099 Adventures in Surveying with Stephen Scott-Fawcett
Stephen Scott-Fawcett recalls his many adventures not only in surveying, but also in exploring Himalayas and Antarctica.
Stephen Scott-Fawcett is a Chartered Surveyor since 1978 having been trained by the Valuation Office. He next attended Cambridge University and, after graduating, joined Martin & Mortimer as a full equity partner in June 1987. Stephen developed the business over the next 24 years and became a senior consultant in January 2011. He specialises in detailed building survey and valuation work, in both residential and commercial sectors. He is also and experienced Himalayan traveller, and has academic interest in Polar history as an author, editor, lecturer and conference facilitator.
What is Covered:
- How Stephen started and then came back to the surveying career after spending some time as a vicar
- Where the surveying work and serving in a parish intersect
- How the surveying industry changed post Financial Service Act from 1986
- What Stephen’s experience running a business was like
- The building survey he designed to help the home vendors and purchasers
- Stephen’s interests in Nepal and Antarctica
- How surveyors can help with mitigating climate change
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(transcribed by Otter.ai)
Marion Ellis 0:50
Today on the podcast, I'm chatting to Stephen Scott-Fawcett, an experienced chartered surveyor valuer. Let's get going. It's great to have you on the podcast, Steve, thanks so much for taking the time to come and chat to me. We met very briefly, I think when I was doing some work for a client and they said, oh, you want to speak to Steve, Steve's the most interesting guy you'll ever come across.
Stephen Scott-Fawcett 1:13
That's, I'm sure you're talking about Mark Duckworth, my colleague, the owner of the Martin and Waterman limited, a good guy. And he looks up to me because I'm of great age, but I had a slightly different sort of background to most of those, possibly that I'd sort of juggled 15 balls in the air at once and drop about 14 often. So I'm an interesting person, I suppose from that point of view, but those who are interested in crazy things that I might get up to.
Marion Ellis 1:41
Tell me a bit about your surveying journey. So the kind of work you do now does that residentials, valuation?
Stephen Scott-Fawcett 1:47
I do commercial, I'm an old fashioned general practitioner, which I don't think exists with RICS which is a great, great tragedy for all concerned. But yes, I was trained well, no, actually I was primarily trained as a valuer. I was offered a cadet valuer position with the then Inland Revenue now, of course, HMRC. So I had a sponsorship to train to become a chartered surveyor basically, what we now call a chartered valuation surveyor. So actually, my path into surveying was residential-ish. But you can imagine doing taxation, valuation type stuff, I'm not the tax person. But you know, valuation of portfolios did involve commercial work as a matter of fact. And I look back on things now, and I realised just how fantastically well trained up, I became over a period of time working as a cadet valuer, before becoming qualified with knowing how to value all types of quote, blended property was the catch phrase, I even got round to valuing a lake, which I thought was quite fun. I think I drew the line at pumps because of what's called parentage and all sorts of crazy things you have to understand or what effectively is the profitability of a going concern in the public house. And that's licensed premises. And that is a very definite specialization, which I got to wait for, how to go about valuing a late just Rental Value capitalized rental value, you have to decide on what it's worth to a potential lessee as the what would they pay to have the facility of the lake and what that lake planning is in terms of planning might provide, you know, is exporting rights, can you pipe boats on it and become a commercial operation, depends where the lake is. So once you've identified the notional rental value, you capitalize it, the capitalization is whatever you think you've invested with wanting to return for its payment of the actual assets. So, percentage of whatever 100% downwards. So that's how you do. So you might have capitalisation, I don't know, let's say, you might think an investor wants a 10% return, if he buys the link whenever that use can be. So you multiply the rental value by effectively 10 In this case, and that will give you a capital value. And here's the crunch, whether it's a lake or an office block, or whatever it might be, we then step back, take a deep breath, you know, think of England, and then say, does the math stack up? Because my favorite expression as a valuer is valuation is not an exact science, by using all my professional records. People get very heads up when a surveyor says oh, it's worth 35,000. It's worth 100 million, you know, especially mortgage valuation stuff, you know, I don't do that now. But people get very upset. And I had to say, well, not actually, this is an opinion. I'm happy I can back up my opinion, but I'm equally happy that my opinion might be between 3-5% Wrong, by the way, because it is just an opinion.
Marion Ellis 4:30
Yeah, that's the thing is, is that it's that opinion of value. And then for us as surveyors and valuers, yes, we've got to know how to do it. We've got to understand the math or the logic, but it's that trusting your gut instinct and experience that comes with doing this kind of work.
Stephen Scott-Fawcett 4:47
There are occasions when I see surveyors’ reports and they come up with a valuation I don't need to be discreet. But recently it was a case where I live here in North Norfolk where a value registered RICS valuer came along and down The value of flats by as much as 40,000 pounds bearing in mind the capital value was otherwise 180. So it's quite a massive reduction simply because the neighbor next door was a little bit unfortunately challenged mentally, and this value effectively said, oh, there's a down valuation because you've got a wonky neighbor, and crazy, you know? And what this value of should have done is, well, yes, you know, one level, this particular individual, the clients felt hard done by that they bought a flat with someone a bit strange next door, which is unfortunate, but then this valuer should have stepped back from all that and said, Yeah, but in the real world in the marketplace, this is 40,000 pound devaluation justified in real terms. Absolutely not.
Marion Ellis 5:41
And it's that it's that reflective thought, isn't it giving yourself time to work these things out? I'm always fascinated. It's interesting. You talk about the lake and the different kinds of things that you value. I came through as a what is called a bog standard. resi valuer, looking at the usual. Nothing particularly.
Stephen Scott-Fawcet 6:00
Call it mainstream.
