Paul Houghton DEP.Pg(Cert). NRAC
Paul Houghton has been Access Officer for Chelmsford City Council and an Access Consultant since July 2002. In December 2000, aged 42 Paul had a successful roofing business and was a keen sportsman. After mildly grazing his knee while scuba diving he unknowingly knelt in contaminated water on a flat roof at work with devastating consequences.
Unknown to Paul, he had contracted necrotising fasciitis (a flesh-eating bug) and although he felt unwell for a week afterwards he put it down to a virus. It was only when a friend persuaded him to go to the hospital that NF was diagnosed. The infection was spreading fast and surgeons had no option but to amputate Paul’s right leg eight inches above the knee; he spent ten days in a coma fighting for his life and months in rehabilitation before being discharged. Thankfully, at the time of his emergency amputation, the skilled surgical team ensured that he was left with a stump that could take prosthesis without the need for further surgery.
Now aged 57, Paul says his life changed beyond recognition. “The fact that I nearly died” he says. “I was given the last rites on a life support system and not many people come back from that. Initially it was a hard process coming to terms with what had happened, although I am so luck and grateful to be alive”.
“I knew I had to adapt to a new way of life, and although I could have carried on in construction I decided to re-train. I spent the first two years of my rehabilitation in college and ended up doing a Post Graduate Degree at Anglia Ruskin University, in disability civil rights.
Paul studied extensively and gained several impressive qualifications which collectively resulted in him becoming one of very few nationally accredited auditors in Essex, as well as completing his training as a Disability Equality Trainer.
Today, Paul works trying to empower other disabled people in being successful in life. Through his companies Access Unlimited and ‘DET’ (Discover Equality Training) which he runs with his partner Brian Mister MBE, they offer guidance to organisations in order to help them make positive changes in respect of the Equality Act 2010. In addition to his business interests, Paul chairs a small charity Chelmsford Area Access Group, and is a board member at the National Register of Access Consultants.
A few years ago Paul played amputee football and only stopped as he says he was getting “too old for it”. Now a keen golfer he has represented the English disabled golf team and plays off 17 regularly.
Darren Ingrouille BSc. ICIOB
I started out my journey into the built environment through the academic route; graduating Anglia Ruskin University in July 1999 with a Degree in Building Surveying; prior to this I obtained an HNC in Building Studies majoring on Building Design and Architecture. During these years of further education I worked full time starting out in 1994 as a trainee Architectural Technologist and culminating in a role as a Building Surveyor. Now with some twenty years’ experience I still enjoy my role as a Building Surveyor.
Approximately ten years ago; through extremely unfortunate circumstances my best friend suffered an accident resulting in a C4/C5 break in his Cervical spine which also crushed his spinal cord and left him Tetraplegic. I assisted my friend adapting and extending his home during the month he spent in ICU and further 6 months in Stoke Mandeville Spinal Injuries Hospital we extensively adapted his house to make this fully accessible. From this point forward my career as a Surveyor gravitated towards Accessibility within the built environment.
Alongside the above works which greatly improved accessibility I continued to provide a full range professional Building Surveying services to a wide range of Clients. I have undertaken a varied range of works during my twenty years’ experience in this profession, these duties briefly comprise:
- Preparation of Architectural Plans for Local Authority submission
- Measured Surveys
- Topographical Surveys
- Access Auditing
- Design and Project Management of jobs ranging from small domestic extensions through to £7million refurbishment projects for RBS Banking Group; incorporating Nat West and Coutts Banks.
- Conditions Surveys
- Asset Management Planning
- Maintenance Management
- Party Wall Surveyor
- Preparation of Schedules of Condition in relation to Landlord & Tenant matters.
Outside of work I enjoy keeping physically active and regularly participate in events and challenges for different charities and good causes. I particularly enjoy running, attending the gym, playing Golf and in the winter months I enjoy skiing as regularly as my holiday balance and finances permit.
I endeavour to keep abreast of developments affecting the industry and all legal obligations necessary to meet. I have recently learnt AutoCAD and am currently working towards upgrading my Incorporated Membership of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) to fully Chartered membership through Professional Review. I regularly attend CPD seminars and conferences as well as keeping up to date via social and professional media and publications.