From an early age I was interested in building and creating new things; developing and showing off my skills. When I was eight years old I built a fantastic tree house with my dad, but was disappointed when the rain dripped through the gaps in the roof, getting my Lego wet! I decided to solve this problem. I searched my father’s workshop for materials, and collected black bin liners and dog blankets. With a bit of trial and error I created a waterproof, insulated tree house that I could not only play Lego in all day, but comfortably sleep in, too.
My desire to put materials together to solve a problem or to create something amazing grew from those early experiments. Now, I get a real buzz out of seeing a homeowner delighted with the soundproofing we install for them, and knowing they can enjoy their home and do the things they love. I get satisfaction from every aspect: from explaining the concept to the homeowner, understanding the building materials, designing the soundproofing system, to researching and installing gadgets to make the whole experience extraordinary.
I am particularly proud of the four-step soundproofing method, which I strongly believe is the only way to significantly reduce noise and create the home you have always wanted.
My desire for putting different materials together to solve a problem grew and grew. This passion became focused around noise after my personal experience of noise from neighbours. My girlfriend and I got the keys to our new house, a semi-detached house on a nice little cul de sac conveniently near a supermarket. I remember getting the keys quite late on the Friday afternoon and not getting into the house until later that evening, I remember spreading out a cardboard box on the living room floor to tuck into our take away we had been looking forward to all week….it was then on the first night, in the first few hours of moving in, it immediately became obvious that we could hear the neighbours, we could hear their TV, conversation, doors banging, dogs barking and loud music.
During the whole excitement of buying our semi-detached house, I had never once thought about noise or noise from the neighbours.
I had trouble sleeping, I couldn’t relax in our new home, and I was constantly disturbed by the neighbours. I remember I began to talk quietly when I was in the house….thinking if I can hear them they must be able to hear us. Like camping in a tent, I was uncomfortable with the noise, unsettled in my new home.
The most shocking thing for me was that the neighbours were not having wild parties or shouting at each other until 3am in the morning, they were just a normal busy family, living their lives. I realised that this is not just the case for my house, this is the case for millions of people across the UK suffering with unwanted noise in their home.
I was already applying sound insulation systems to homeowners’ homes at the early stage of my building career but did not appreciate the reasons why homeowners asked me to include the sound insulation as part of their renovation. It was this experience of hearing unwanted noise in my own home that transformed my thinking.
I became slightly obsessed with how the noise was transmitting into my first home and booked an appointment with a soundproofing materials supplier in Oxford, and decided to go down to Oxford, have a nose around their warehouse and meet the store manager Stephen in person. I had already been spending a lot of money with them soundproofing for my clients as part of their renovations. I ended up chatting all afternoon with Stephen, I think I absolutely drained him of all his 40 years of soundproofing knowledge. On the way out, I felt like Neo out of the film the Matrix when he first got uploaded with combat training.
I remember driving home that evening absolutely buzzing. This meeting was a real enlightening moment for me because after speaking with Stephen, I felt as if all the dots in my career had joined up. All the previous building and structural knowledge from home extensions, barn conversion and all the different insulation systems, wall coatings, stud frames, suspended ceilings, drywall systems and floor systems I had learnt in my building career. All these projects I had completed in my construction career had been for a real purpose.