Marion Ellis 6:02
Mainstream, there you go. And when I took on a head office role, the company I worked for at the time, you'd get all sorts of things put to us, as you know, can you value this and I remember, one of them was, I think it was for the waterway, waterways or the canal, to do root canals, the properties that you have a lot of canals, and we had to work out for some of them, you couldn't get there by car. And so we had to work out the logistics of how do you get to these properties by a canal boat? Ladders and everything. And, um, you know, for the larger companies, it becomes quite complex. But, you know, that's just the variety of the whole built environment. You know, once you start to open your eyes. Can I ask you, did you always want to go into this kind of work? You know, are you inspired at school?
Stephen Scott-Fawcett 6:47
Great question. And it's where we should start from, I think, and that is that I hate this notion. As a schoolboy, I was really lucky to enjoy my schooling and did quite well at school and became head boy, but that's the point I'm making there is I was so distracted by that responsibility, that, hey, presto, I got my A levels, because in those days, I still had them.
Marion Ellis 7:06
We still have a level, we still have a level.
Stephen Scott-Fawcett 7:09
I was thinking of GCSE. So of course, they've got the districts. And so actually, I have to confess I sort of my A level grades were reasonable, but not particularly outstanding. So as a matter of fact, I didn't go to university, but there's a reason why I say all this as a schoolboy, I looked at careers as you do when you are 16. You know, what sort of GCSEs or A levels or whatever it is that is called now GCSE? What should I take at the age of 16, that will help me at the age of 14 that will help me go on to A levels and help me go on to university or a career. And I just assumed that being a chartered surveyor, which I had heard about, was necessary to be good at mapping, you know, drawing and very important to be good at maths. And I was okay, on both subjects, but not particularly brilliant. So I can just dismiss it. So when I actually left school, and chose not to go to the university that was offering me a place, because it wasn't the university I wanted to go to actually, I took time out and just worked in an office for one and paid mum and dad a bit of rent, and sort of took a view on life. And my father encountered a chartered surveyor for a valuation so that I could get valued. It was as a result of that meeting with this young man called John, who then explained to my father a cup of tea, I was working, I was in the office somewhere, what his career was all about, and how it bent. My dad was very good and mentioned it all to me when I got home from work, and I was intrigued. And the rest is history. I kind of looked into it. I applied to become a value. It was a competent or competitive interview situation. But I was quite successful in the end and became a chartered surveyor. So I came in through the back door. And it was only when I got in through the back door, which I then realized how much I really had misunderstood what the chartered surveying professional was really all about being realized there were all sorts of different divisions we had in those days, you know, what I didn't know what the hell QS was, for example, or planning surveyor was or surveyor was, you know, all these things were quite expensive being a hydro over graphics surveyor, getting on a boat, getting seasick and mapping the oceans until receipt six, it was a bit ironic, wasn't it? But then I kind of fell into this sort of valuation thing at the valuation offices, it was called and loved it. I loved the work. And I love the people around me, although they will typically say that civil servants that like to knock off that hal past 12 on a Friday, never get back to work.
Marion Ellis 9:31
But oh, how different things are now.
Stephen Scott-Fawcett 9:35
This was normal, but it was a good environment. And I was very well looked after I was paid well, even as a young trainee, actually, and got some really good experience. So I fell into surveying this is a long winded answer.
Marion Ellis 9:47
And I hear that so so often, actually, we had a post recently in the Surveyor Hub. I think I'd asked you know what, what did you do before you became,
Stephen Scott-Fawcett 9:57
I should always read someone believed that I actually do blue, the red arrow. If you see this podcast, madam, it was just asMarion Ellis:
It was people telling me oh, no, I haven't got very interesting background and I look at all the careers and the things that people have done before they became surveyors. And I think it's amazing and wanting to be what did you and I hear this a lot, you know, you said sort about coming through the back door. But actually now I speak to so many people who didn't take what we'd see as a traditional route university, you know, APC. I think that's what makes us actually really good today is that life experience.Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
I totally agree. I once had an occasion where I was friendly with a couple and I can't think of his name, but he was a lecturer at Liverpool University. And I don't know when he lectured either, but he was not happy with his work was, he was 40 years of age. This is some time ago, and he loved his decent sleep, and you always looked happy. I said, Well, I've got a nice wife and a comfortable home and I've got a great job. He said, Yes, I've heard you're a surveyor, you must love your work. I do actually, I like my work very much. And at that point, I was in general practice and not in the valuation office, by the way. And this fella took it upon himself at the age of 40 to retrain, and I say to people like that, and even if you're older, absolute respect, you know, to take the trouble to start again. I really can't think of his name now. Tim, or something, but I saw him years later, and I said, any regrets on switching to being servos? And none whatsoever? The best thing I did. So there you go.Marion Ellis:
So you said you started at the valuation office, general practice, how did your career evolve?Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
This is where the kaleidoscope of life comes in. Because actually, I had a religious moment when I was this is ironic, more or less parallel with my training as a valuer. I began to get quite heavily involved at the time, I have moved on a bit since by the way, but I did actually get quite caught up with the Christian faith at a local church and the vicar started whispering in my ear, you'd make a good vicar and all that kind of stuff. So I kind of believed in it. So actually, coincident with this rather sort of exacerbate also that exasperated is the word the senior people in my profession at the time that valuation office when I went to knock on the front door of the office of the district value, I can say, Dear sir, I said, I hope you don't mind. Yes, I'm just qualified them in a fantastic time by qualifying as a surveyor. But I think I might want to go off the train to be a vicar, you know, I mean, the nearly fell off his chair, but I think it was sort of not because of the idea is because maybe you. But anyway, that's another metric. So actually, to cut a long story short, there I did, I left the profession, actually. 