Get to know…our Technical Manager

Ever wondered what Paul Carling, our Technical Manager gets up to on an average day as ATTMA’s Technical Manager?

Q: What are your core responsibilities/main objectives of your role?
A: The core responsibilities are:

To give technical support to anyone regarding air tightness testing.
Conduct audits on test reports, witnessed tests on site and on company quality management systems.
Design updates to our lodgement system and air tightness testing software with our developer
Write and deliver the training and CPD on air tightness testing
Write new and update existing ATTMA Technical Standards
Audit our authorised training providers to ensure that the courses cover the minimum required content.
A member of ATTMA’s technical committee who gather to discuss air tightness related matters.

Q:What would you do during a typical working day?
A: A typical day would involve answer queries regarding air tightness testing via email and telephone, completing a couple of audits on tests and then working on some design templates for updates to the lodgement system.

Q:How do you spend your time throughout the year?
A: Approximately 25% of the year writing new, updating existing and delivering training course and CPD to either help new testers get into the industry or improve the knowledge and skills of existing testers.

Approximately 25% of the year is spend on giving technical support to ensure that testers, construction companies, building control and building owners or occupiers are correctly informed about air tightness testing.

Approximately 5% of the year is spent checking deviations on tests and either approving them, failing them or rejecting them relative to whether they are representative of the finished building or compliant with the test standards.

Approximately 25% of the year is spent undertaking audits be they on reports, witnessed tests or quality management system audits at companies.  This helps identify issues that could cause problems for testers and their companies in the future and allows them to resolve these before they become larger issues.

Approximately 20% of the year is spent on long term projects such as new and updated test standards, updates to the lodgement system and creating internal tools to aid us with auditing.

Q:How did you get into the industry?
A: I was working at SANYO as I had setup a projector hire business for them in Leeds and following a very unsuccessful model of TV they made large losses for the year which resulted in them closing all their satellite offices.  Choosing voluntary redundancy as not wanting to move to Watford I posted my CV on several websites looking for a role as a product manager as that was always the side of the business and marketing education that I was interested in.  An agency contacted me and put me in contact with Stroma as a product manager and that’s when I entered the industry in 2008.

Q:What do you enjoy most about your role?
A: I like training new testers as it’s very satisfying to watch them progress over the years and become better and more knowledgeable at their job.  It’s always good when they come back to me for technical support to help with their progression.

Q:What is the most challenging thing about your role?
A: As a member of several government committees I would say trying to get people, with a very limited knowledge of air tightness testing and the industry, to not do anything stupid is my biggest challenge.

Q:What advice would you give to someone looking to become a technical manager in air tightness testing?
A: You need to first progress to level 2 and work for a company that does a lot of level 2 air tightness testing.  This will introduce you to complex buildings and therefore increase your experience. Following that you have to be able to at least create a spreadsheet that calculate the air permeability from entered test data for both single, multiple fans and split range tests.  All the information you need for this is in the tests standards. Finally you need to ask a lot of questions for those that know more than you so that you can increase your knowledge.  This is not only air tightness tester but those involved around air tightness testing such as energy assessors.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add about your job that makes it more interesting/special than others?
A: Working for a not for profit organisation is very different from my previous jobs as the focus is not on making money but rather giving as much support as possible.  It’s very satisfying when you are asked to do your best work rather than your quickest.

Q: What makes a good technical manager?
A: It’s all about having a rounded knowledge of air tightness testing and the industry.  You then need to be logical and good at solving problems.