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Tributes are paid to inspirational building safety expert

  • 16th November 2022

  • Customer news

Tributes have poured in from across the housing sector and beyond following the sudden death of leading building safety expert Paul Dockerill.

Paul, who began his career as a carpentry and joinery apprentice, went on to pioneer innovation in building safety, raising standards and helping shape national policy.

The Director of Energy and Programme Management at Midlands-based whg, died on Sunday. A dedicated and doting family man, he leaves a beloved wife, children and grandchildren.

whg Chief Executive Gary Fulford said: “We are devastated to hear of the sudden death of Paul. I remember interviewing Paul when he joined whg. What set him apart from the other candidates was his warmth, his enthusiasm and passion for his work.

Paul made time for everyone regardless of position or role and always greeted everyone with a smile. He was great at working with our customers and the work he has done around building safety was immense.

“It has been a privilege to work with him and witness first hand the huge contribution Paul has made both to our organisation and to the sector as a whole.”

Paul paved the way with his passion for improving building safety in partnership with and for the benefit of, residents. It had become his life’s mission and led to him playing a key role influencing future government policy as: Chair of the National Housing Federation’s National Building Safety Group; rResident Engagement Ambassador on The Housing Safety and Wellbeing Taskforce and most recently, trustee of the CIOB.

Rob Gilham, whg Corporate Director of Business Strategy and Assets, worked closely with Paul. He said: “Paul tirelessly championed building safety, always ensuring residents were at the heart of everything he did.

“He won hearts and minds on his mission to improve building safety and his contribution to the sector cannot be underestimated. A great advocate and a remarkable man, Paul leaves a lasting legacy that will shape our work for years to come. He leaves a gap in our team, in whg, and in the sector, that can never be replaced.”

As a young apprentice Paul joined Birmingham builders William Sapcote, working on a range of projects including major restoration work on historic buildings.

After moving to construction company Thomas Vale as Regional Director, he discovered his passion for making a positive difference to people’s lives through social housing. Paul joined whg in 2015 and played a crucial role in raising building safety standards, attracting national acclaim for his achievements.

One of these achievements is now impacting across the sector. Twinnedit, an innovative building information modelling (BIM) programme, was pioneered by Paul following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017. The groundbreaking platform met many of the recommendations in Dame Judith Hackitt’s report following her review of building regulations and fire safety. More than 20 housing associations are now on board to use this modelling platform, leading to the digitalisation of 120 buildings and helping to keep safe thousands more people.

Repairs Team Leader Sarah Mohammed said: “It has been a privilege to have known such a kind hearted man who never failed to acknowledge you; he would make you feel like you had a special place within him, asking about your children and family, how we felt, how he could support us and always telling us how well we were doing.

“Words of encouragement were always free flowing from Paul. My condolences go out to his family – thoughts and prayers are with you all.”

Tina Mistry, of Aico, worked alongside Paul to set up The Housing Safety and Wellbeing Taskforce. She added: “Paul was a lovely person who wore his heart on his sleeve. He did so much to support the sector, especially making sure residents were at the heart of everything. I feel so lucky to have worked closely with him. He will be deeply missed.”


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