ever heard was one the week I was not a final year in college. And it was fantastic that they actually brought in somebody like that. And he was an engineer himself, who basically said, Look, lads, you're starting out as a civil or structural engineer. That's what you're starting is, what are you going to be in five years and 10 years and 20 years or 30 years time, you will not be what you start to doubt us. And that is absolutely true. I started out with the homes over in the UK as a junior site engineer. Fairly quickly over there I progress have been site manager still being an engineer, which was extremely helpful. And then once I met my wife, Mary, and then we moved back here to Ireland in 1991. I then became a road design engineer working on that design of the Portuguese motorway. And I can absolutely tell you, I had zero design experience of most ways. When I came back to Ireland. I had very little experience of pressing buttons on computers and get them to actually work on design the things but you learn very quickly because engineers are incredibly adaptable
Dusty Rhodes 4:56
in those kinds of I don't want to call it Verity. years but kind of the days when you were hands on engineering on a day to day basis what was what is the biggest challenge you faced on a job?
Aidan O'Connell 5:07
I don't think there's a single engineer who's not hands on job their entire life throughout their entire career.
Dusty Rhodes 5:14
Even though you're managing director now you're you're still hands on.
Aidan O'Connell 5:17
Absolutely. I was on a site yesterday in London only and there was looking at intumescent material and on structural steel and looking at structural failures has occurred. And I will be doing that I hope to the day I day are starting to the day I retire, I don't think I will ever actively retire, I will still say I'd be keep my hand in because you need to keep your brain moving. And most efficacy engineering does do that for you. So there is never going to be a time when regardless how how high you go, if you lose touch with what you are, which is an engineer, then you're only becoming a manager. And really, that's not what I want to be grand well that widens the fields then the biggest problem you had to fix Bihar, the single biggest problem I've ever had to fix. Good god that is a big one. So the single biggest thing in my career that I've had to try and understand and help people with it's most definitely been the pyrite issue that starts out bikin say 2006 1000 7000 A's and then really came to the forefront in the early 2010 11 and 12 period was the first case I ever saw will be back in say 2006 And it wasn't very unusual thing. It was actually in breakcore case all her blockwork should I say and I was home county Claire. And it this was something I went wow, I don't understand this. But ultimately, I sponsored and engaged actively with Galway University NUI Galway and Dr. Brian McCabe down there was an incredibly forward thinking gentleman. We're in the civil engineering department and they worked with some of the students there's both his masters out and as postgraduate, final year projects. And we did a monstrous amount of research over a table five years where we actually built rigs who build test slabs we we design systems, so we can actually monitor how this whole pyrite problem came about. And then ultimately, we got involved in writing the original protocols. Now we all call them standards originally, they were called protocols for how you go about testing and analyzing and then that develops and writing the ISO 398 standard. Within a CI there was myself and another colleague of mine in ARCA. Colin Scott, we did that in conjunction with an entire committee in NSCI.
Dusty Rhodes 7:47
Give me a little bit more detail about how you set those protocols and, and standards, especially when you're working with a number of other people.
Aidan O'Connell 7:54
Yeah, I was very lucky. I had the help of James Lambert, who God rests on me. He was the managing director of investigation iron clearances. And he was one of the world's greatest gentleman in terms of helping anybody. So he gave me all of his advice. And we looked at what testing procedures or protocols are actually available for sampling of, of stone and sampling of, of the mineralogy of stone itself. And then they come across Dr. John Crips, who was in Sheffield University and was a very well written engineer or geologist in relation to this field. And then there are other people as well, a Paul Quigley of agsl, who came along and gave me their advice. So ultimately, it was by talking to these people and saying, Okay, we suspect that this is a chemical reaction process that is that we need to be able to detect the various stages others and be able to physically see us, but not only physically see it that we can actually test it from the analytic process and have a printout that we can take. There you are, there's the answer. Black and white, black and white.
Dusty Rhodes 9:05
What exactly was it you were looking for?
Aidan O'Connell 9:07
We were looking for the byproducts ultimately when you see the whole pyre I think it starts out as iron sulfide which is FeS to so iron sulfide reacts Amber water, it goes to a number of chemical reaction passes. One of the byproducts is iron oxide, which is just brown staining, you will see on stone, but the final byproduct is gypsum and gypsum because it is twice the size of an original pyrite crystal it causes the expansion of the stone on the fracturing of the stone etc. So, we want to be able to actually physically see the gypsum crystals which you can under a microscope and you were to much more detail in terms of electronic microscopes and xr D which is X ray diffraction testing, so you can go all the way down that route and if you do the XR D, it will actually give you a printout that says there is pyrite there is other minerals that are other byproducts that you can do physically see them within the stone itself?
