I Hate Jeremy Till

First thing--I don't hate Jeremy Till. He is a very nice guy. It's just that I read his book during the final stages of writing an article and it changed the way I thought about my topic which I didn't want to happen. It's not his fault: it was mine for reading it.

The reason I bring his name up in vain again is that I gave a talk today to Part 3 students in Architecture. This is where budding architects are exposed to legal, professional and managerial aspects of their future careers. After this they are independent architects. As part of the course I am asked to give the "client's perspective" especially as I have a television programme to back it up.

So I entitled my talk, "Why I hate Jeremy Till": reasons being:
  1. He trained the architects who designed my house.
  2. Somehow or other he got people interested in a fiendishly complex heating and hot water system made by Viessman which only one set of plumbers in Kent know how to fix. Moreover, the bloody thing could probably supply the entire neighbourhood.
  3. His own house made an early appearance on Grand Designs.
  4. And of course he wrote that bloody (but very good) book.
This is his house

After I explained the reasons to the audience they began to understand what I was trying to do. I claimed and still hold that the emotional labour involved in these types of projects is huge and usually ignored. It's ignored in particular by architects, lawyers, contractors and anyone else involved except for the poor, bloody client who doesn't realize what he's let himself in for.

The client is about to engage in the dirtiest type of psychological, urban guerilla warfare. And escape is impossible and if attempted is catastrophic. The client is gulled into a false sense of security told that all will be fine, don't worry.

I remember when first discussing the project with my architect, I had proposed a simple extension to the house.

He said, "You know, John, for a little more money you could do the entire house."

I believed him because I heard little whereas he was really saying MONEY. Fool!

I wanted my audience to know that communicating with the client helps and is necessary. Was it really my role to stand in between the architect and builder because they were about to punch each others' teeth out? At the end of the project my first reaction was: if someone comes along and offers me some money, I'll sell.

I got over that and learned to love and live in my house but it was in spite of and not because of what those people did.