1978 qualified pretty quickly. But dad was very keen that I carry on doing a surveyor, my late father, and even he was sort of flummoxed when I said, Well, actually, I've got religious debt now. So I went off to university to take the short story, not too complicated. I went to university for three years to study theology, thinking that I would then graduate on to the church and actually not continue as a chartered surveyor. I have nothing to do with me not liking being a subject, and everything to do with, you know, feeling or what I've seen in the light. You hear these stories throughout life with all sorts of people don't. However, it's a complicated thing. I wasn't rejected, I was very successful processor myself. But I made the mistake of like getting married when I was still training to be a vicar. And unfortunately, my wife became not very well. I’m now remarried, actually, rich became a bit unwell. One thing led to another and it actually meant that I couldn't go into the church. So I went back into my original position of Chartered surveying, which I'm quite happy to do is bit strange time in my life. But I thought, look at the value of I'm actually quite forensic in valuing, but frankly, this is very important. And I've seen this in the house. I couldn't tell the difference between a solid wall and a cavity wall. And that's the honest truth. Because when you're a valuer, you're looking at pieces of paper, and you're doing some calculations. You're not doing a good old fashioned Building Survey, you're just not. So the training there was quite deficient, although, perhaps the reason. So I decided to go into general practice and become a proper normal, just as you are your mainstream surveyor focusing on residential because that was something I was familiar with, really. And that's what I did. So when I left university, I joined a local company, and became a chartered surveyor proper that was anyway, because the COVID are paying subs and started doing what most of us would understand to be mainstream residential type survey work, which also involved of course, mortgage valuations for some period of time, but usual things began to call about my experience in my career.Marion Ellis:
Wow. First of all, that's fascinating. We haven't had that on the podcast. But I do know a couple of surveys actually, who I know know many surveyors actually who have a strong faith. As somebody who is a vicar and a surveyor at the same time. I guess when you talk about becoming a vicar, I guess it was more of a like you're starting to see the light the color Yeah. So rather than a job, what I sometimes see with what I believe that a lot of surveyors is, there's a reason we become a surveyor. And it's not the numbers. It's not the, what type of brick is it? You know, any of that there's another layer to it. It's very much about helping people, we help them with a roof over their heads the way that where they live, and it's, and so it's not, you know, stuff. I would say it's vocational. But I do think it's much more thanthat.Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
You’re very insightful Marion. Because here's the rationalizing, I had to keep asking myself, Am I doing the right thing by doing the right thing, I'm gonna become the vicar and I've already just become a surveyor. And I love being a surveyor. But actually, I think I've become a bit. And I kind of said at the time, and I think about this, even now, we are talking about a long time ago. And I said, Look, you know, lots of people can be surveyors, but not so many people can actually be vicars, which was a bit pompous. But you know, not that many people were wanting to be called into the church. And I felt that it was specific responsibility towards people. And I kind of really felt that this was something that I wanted to do, and that I'm the profession wouldn't miss me. I guess what I'm saying how wrong was I, because although indeed, I had personal reasons for not going into the church more to do with my wife's health. And it just meant that I didn't go back into church, it's as simple as that. But you're absolutely spot on. The penny dropped some time later, when I was going on with my career as a surveyor, you know, people were hanging on my word, sometimes, their whole kind of wellbeing was dependent upon the sale of their property or purchasing this property. You know, although it's one of those things that we could discuss them separately, as to whether it's right for people to put all their mental strength into material things. But it's more than that, isn't it? You know, as we say, it's a cliche that a house is also a home. And so a lot of people that were acting for, let's say were acting as a purchaser. These are people who thought long and hard before spending money on a server, this will make a fantastic home. And the lesson that I learned, go back to the vicar time, there's a lot of social work that goes on when you're a surveyor, actually, you know, and I'm sure we've all had experiences where people ring up and say, I'm heartbroken because the chain is broken. And I wanted that house and, you know, your certainly was so helpful, and all the rest of it. And then I say, Don't worry, I've seen this so many times in my career that I don't want, mister. It's usually the lady who's actually not being sexist, but they're the ones. Yeah, they're the ones who are paid to be opened. And I say, Don't worry, madam. I said, I bet you the next one you find is even better. And they're not sure that they believe that. But lo and behold, guess what? You get a phone call a month later, a week later, a day later, they found something and then they say, I'm so glad I didn't buy the other one. It’s social work, you know. And also, there's nobody going about this. But it's quite important when surveyors go and survey a property, they can't just be focused, yes, legally, they have to be focused on the client, there is this voice on the end of the phone or the end of an email. Someone wanting to enter an email address, if dealing with vendors, they're not the clients, but they're human beings. And it's surprising the number of people who are very anxious when you knock on the door. So surveyors do it all day long and don't think twice, but actually then know can be quite anxious. I've learned over the many years that whilst you've got to be very professional, and not saying what you can't say to them, for obvious reasons, and not least because of your PII and everything else, I've learned to really do my best to be very friendly, very helpful without being unprofessional about disclosing information too much. But I want people to be more at ease and feel that this has been fair. It's been reasonable. It's been human, we've been like him. And occasionally, you get the odd extra bit of business, you know, when the chain continues on, Mister Mister vendor rings up saying, I was very impressed or I liked what you did. Could you survey what we want to buy? And I say, well, as long as people in the chain are aware this is going on, I've got no problem with it. So you are absolutely right. Surveying is a very important skill, not just physically, but emotionally, socially. You have to be so aware. I see this in the Hub by the way. I'm very gratified when I see posts that tell me that these people are really thoughtful about not just the buildings but about vendors and sometimes I have problems with those but they're good. They're good about delivering get through and want to get it right for everybody.Marion Ellis:
Yeah, this resonates so much. I I often say when you walk into people's homes, we walk into their lives. You know, warts and all. And we've got to respect that and you know, it's a bit like social work. I suppose what's really hard for surveyors and maybe this is what the life experience piece comes in as you get to know or interact with more people personally. In life, is that you can become quite desensitized to it, you've got the pressures of your job and turn it around the points or the jobs, and all those things. But you've also got to find a way to emotionally detach yourself from it as well. You know, I've been into properties. I remember auditing a chat. Many years ago, we went into a property and we both walked out and thought do we call social services and NSPCC? You know? And it's like, how do you deal with that, or, for me, it was used to be the little old ladies by themselves. It hadn't been upstairs for years, you know, so and so that human nature comes in. And so kind of, I guess, sort of emotionally intelligent in that way, or being aware of it, then helps shape the way that you survey. And I suppose what we're, we're talking about and how I work with my clients is actually how do you develop, do meaningful work, develop a meaningful, life-friendly surveying business, because it's more than just, just going out and doing the reports. I mean, we definitely wrong. We like that stuff. We like the geeky stuff, and the interesting stuff, tick some boxes, but it's so much so much more than that.Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
