four decades on
By Katharine Lawley
7th March 2002
Interior designer and building consultant Adrian Barrett is celebrating 40 years in the construction industry. Mr Barrett, whose business is based in Lower Road, Churchfields, in Salisbury, says the industry has changed dramatically in that time.
"When I started in Salisbury in 1966 there were at least 15 major construction firms employing 30 to 40 people - now there are just a few" he said. "The training of apprentices has virtually disappeared and we have been through two deep recessions - many people have left the industry and we now have a shortage of skilled labour.
"In the late 1980s I started working in France and this work built up dramatically in the 1990s when the recession was happening in Britain - the recession in France came later.
"Fortunately the construction industry is now very buoyant, which is good for me and everyone else in the industry." Mr Barrett left school in 1962 and studied decoration for four years before joining the family business.
Further study led to fellowships of the Chartered Institute of Building and the Chartered Society of Designers. Later he gained an MSc in construction management from the University of Bath.
After ten years in the family business, he opened his own consultancy in architectural and interior design, and during the next 12 years designed and managed projects from house alterations, school and hotel extensions to the interior design of hotels, bars and restaurants.
He is registered on the Law Society's list of expert witnesses and works with lawyers in cases relating to construction, decorating or design.
Mr Barrett said: "Although about 60 per cent of my work is in France, my work in the UK, particularly around Salisbury, continues to be very important to me because of my friends here and my life-long contacts with the local industry." Mr Barrett lives with his wife Jenny in Barford St Martin.
The couple have two daughters, a son and five grandchildren.