Welcome to the third in our brand-new series of interviews called,’ Ten Minutes With.’ Now more than ever it’s important to talk so we wanted to give businesses the opportunity to do just that.
In our new feature we’re asking businesses all about them, asking them to share what they’re doing during lockdown and what their plans are for when we return to a new kind of normal.
This week we’re talking to the owner of Judith Richardson Qube Environmental, legionella and asbestos specialists.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m straight talking and honest and trusting, which can be to my detriment sometimes and I hope people would say I have a good sense of humour.
Tell us about your business?
It’s a family run business which I launched with my husband in 2007.
We provide legionella and asbestos compliance services and are soon to be launching into additional building compliance surveys.
Our services include all types of asbestos surveys and management plans. On the Legionella side we carry out risk assessments, routine monitoring and inspection services as well as training.
One thing that differentiates us is that we don’t employ plumbers or carry out asbestos removal. We simply give companies the guidance and advice they need to help comply with the rules and regulations and essentially keep themselves, their staff and their clients safe.
We have a team of five and work across the country although the bulk of our business is in the Midlands and the North West.
What did you do before launching your business?
My entire career before launching the company was in sales. I worked at an estate agent, sold scientific equipment and actually spent nine years at Yell.com.
The money was great, but I got to the point where I wanted to do something different. Ashley was working as a materials engineer and had an asbestos surveying qualification and we could see there was a demand for the services he could deliver so I joined him to the launch the business. We’ve now been going for 13 years!
Why do you do what you do?
Everything we do as a business is about keeping companies safe, making them aware of the risks and dangers and giving them the advice and support they need to minimise that risk.
Ashley and I are both self-motivated and have gone through the training together to deliver the best service possible. We’re ISO 9001 and ISO14001 accredited and members of the Legionella Control Association so when clients come to us, they know we’re experts at what we do so they don’t have to be.
What advice do you have for companies during this time?
It’s a difficult one as we don’t want to be seen as scaremongering and certainly don’t want to be seen as profiteering but with the number of premises that have been closed because of the lockdown, there are some risks.
A business’ water system may have been left idle for several weeks which potentially could cause health risks including Legionnaires’ disease.
Turning the taps on and off again isn’t enough. The minimum expectation for small, simple hot and cold-water systems would be flushing them through with fresh mains water.
Larger buildings, those with tanks, showers, calorifiers and more complex pipework would need more extensive flushing followed by cleaning and disinfection.
Where buildings have been empty for some time and during the warm weather, it’s likely that there could be an increase in bacteria levels.
That’s high-level advice but we’d be happy to chat through with companies in more detail.
How are you coping in lockdown?
I’m pretty resilient so I’ve adapted and have been ok. What we’ve been able to do remotely we have but there have been occasions where we have had to go on site to support our clients and we’ve obviously maintained social distancing.
We’ve spent time looking at the business to see what we can do to make us more efficient and we’ve been having a new website built so this time certainly hasn’t been wasted.
As a company we also bought and donated some plastic to help a Birmingham school make protective visors for key workers as we felt it was important to try and give something back at a time like this. We have also been able to deliver 100 of these to be used by Katharine House Hospice in Stafford who we are supporters of and are a client of ours.
Have you learnt anything about yourself?
I think I know myself well so I wouldn’t say I’ve really learnt anything new. It’s given me more time to think about my work-life balance which I’m sure it has a lot of people. Whatever the new norm will be after this, will certainly be different than the norm we had before.
Are you going to do anything differently after lockdown has been lifted?
Well we’ll definitely have to do something different instead of the holiday we had booked for Japan in September as I doubt we’ll be able to go there now.
In terms of work – there will be far more virtual meetings going forward.
What are your plans for the future?
I definitely want to maintain more of a work, life balance. The lockdown has definitely taught me that. In terms of the business we’re looking forward to the new website going live and automating our on-site surveying system which as a company will make us more efficient.
And finally, if you were down to your last fifty quid what would you spend it on?
I love clothes and searching charity shops to see what fab outfits I can find. I’d definitely be kitting myself out and buying some sweets too! At the moment my favourites are fruit pastilles!
If you’d like to be one of our, ‘Ten Minutes With,’ interviewees please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll grab a cuppa over Zoom.