I’ll tell you now, the end of my career-ish, you know, sort of getting on a bit and let's keep going on about that. I'm aware that most people my age will be sending it somewhere in the cost of brother or something, you know, and not having to worry about it, I actually surveyed because I love it, I'm actually going to carry on until I look ridiculous. Going up into a roof space, you can imagine an 80 year old falling through the ceiling. But I'll probably get there, because I enjoy what I do. But as I'm getting older, I get more pleasure, I mean, or as much pleasure in leaving a property where I've kept vendors feeling comfortable, reassured without being unprofessional with it. No less, no more than I'm satisfying, hopefully, my clients when they read my report, perhaps interacting with me if they want to clarify something, I get as much pleasure in feeling I've left the property where I've left people feeling calm and reasonably happy doesn't happen all the time. A good case in point was about a month ago was in Norwich. And there's this lovely elderly man living in virtual squalor. Frankly, when he was a life tenant, the usual thing, you know, didn't own the property, had no money. But somebody had very kindly allowed him to live there until he passed away. So it was a bit of a shock to the system when I walked through the door. But he was such a lovely guy, and must have been 8788. And I don't know if I have an affinity with older people somehow, a lot of time and trouble. Then it sat down. And before I did the survey, I chatted about his life. And he wanted to know about, you know how we got to this point. And it turns out, you can guess the rest of him. He'd been involved in some extremely interesting things and had helped other people in his younger life. And this man was, you know, worthy of attention. I spent probably a good 15 minutes really talking about his ex-wife who clearly missed terribly know these things. He was so calm. And he shook my hand when I left the house, when I then got on with the survey that he was, it was I took the trouble. And I think surveyors should think about this, as you say, you've got to find a balance between being professional, and knowing what your job really is, of course, that you can't just well go through people's lives and not take other things, especially with the elderly, I have to say, Yeah, I agree. Yeah. Especially for having to be on their own. I make a real effort to chat to them in a normal non-surveying way, just to see how they are, you know, where their family lives. It's a good point you've raised about what does one do if you leave? You know, there's someone in big trouble. Do you report it? I think I probably would. negative sentiment in a really helpful social sense, you know, to me, although I was a slightly different tack, and I'm sure so there's listening to this watching this podcast was we'll have one or two experiences like this, when you go up into space and find certain plant growing.Marion Ellis:
You don't get the magazines so much now because everything's on the internet, you know, but you walk into their lives, look into their homes. And you see,Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
It's quite funny. I thought, well, I don't really want to go to the police. I'm a surveyor. I don't want to get involved in anything. But the lady who let me into the house was the girlfriend of the man who owns a flat in Norwich, this one. And when she was telling me the truth and knows that when I came down from the ladder came down from the roof, having seen all this marihuana. Smells, the smells very distinctive as it actually downstairs in the property, strangely, but so I am. I said to this lady who I didn't realize she was the girlfriend. I've just found a tropical garden space. And I said, I'm not sure it's legal, kind of always diplomatic. And she, I don't know whether she was play-acting to do that. She said, Excuse me. I said, Well, you know, so she went up the ladder herself and said, I'm gonna kill you, you know, kind of whether it was just, you know, whether it was just an act or whether she really didn't realize that Trevor was growing stuff in his roof space. And I understand that it went within 24 hours.Marion Ellis:
So you, you owned your own business after that?Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
Basically, when I went back into the surveying world from not becoming a vicar, I was an employee with a company in Cambridge. And then one thing led to another and I guess, you know, people took a view that, you know, I had the ability to be a partner. So I became a partner of a different company, it turned out, and then we had a bit of a bad recession, Marion in 1990 1989-91 is a bad time. And the art was I was with Britain bit older, but there was still perfectly in their working lives, but they were just sort of, if you like a different generation with a different sort of view on how to get new business, and I was still young and keen, I guess, one thing led to another and they turned around, they offered me the business, because they thought that I probably had the best chance of saving it. So I basically became eventually, the sole owner of quite a well established company based around this, you just offered surveoying service for more stuff than subtypes in Cambridgeshire. So I took it from there. And then I brought in new young men, no women affected that case, but men into the business and did very well. And the business grew substantially. To avoid that cut a long story short, the company that you kindly visited and met my colleague, Mark, that was my company. So I sold that to Mark and one other in 2011, and became a consultant thinking that I could get on with other things that I'm also interested in, do just cherry-picking consultancy work, but we sadly lost one of those men who bought my business very tragically. And I found myself not sucked in, but deliberately wanting to be involved as a consultant still, so I'm an employee now, but it was my company that was needing some help. And I was very glad to do that. Actually, as we speak, I still do that.Marion Ellis:
How did you find being a business owner?Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
Yes, I found it difficult. If I'm brutally honest, I'm not a trained business person. Most of us arms we’re Chartered Surveyors. And so I kind of had this kamikaze attitude, sometimes it paid off, sometimes it didn't as kamikaze pilots, but it never pays off with them. But you know what I mean? Sorry about that analogy. But so what I'm saying is, I just thought, the harder I work, the more successful I became the bringing the fees in, then the business will look after itself. And it was only when we had the recessions, the first one biting in 1989-91, that I learned about cash flows. And you know, it's a bit of a, again, it's a cliche, but when you're running a business you, it doesn't matter how good you are, or how successful you are, you haven't got your fingers on the button, when it comes to cash flow, you're in big trouble. So I found running a business, sometimes great, when things were going well, stating the obvious, you know, money was good. I always enjoy my work. But then when the recessions come along, and difficulties of that kind, then we had something called the Financial Service Act of 1986. That came along, and bit lots of surveys on the backside, who were dependent on mortgage valuation work, which in the early part of my career, I'm pretty well was it took up about 75% of my work for a while. And then in 1986, no longer were you getting phone calls from bank managers and building society manager saying, can you pop out to evaluation work?Marion Ellis:
So what changed there?Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
meeting possible for the lenders to have in house their own expertise, so they bought up surveying companies or state agencies, and had their own valuation division, because it was also an additional source of business for them. And so panelling out became very restricted to very large independent surveying companies that turned around to the likes of Lloyds Bank and Nationwide Building Society at the time and said, You can't cope, can you? I tell you what, why don't you just franchise it out to us, so countrywide surveyors and so on, not locking them, they saw the opportunity, and, and I was always that old fashioned, independent, rather small businessman in thinking, and didn't want myself to be swallowed up in a big company become nothing more than a panel value, frankly. So what I'm saying is running a business, you had to duck and dive, what I learned when the Financial Service Act came along in 1986, was how important it was to diversify, and not just focus on, dare I say it, for some mortgage valuations, but really, what else you can do and what you are qualified to do, in my case, doing survey work anyway, because I did a bit of that. I basically went bonkers and sort of really sold myself as a good building software. And also, I developed various packages for people. I do what's called an owner survey, which might shock a number of people listening to this podcast, where I will do a survey and as long as there's a specific protocol in place legally, I don't mind the survey being shown to potential purchasers. It's all insured and everything. So that was the package that I introduced. It shouldn't become law, by the way, but that's another story.Marion Ellis:
Okay. So I've got two questions burning in my mind. Now, firstly, one thing I do want to say I, I totally understand where you're coming from in terms of the whole sort of cash flow piece. And a lot of the surveyors that I work with, or small businesses that that I come across, they literally from outside looking in, and you know, I've worked for corporates have worked for lots of different firms, it's almost as though you hold a bucket out and say, give me all the work. And we work untill there's no work. And what that does is it means that you're not in control of the work that you're getting, you're not getting to choose, do you get high-risk work? Do you get clients and work that you actually absolutely love, but also the, if you concentrate on that, you work hard, you stop when you have to stop. And there's always like a fear factor of what happens if the market stops if the market stops? And, you just leave yourself open to it. And I see lots of surveys doing that. And I often talk about, it's not just about social media, but about your brand, understanding who your ideal client is, diversifying your work in the right way, so you've got a good balance, and effectively, it's creating resilience and almost like a trampoline, so if something goes, you still got some other ways that you can earn money. And I see that so often. And, you know, as we were here today, it's 2022, who knows what's going to happen, you know, sort of post-COVID, and new government and all of those things, but we need to give ourselves the time to work on our businesses, we will not like some of that because we are surveyors rather than business owners. But we can get help with it, and we can get support with it. But if you don't pay attention to your business, that's really where you start to start to fall down, you know.Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
Yeah. Was it something else you wanted to say? Because you saidMarion Ellis:
There was yeah, the other thing I wanted to say you said about this sort of home owners is, the first that came to mind for me was the Home Information Pack.Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
Let's not put the RICS in line because the RICS were bypassed either than governments, I mean, I'm gonna get to. But that's the reality. Anybody who's old enough to remember all this will realize that the government in their wisdom in the sort of mandarins in Whitehall, were just basically sitting around a desk and coming up with an idea, without discussing it with the property sector, the RICS were completely ignored. And when they were challenged later, because it all fell, fell apart. This whole process, when they were challenged later, their excuse was that we didn't want to be seen to be pampering one specific professional body, because we've been accused of, you know, monopolies and all that kind of stuff. But it was completely rubbish not to talk to the RICS, for example, about how we package this very good idea, this good idea of speeding up the sale process. There's excellent idea, in my view, there are those who would disagree with me, that why have poor surveyors turning up for full buyers looking at the same property, that ironically, you might even have four different opinion, certainly on valuation, but interestingly, with owner surveys, they don't provide valuations, if they're going to be seen by third parties, the minute you throw valuation interpret a survey, creating a conflict of interest, you cannot do that. So we're talking about putting it bluntly, MOT's. Now that condition report now, I could write a book about, you know, this Home Condition Report that came up as part of initially, it was intended to be a mandatory ingredient to the home information pack. And initially, the government intended to recruit , as you know, home inspectors. And I can tell you, I was one of the first 50 home inspectors in the UK, I think there were about 120. In the end, they needed 1500. So you get my drift there. But when I went through my training, surveyors listening to this will be aghast. I was trained by a really lovely guy who was less experienced than me, but that's not that, by the way. He was a nice fella, the newest stuff. But he was training us to do a home condition report and uh, you try check training, Chartered Surveyors to do a government back home condition report, your home condition was an individual call home. Home inspectors report that it wasn't called back, because this is the bottom line. It's not even the homebuyers who bought it's the kind of lesser home buyers. I personally don't like home buyers myself, but that's why we're so you'd be trained. So we're sitting in the classroom, we're being trained for what to do. When we pick up a manhole cover for this government scheme. The survey inverted commas that everyone was going to look at like an MOT and you pick up a manhole cover and you don't see any problem. You pick up another manhole cover down the same driveway, you don't see any problems. But in between two main outcomes there's a depression with a dry and a chartered surveyor doing a Hobart as you call or a building survey would say there's a good chance out that there's a collapse drain is somewhere, you can't see it, but there's a depression in the drive. So you will say, condition waiting 3,2 and the homebuyers. If you're doing a building survey, you're saying get it inspected before exchange contracts. Or when the government back policy thing came along, we weren't supposed to say anything of the comic, oh, there's nothing wrong with these two manhole covers, these chambers that we're looking at there in particular clear. So give it condition rating, one green, green star, that's your contract, you're doing your job. Now turn around to this fellow is training, as I said, as nuts, as it is absolutely crazy, when it's fairly obvious there's a problem, but you're not supposed to report it, because you've seen all you could see, and you're sticking to your contract. And that's what the client gets. So the client is not going to believe that, they're gonna think it's a survey. And I also said, How's it going to be insured? And here it is, I think I might be rightly, I don't know, for a fact that all fell apart, because it was an uninsurable product insurars weren’t gonna touch it, because it…Marion Ellis:
It was like, Yeah, I think it was the whole sort of political will backing, you know, that side.Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
Yeah, I came up with this product there in 1991. And it's been quite successful.Marion Ellis:
I think the thing with that, and I guess we see this a bit with the EPCs, as you've got, you start off with a good idea. Because, obviously, if you're going to sell your home, understanding the condition of it, get in the best condition, so you can get the best price obviously makes make sense. So to have a an inspection report, survey, that EPC certificate, etc, you know, that makes sense, the difference, or the problem is when you lose the purpose of it, which is to help people and the fact that most homes are individual, you know, when you try to standardize something, you just then it seems to sort of just lose its heart almost. So. Yeah. What's interesting is sort of since then, because I did my dissertation on the Home Information Pack back in 2001. I've got well, I've got all the answers to the whole industry and on a floppy disk somewhere in my mom's bungalow in the loft. But what's different between then and now is technology. Sure, you know, we're 20 plus years worth of technology information that could really help. And so, you know, at some point, I'd love to see things change, and to see, you know, that being put to use because the moment as we stand here today, there's 22 weeks for on average for a sale.Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
This this product I talked about, which was pre technology, I admit, I just sat down one day, and I said to myself, Well, look, the property is the property, it's not going to change just because I'm talking to a vendor or purchaser it's gonna be what it is, it is what it it's not gonna change his spots as an item to be surveyed. It is what it is. So how do I then do an owner survey that is going to sound fair and balanced? So whether there are problems, the vendor understands it, or problems, but it's not like, oh, it's the end of the world. So I devised this building survey, which was no different to what I do for the purchases, were I am gentle, I say, look, there's this to be done. This is to be done. I might even give approximate costs of repairs all in plain English, it's not difficult to understand. But herein lies the rub. I then say to those who do have them, I'm doing one fun enough next week. I don't do many of these buildings. These owners certainly say called, but herein lies the rub. Okay, so there are problems, most properties have a problem. And I'm not talking about structural major problems, because they have to be dealt with. But it's a bit of rising devil, there's a bit of a bad guttering system at the back or whatever it might say, sell it as Seen, here's your MOT, you go to an estate agent, you put a price on the property based upon what you know you're selling, you show this survey as well as anything else sells, particularly to a potential purchaser. And the purchaser says, right, I'm buying this bungalow, there's a drain problem, this problem, you want this money, let's negotiate this contract deal. And whatever they do, go ahead, sometimes, then those might say, No, I don't want to do that. But quite conscientious. We'd like to get everything sorted. So we'll find that's not necessary, really. But if you want to do that, do that. And I'm very happy to come back and re-inspect it, and then put a cover and endorsement on the original report. It works very well, actually. It's about the money, it's the fact they have to pay. Whereas under the current system, as you say, which means that everyone waits 22 weeks where all the money spent by the purchaser and the vendor will get away scot free.Marion Ellis:
It's a change for sure. But I also think this just demonstrates to surveyors different ways that we can diversify and think about how we can use our work and skills in different ways. I want to ask you about your extracurricular activities. Because I know you've been involved in lots of different things. So you sold the business to have a bit more time to do your own thing and like you said, explain why you stepped back. What other things have you got involved with because when I heard some of this, I was fascinated?Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
It's just an interest, I have an interest in two geographical regions in the world. One is Antarctica, and another is Nepal. Nepal, I’m very biased because I've done some climbing in Nepal, whilst I was still surveying, and fell in love with the Nepalese lady who became my second wife, and she's here with me now. And so I've got to know the country rather well, not just the mountains, and I take a peek into the mountain. So my extracurricular activities I take people into the mountains, used to be a bit of climbing, but it's mainly high altitude trekking. So it's not a technical climb. But it's not just the ramble either. I do that every year, not since COVID, unfortunately, but I take people into the mountains. So that's part of my Nepali thing. But I also get involved in the humanity side of it, the human side of it. So there is a lot of need out there, in lots of developing countries, frankly. But it's very satisfying for me personally, in my life, to know that I got to know some people who I could help, financially Yes, but also emotionally. And I've adopted an entire Nepalese family, which has been my company, my family now since 2005. And I mean, I mean, seriously taken over, helping them grow, a family whose father abandoned, we're talking about the wife, not that she's my wife, but the wife was left behind the mum and dad of the father who's with Scotland, it was left behind for children, the age of whatever three years of age to 15. I got to hear this story, because the young man who was 15, who is now 34 approached me in the streets of Kathmandu when I was getting some climate equipment ready to my group going off to the mountains. And so it was in 2009, one thing led to another and I kind of shoved him away, was missing, money fell off. But there was something different, he was something different. Something I felt I needed to know a bit more about him. And one thing led to another. I met the family over a couple of years, and I've adopted them. So I have a double life in Nepal in the sense that I do a bit of climbing, trekking, but they also take care of people. And it's something I find really gratifying. It has meant that my pension pot has reduced substantially, but it doesn't matter to me. Now Antarctica is more of an academic interest, but I have trekked to the South Pole. And I started reading about the history of exploration, the Shackleton's, the Amazons, the Scott’s now back in the mid 80s, when I was transitioning from being in one company, this is Post University, I went to one company that had three months off actually, before joining the company that I eventually became the owner of. I had a three month break, it was 1985 I think I might have got that wrong. Anyway, I live near Cambridge, and I bumped into the Scott Polar Research Institute, which is part of the faculty of the job and faculty at university, and I'm a graduate at the University. So that kind of opened the doors as a member of the public mind. And I started reading the polar history and the archives, the real diaries