Dusty Rhodes 10:04
And where did you take the samples from?
Aidan O'Connell 10:06
A lot of samples were all taken from houses where there was damage that was being demonstrated. That looks like it might be an expansive reaction that was happening and what parts of the country all we started out originally in Dublin and that was the our first location is ours in Dublin. Now we had had as the said you the first case ever saw was in callaloo in coach Claire, but that was in blockwork. And there was a few years earlier, but the very first sample of taking stone from beneath her house was in County Dublin.
Dusty Rhodes 10:39
Is it localized depending on like kind of a local quarry has the problem, or is it a national problem in that it's a quarry who exports bricks nationally?
Aidan O'Connell 10:48
It's a national issue in that pyrite is present in I'd say every single county in the country almost probably except the ones that never were covered under water, turn the Ice Age etc, by kids going back that far. So pyrite really is is as a result of kind of sedimentary processes where material is deposited. So what what would it be in estuaries historically, or floodplains? Historically, they they are susceptible having pyrite in leash where our head offices I don't I haven't come across a single case where it's pure limestone down here. It's quite clean. But like if we go and say that, yes, it's in mail. Yes, it's in Claire. Yes, it's in Limerick. And we've got about 13 counties of Ireland for we have identified problems.
Dusty Rhodes 11:35
You're very well known with this particular problem. And you now work on this abroad is pyrite, better or worse around Europe, from what you've seen
Aidan O'Connell 11:44
in Europe. It's not really the prevalent problem. It has been known in the UK for a very long time. If we go back to the 50s and 60s, and even earlier than that they identified as the Monday Kisha down in Cornwall and Devon. And they saw it there within the blocks because it was a byproduct from the tin mining down Cornwall and Devon. So the tailings a sorter came off the quarries there aren't and from the mines, they would have been used actually made concrete blocks for the houses down there. And ultimately, because it was added as a pyrite in it over the years, they would have did degrade to a certain extent. Now interestingly down there not all houses are a demolition problem or the damage one of them is a varying degrees to such an extent that they are actually sold and you can get raise a mortgage on them, and you can live in them and you and depending on the degrading that they have, you may end up having to do a little bit more maintenance on them over time. But they are still a perfectly satisfactory property. So in Europe, no, I don't see it as hugely I have been consulted in America, in various areas in America, both in Canada and also in the United States itself. Whereby we've been asked to look at various matters over there, Walmart would have been one of our clients, Nova Scotia Bank would have been another one. And invariably, what we would find is, is that in the greater American area of where you wouldn't have any significant snowfalls or severe temperature variations, you would find that the, the problem is quite similar to Ireland. When you go to Canada, it is slightly different because the psyche is significantly different, because for half the year, they will have a permafrost, temperature. And when your temperatures go right down from our research, we've seen that the reaction she kind of stops, or then it starts up again wants to Hampshire ISIS.
Dusty Rhodes 13:39
Do you feel that engineers are in any way culpable for the problem? Because they were they're at the design stage and the planning stage?
Aidan O'Connell 13:47
I wouldn't say the engineering industry is culpable. I wouldn't say that at all. What I would say is is that there's a number of external factors that brought this all about ultimately engineers work to standards. Those standards are created by committees working for NACA NSCI are British Standard BS in the UK, or Kiwa, or BBA, which is British Board, Vironment certification. So there's a number of different authorities that are out there that will decide what standards are applicable, etc. So if we then look at how does the standard get created? The is 29. Eight standard was created by a committee that consists of probably, I think, was 16 or 17 people. That's absolutely great. So you would have geologists you'd have government bodies, so from the Department of the Environment and the building control section of the Department of Environment, Geological Survey, Ireland, inquiry people saw there was representatives from the quarry industry from the Irish concrete industry. You had representatives from side vestigation companies like James Lombard was honest, we had Paul quickly ominous we has other people as well, from similar companies that were around, and then you had engineers as well and myself on those Shopko Colin scars, we were there representing engineers, Ireland, Paul Ford of de BFL. was also on the on the same committee. So that large committee then reviewed the whole process. And between us all, we came up with the actual standards.
Dusty Rhodes 15:25
You strike me as a man who loves a challenge, a born engineer, I'd say, I come back from the UK, and you decided to start your own business. Importantly, with no track record in Ireland and all that kind of stuff. It's not easy. It takes a very special person to do that. You've been in business for almost 30 years, what challenges have you had to overcome in running a small engineering firm?