of the real people, not just Captain Scott, but others. And I was totally, utterly taken in by that whole thing. And so now we are in 2022, many, many, many years later. And as a consequence, I've morphed into what some people now describe me as a polar history expert, which is rather nice. So I don't do it professionally, I do it semi-professionally. So I'm off to the Antarctic being the polar historian on various expensive cruises, if you like, that people pay good money to go down to Antarctica. I'm going around Antarctica twice, in January, February, March of the coming year as the guest historian. So as you'll be giving lectures about the history of Antarctica, and talking to people on board and having a nice free trip, which other people have to pay $50,000 for and I get paid for being there giving lectures. So this is another facet of my life. I also write, so semi-academically, I write a poll of journals, and that goes around the world every 18 months, there's quite a wide readership. For I'm looking for original items to write about and getting other guest writers about Antarctic history and what we've discovered about it, there's plenty of books written on this whole subject, but there's still new stuff to find. And I'm on various committees. And as a result, I run a very large Facebook group, both in Nepal, by the way, but also particularly for the Antarctic side. And the membership there is very, very, very impressive. The kind of people who are in this group, we're talking about all explorers today or adventurers, we're talking about the famous people, we're talking about progidies of the families of the original explorers, and I'm really, really lucky to personally know the grandchildren of both Captain Scott and also Ernest Shackleton. These grandchildren are just one of them actually my age, and another one's about five years older than me, and these are fascinating friends to have imagined. SoMarion Ellis:
When I hear these things I just don't speak to us is why I just love speaking to surveyors who just have different things going on in our lives. So you started to read these sort of polar stories? Have you been interested in climbing or anything like that beforehand?Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
No, I believe I look at that story my life, Marion, late developer. So I first climbed a mountain in the Himalaya, when I was saying 51, what 21 or 18. And I wasn't, you know, these are not elite climbers. I am very lucky to know one or two very famous elite climbers. But that's how it pans out when you're networking. And I've been to the Himalaya with one such I don't, I won't mention his name. But you know, very, very lovely people are very capable. He's a professional, he's a real mountain, I'm just an amateur. So I'm a late developer. But when it comes to the history of Antarctica, I was much younger when I fell into that when I started reading in 1985. So I would have been in like, 30 spaces that I didn't get to Antarctica, because you couldn't afford to get there, the only way you can get to Antarctica, apart from being a member of the British Antarctic Survey, or a foreign equivalent, or an academic university, which I'm not full time on academic full time, is to go as a tourist, and you want to go down as a tourist, it's not just an ordinary bus trip. Yeah, it's a fantastic journey. Don't get me wrong, it's just the comfort of being on a ship. And it's quite nice to get in a nice, warm bed at night when it's time to go outside your window. But I first went as long ago, as much later. So I got caught up in 1985, you might keep my interest, but I didn't get down to Antarctica until 1999-2000. So another 15 years on, by which point I was a bit older. And soMarion Ellis:
How did that feel getting there for the first time?Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
It was very emotional, because by this point, I read my books about the history, and I'm not a scientist, so I didn't go there. And science and glaciology, the global warming and all that, although natural beauties is so so extraordinary. That's what that's what we do over natural beauty. But I've got no expertise in any of that, you know, I look at a penguin, I can more or less studied the difference between them. But I couldn't tell you their lifecycle. You know, there are people with expertise who can tell you everything. But the emotional reaction was seeing the hats when Captain Scott, when only Shackleton just to give two examples. And there are many went down to Antarctica in the early 20th century, their men built huts to use as a base for them to then spend two, two and a half years, not just a couple of weeks, two and a half years doing their exploration work. So they built these huts, while they're still there to this day. And as a surveyor, kind of quirky. You know, I find that interesting when I go and see, to go and see a hut that has been standing for so long. And to have the history that's inside of it, you know, brought tears to my eyes really. So yeah, my first trip was very emotional, because I could almost picture the men inside the huts. knew the story. So I could see there was an anchor, for example, at one of these ups is a huge anchor that is stuck in old and it's stuck in the bay. And so people are tourists who knew nothing. So well what's that all about? But I knew exactly what that was all about. And that was the anchor from a ship called the Aurora, that a few years later, after Shackleton have been to this particular bay, there's a huge story about this ship being blown away in the store. And it's a short story about how the men survived and I can't get what I spent. I'll be here for another four hours. And so I was really emotional when I saw these things, because I knew what they were.Marion Ellis:
Yeah, I can imagine. How have you found your surveying skills and knowledge helpful in understanding this kind of work or history?Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
Not really. It’s quite a separate thing, that when I go into the huts, I don't make enough I don't go in often. For a start, you can only go in three at a time for seconds, you're gonna get there for 15 minutes at a time or whatever it might be. These are heritage site world heritage sites. These are hugely important artifacts. But when I had been in the huts, as a surveyor, I look at the way that the building was insulated against the Antarctic winter, I look at the archaic heating system that was in there that was almost suicidal. So as a surveyor, I can appreciate these things. But otherwise, my sort of understanding of the history of Antarctica is one the scientific and non sort of, if you like mechanical in the sense of surveying.Marion Ellis:
You must have noticed you mentioned climates, you know, notice a difference over the time?Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