Aidan O'Connell 15:48
I was lucky I had, I had a good solid base. I was reasonably financially secure. I have a good job with the country council. So I was okay at the time financially. I didn't put myself under too much pressure from a mortgage perspective, because I bought my house my first house when I was 22, in the UK, so I went over the day after my 21st birthday went towards the UK I've qualified from from UCD and went over to the UK and arrived there was, I think it was 200 pounds in my pocket and worked all summer at the Royal Marine hotel in Dublin. And London, London without a job had no place to live. Absolutely nothing. And my parents said he'd be back by the end of the week, because he won't, he certainly won't be able to find anything that quickly because I was disorganized. Bear in mind the modern you'd have the internet they have absolutely everything I had nothing. So I went to the London University over there, it looked up the Students Union and saw what accommodation was available for students made a few phone calls had a commendation that nice. So I arrived on a Tuesday and Thursday started working with when peace. And I what I can say is after the first week, my wages were just over 230 pounds. And that was more than I had saved learn for the entire summer. So I was gone up this is brilliant. So Well, ultimately, UK worked out very well for me financially and personally and professionally. And then I was able to come back to Ireland in 91 with my wife and we ended up building house in Port leash, and then we were reasonably secure. So I then decided after an OBE years with these kind of counsel and go to give this a try of going of my own. So the biggest challenge at the time was clients. I had one client who was a housing developer, and I said, Okay, well that's one source of income. And if I'm my own Towsley, a daybed, imagine what that generates. Boy, we start over to people, and I sell rice. I'm aiming to make 85,000 pounds at the time. Yeah, so huge money at the time. Yeah, so my target was make 85,000 pounds in the first year. If we if we could do that, I'd said we were fine. We made 79,000. So I wasn't too far out. But I missed the target. But that was a target. And then year two, we made 205,000. So we arrived, it's kind of gone. Okay, this is this is going to work, I think. And then over the years, the child just started to come. So starting in originally you will be thinking with this work are people going to come and while I would always say to people is that if you are good at what you do, and you put yourself out there, it will come with the work will come your clients will come there is absolutely no doubt about it. And it you just have to get over the challenge of having faith in yourself. So that was the initial biggest challenge. I had to believe in myself and say, okay, don't be looking at how other your costs on a weekly basis. How much money do I need to make every single week just keep the doors open? Forget about that. Step back and take the larger picture and go okay, how am I going to be at the end of two months? Have I enough money? Are we still there after two months, and have faith that the work will come in. And that has been the case from day one. Those challenges have changed over the years, we've never had a financial difficulty fortunately, we we've never laid anyone off as such either. There hasn't been a single case in our entire history we had to lay anyone off to to any reason in terms of financial etc. The single biggest challenge we have now is actually getting staff getting good quality staff and bloods in Danika. Think across the entire country in every single facet of business. Modern you know and they qualify from college they the first thing I think they they look at his work my goal. So they look at going to Australia or Canada, New Zealand, America or the UK and this, but the world is our oyster and I would never discourage From from doing this, while I would also love to see them coming back to Ireland, and bringing back their experiences, and fewer and fewer the murders are actually doing this.
Dusty Rhodes 20:11
Let me ask you more about the challenges of getting people into the firm, good people, because the competition is fierce, you've got people who are moving abroad. And then you've also got your kind of local authorities are able to offer them all kinds of incentives to go there as well. And people are tempted by it. Is this a problem with you as well?
Aidan O'Connell 20:29
It's a nightmare. Oh, a nightmare. Nightmare is the only word that I could actually describe as COVID was an extremely difficult time for every single business and was extremely difficult for engineering practices, because development stopped dead and roll across the board. And there was large amounts of people, I wouldn't say laid off, but they were temporarily stopped working. And we were similar as well, we at the bulk of our staff, we were able to keep them fully gainfully employed. But there were a small number of people that we had, say, Look, you need to avail of the COVID scheme, payment scheme, because we we literally just had no income or very little income coming in at that time, be able to cover every single person that we have employed. Once COVID, finished, we then started a backup fully with all every single member of staff that we had Bosch, it seemed to then change people's mentality as in or maybe I would like to have a little bit more time at home, or maybe I would like to have a different type of working arrangement. And the I believe we've saved from our own experiences, we lost six staff to councils. And the kind of councils are offering kind of opened the door starting 30 days and you leave which is way above the norm. And then they offer you flex leave of an additional 12 days per calendar year. So effectively, you end up with 42 days of leave quite easily. And on top of that, then you've got sick leave that I was told by two people that left or yeah, you you have sick leave that you basically must take or you should take. So instead of having maybe 2425 days leave with a OCA, the handle but 42 plus maybe another five or six days sick leave, and they're not there, they just don't they're not working. And I know some people in the local authority system are going to take great, great offense from me saying is, but the reality of it is, is that it's very difficult to get in contact with people, local authorities now because they're effectively working from home all the time. And it's very difficult to get them or they're on an annual leave or whatever it is. So getting people getting good qualified people is very, very difficult. And every engineering company is joint has the same challenge, I would say,
Dusty Rhodes 22:52
How do you tackle that by saying what are the advantages of coming to work for
Aidan O'Connell 22:57
you. That's where modern New comes in. And that's where my son Philip has joined us. And he is looking to bring us into the 21st century and 22nd 22nd century, if you want to call it that way. So he's going to turn this into a fun place more fun than just that standard engineering company that goes out there. And deals are problems. So he's looking to modernize us in terms of our work practices. So we will be able to give people working from home facilities, we will have make sure that all of our staff are working from the the latest hardware in terms of laptops, and that they can synchronize and work remotely etc. We already are able to do that. But effectively people take their PCs home or the week and have given them a second PC. But now we're going to go down the whole route laptops, even though there's quite a significant infrastructure investment to do that. For engineers, standard laptops are no use, we need quite high powered laptops, which are obviously very expensive to to to purchase. were much more proactive on Facebook, much more points from LinkedIn, I think that it is probably paying some dividends, we're already seeing some people that are are applying directly to us now for employment rather than was having to go through the agency roof.
Dusty Rhodes 24:15
I'm wondering about an engineer who be listening to the podcast who's kind of like kind of mid level if you like and is thinking you know, one day I want to get up there. I want to be the Managing Director, I want to buy it. Can you tell us a little bit about this process of transitioning, and maybe we can learn something from it?
Aidan O'Connell 24:32
Well, you can do a buyout. And that is probably the simplest and most straightforward way of doing it. And there's lots of tax breaks in terms of the entrepreneurial reliefs and then transition released going forward so that the process can be done, where it doesn't place a huge financial burden onto the company. But you have to have somebody that you can hand it over to to do this.
Dusty Rhodes 24:57
You've seen lots of people come into the firm who are ambitious what what impresses you about somebody who wants to move up the ladder within a company,
Aidan O'Connell 25:05
their drive and their focus. That's what it is. We have one young gentleman now with us as we speak, who is just finished his first year in university. And he came to us for a little bit of work experience, or just to see what things were like, after he had done his junior cert. He has come to us every single summer, since he's the most amazing young man with the most absorbent brain that you could imagine. And to see that young man blossoming slowly, has been full mind blowing is the only way I would say, and then to see other people that come in, and they come in as junior engineers or junior technicians, and they work their way up, and they get their experience and descend them out. The single biggest thrill for me is when I send somebody else to do an investigation or to look at the job. And they write a report on it or write a summary. And I look at that report. And it's so simple to read, it's so simple to follow. I didn't say yes, I've achieved something I've actually taught someone how to do a task. And then if you see a design, when you see somebody comes in with a concept design, and we've done some very unusual ones, they'll be on the TV and things that and they they go from a toss to a concept to paper to the calculations, and then you're physically on site, as the structure see has been put in place. And then finally, the client walks in to take possession of the property at the end of it, and their smile becomes your smile. It's fantastic.
Dusty Rhodes 26:42
It's almost as simple as applying yourself and showing an interest and and an enthusiasm for the job. Yeah,
Aidan O'Connell 26:48
I agree totally.
Dusty Rhodes 26:50
What advice Aiden, would you give to engineers listening who wants to move up the career ladder.
Aidan O'Connell 26:56
So first of all, if you're an engineer, you're not going to move up the ladder unless you go for chartered status, you have to have chartered status, that's an absolute minimum that you need to be able to bring to the table. Once you are a charters, that then gives you the credibility to be able to sign reports and sign documents that you are qualified that you're recognized to be able to do that going forward. And then if you want to move up the career ladder within an engineering consultancy, you need to be able to see the bigger picture, you're not just looking at a particular steel beam or a particular concrete column or a particular foundation, you have to start looking at the overall building. And you have to start looking at the wider picture as in, is there a better way of doing this? Is our foster wave design approach? And yes, it does come down to economics because ultimately, that's very important bird business here. We're looking at a corner shop keeper, we're trying to sell a product as a service. But we have to show good value to the client.
Dusty Rhodes 27:58
Can I ask you about becoming a fellow of engineers Ireland? Because it's quite an honor. How did that come about?
Aidan O'Connell 28:04
So as a result of probably the the main research work that we had done in the pyrite field, back in 2010 1112 13, and developing that, and then working with NUI Galway, and developing all of the testing that we had done, and then writing a number of papers on us, in conjunction with other federal colleagues. I was then proposed and Dr. Brian McCabe was one of the people actually who proposed me. And then there were some other fellow colleagues as well. So yes, it was a great pleasure. I have also had the pleasure of being the chairperson of the Midland region of engineers, Ireland, which, again, allow me to interact with many of my fellow Midlands colleagues. So look, I love engineers aren't I love what it does. And then to get the final accolade to say that your federal of engineers aren't, I think that's great.
Dusty Rhodes 28:57
What excites you, when you think about engineering in Ireland in the next five
Aidan O'Connell 29:01
years? I don't know where it's going. I don't know where engineering Ireland's in the next five years. Next 10 years in the next two years is going on. Probably the reason I don't know where it's going is that it's so fast moving its direction is very confusing. Sometimes I have looked at the head of Medusa and if you ever get it in your head of the head of Medusa, it's got multiple snakes going over gone in many, many directions. To a certain extent, I think that we're in that kind of arena at the moment because of all the many technological changes, etc, that are coming out. There have been many, many building fabric changes in the last 10 to 15 years. So where historically you'd be looking at nice brickwork or nice blog or car, car tumbling systems, etc. Now, all of that has changed because they're looking at systems that don't require so much laborer in terms of brickwork and blockwork. Now we're looking at prefabricated systems. Now we're looking at, you know, rainscreen systems, cladding systems, current modeling systems are very fast, very easy to direct. And it's all about speed, speed, speed, speed. And now we're having to go whoa, whoa, whoa, hang on a second. Now we've lost control here. In terms of some of the building products are all the the golden bullet. They weren't the silver bullet, not the golden silver bullet. They weren't the silver bullets. Why weren't they the silver bullet? Well, because we had Granville fire disaster, which showed us that some of these materials we're putting on the building, make it turn into a Roman candle, rather than a fire safe building for the occupants. And from an engineering perspective, we lost her strong of ourselves there. In Ireland, we're actually very good at understanding how building part of Scots together how we should be addressing matters. We've got the Building Regulations, which are superb in Ireland, we have a very good part B, which is in relation to fire safety here in Ireland, and the whole concept of how you should approach a building in terms of being shorts firesafe. So in England, they have what they call approved document B, which is the equivalent of our Part B, but they then develop this holistic approach of complying with the Building Regulations raishin, fire safety, it was all most of what I feel is on my water, it will be okay. So that will be okay. And that is literally how that process came about. And that they have what they call their approved building and spiritual process, which is a completely independent third party, which is grace, who is there to look at the standards or look the building process and say, Okay, I'm satisfied this building is going to comply with the Building Regulations. And they are then supposed to implement a an inspection process, and others will then sign off on it say, yes, everything was fine. Everything was great. And that paper sports, we watch gold sports be sacrosanct. Now, prior to the approved building, Inspector regime, there used to be the building control officer from the local party, who was anal in terms of his inspections, gave you hell on site, I'd got down into manholes and checked everything religiously. Absolutely. I've seen some of the mean chaser of building sites by fellas who, and he came back up and says, No, I'm refusing this, etc. And that's fantastic. But unfortunately, the UK when they went down this approved building special thing, the paperwork became worthless. Every single building that had been brought into look at over the UK has been a general disaster. So I haven't found that this battle in Ireland, and this new assigned certifier regime here in Ireland, I think, is a great way of dealing with this. But as long as we don't allow that to start losing his credibility, the minute you lose credibility in a controlled process or inspection process, you the entire process fails.
Dusty Rhodes 33:10
Aiden O'Connell, I can't thank you enough for being so honest and for sharing so much with us. Thank you for coming on our engineers, Ireland amplified podcast.
Aidan O'Connell 33:20
You're extremely welcome. Thank you very much.
Dusty Rhodes 33:23
If you would like to find out more about Aidan and some of the topics we talked about today, you'll find notes and links in the show notes area of your player right now. And of course, you'll find more information and exclusive advance episodes of our Engineers Ireland Amplified podcast on our website at engineersireland.ie.
Our podcast today was produced by DustPod for Engineers Ireland. If you would like more episodes, do click the Follow button on your podcast player to get access to all of our past and future shows automatically. Until next time for me Dusty Rhodes, thanks for listening.