But actually, you know, something is much more significant. Your comment you make is much more relevant to me the context of the Himalayas stuff. You're I've been into these high valleys, we're talking about altitudes of about six to six and a half thousand meters. So that's about 20,000 feet. That's high up, but I've been to these areas on a regular basis. And I see the valleys which are filled with gaseous as you can imagine pretty dirty glaciers. I'm always I was always surprised when I found that the surface of these glasses were brown and not white because in my mind that all white, well, they are white in in some parts of the world. But there's so much erosion going on with the Himalaya. The rocks are falling down onto the ice and basically you get what Around coating for like a dusting. And then the trouble is that that rock then absorbs the heat from the sun, which then translates down to the, to the flesh. But um, over the past 20 year- ish or so where I've been, in the Himalaya regularly, I've seen some dramatic changes, dramatic changes, I haven't been to the interior of Antarctica often, because that's a completely different ballgame. I will be getting there this time. Frankly, the last time I was in the interior of Antarctica as of 2007, 22 years ago, where you can see glaciers melting. Again, we've gone too long, because it's quite a fascinating subject. Antarctica is a continent, in actual fact. And it's covered by ice. In some cases, the ice is five kilometers thick. Can you imagine, think about that one, where the melting is visible is around the edges, where the sea meets the continent of the ice, if you like, and there's lots of ice will be called ice sheets and ice theories of ice sitting on the freshwater sea salt water, I should say, of the sea, so it's not LED. So when you come as a tourist to Antarctica and stand on a bit of ice, we think it's Antarctica, but actually is a huge kind of glacier here sitting on the ice sitting on the sea, and connected to the land, you get my drift. But you see a lot of that see a lot of carving of the ice. It's quite dramatic, especially on the west side of Antarctica, where huge lumps of ice you've probably seen in the news, sometimes the size of France. So they carve off a float off that north into the sea. That's happening a lot. Glacierology a fascinating subject. I'm not qualified, but I know enough. And you know, the classes are slipping. It's actually happening even more in Greenland. I haven't been to Greenland ever. But there's an ice cap. Greenland is much closer to you and I just melted the ice, the ice is just pouring out of Antarctica, Greenland. And it's the sailing team, the North Atlantic, once it fully desalinates, or partly the same way to the North Atlantic, guess what's going to happen. The conveyor belt system, which is a current of water, that is what we call the Gulf Stream is going to break down. And ironically, once that breaks down, all because of global warming, or because of the ice melting in Greenland, ironically, what's going to happen is as the Gulf Stream slips south towards Spain, guess what we're going to get colder weather in the UK. But you know, the evidence of global warming coming back to your point is very plain.Marion Ellis:
Having seen that, how does that make you feel about the work that we do, the way that we live in properties and things in the UK?Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
The technology side of things, I think it's terribly important that I'm one of these people who said, I'm not a scientist, I've read enough about the subject. And what you're going to be quite surprised about now is I'm going to tell you a bit Antarctic lecture coming up is Antarctica, whilst it's been south, because Antarctica was once part of a huge single landmass swimming around the equator, we call that Gondwanaland. But they did broke up to the kind of shape of the globe that we now see the kind of continents. So the whole time that Antarctic continent has been down underneath the world south, if you like, on four separate occasions over the past 55-60 million years, it's become green and tropical. That's shocking, isn't it? Does that tell you something? You know, we're finding fossils in the rocks of Antarctica that tell us that there were tropical forests there. Now we know from the ageing of the fossils, that was at a time when Antarctica was actually where it still is today. So for four separate occasions over over many millions of years, the planet has warmed up to the point that all the ice went both in Antarctica and the Arctic. That's shocking, isn't it? So now, the issue, a lot of people don't realize it's the issue and this whole business about global warming, and what we call the tipping point, and you know, all this stuff. But the issue is how much of the natural cycle that I've just alluded to, there's been messed about by human input on pollution since the Industrial Revolution. And every scientist that I speak to tells me that's been critical. What we can disagree with the cycle of a cyclical effect. And I say this effectively, twice, he said, but on top of that, we've now got post industrial labor, industrial revolution, pollution issue, and how much does that mess nature to a point where the cycle will will will just accelerate to the heating phase only and not come back to the ice to get my drift? I'm not a scientist to say what I think really about that, but the scientists I know are absolutely convinced that it is critical. And I'm prepared to believe the scientists really, if I hadn't have had the insight that I have from scientific friends University of Cambridge that I have, I think it would have been sitting on the fence on this and saying, Well, I think he could be cyclical, with a little bit of input from men. But my suspicion is that man's got a lot to answer for. So going back to the point, green technology is crucial, and it's something that's glad you mentioned that, because you know when I trained back in the 70s, and practicing then in the 80s, and 90s and so on, this whole idea of looking at how well insulated buildings are, we didn't come into anything, they were just say old as in Old English, there's four inches of insulation built between the ceiling joists. And we'll move on and talk about something else. But now I'm looking at the EPCs, as I hope we all are, when we do surveys, I'm looking at the EPCs, I know there's a whole debate about nodes as to how reliable they are. But I'm looking at the EPCs. And I'm saying, right, well, according to this energy assessor, the rules are poor in terms of thermal quality, the heating system’s poor. So I then know all this before I go on site. And then when I'm on site, going back to the whole point about bring technology, what do I think about focusing in on these things. So I'll talk about what I have to talk about, but then I will actually dedicate a bit of commentary to how to improve the insulation. This is based upon the EPC, but I do have some reservations about the accuracy of the six frankly.Marion Ellis:
So fascinating, we could have a whole podcast on all of this. But one of the things I think, well, a couple of things. One, I think the gap between understanding what's goes on globally. And I mentioned this frequently my survey on a wet Tuesday, Margate and how does what's happening, you know, to the ice caps, you know, that gap, how can that be relevant always seemed quite a big stretch. But I think we've got to concentrate on what we can do. So even from my part, you know, I work from home, I don't practice surveying anymore, I talk to lots of surveyors. But what I can do is talk about it and raise awareness, you know, my podcasts for this series that are going out, actually talk more about the climate sustainability, even of my ignorance, you know, to learn more, and even if we can't give all of the advice, and actually some of the people I've chatted to on, as I've recorded podcasts of late, they're saying that the advice we're giving might not be quite right. And we don't know it's quite right. But we've got to keep pushing forward, but even signposting and telling people, you know, here's the thing, here's some things that you can do, make yourself informed. But even the small things that we can do, you know, by putting better curtains up and not being more wasteful, was just to start, you know.Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
Green energy apart, that's a very relevant thing, of course, for the future of humanity, because we are talking about these issues. But actually, we have another sort of parallel issue. Now, of course, the energy crisis, and, you know, improving our thermal efficiencies in the buildings that we occupy, will have practical implications, not just for the global warming issue, but for our pockets, you know, it's quite frightening. When I look at some of these houses, I survey with little or no insulation. And think about now that the prices of energy of going up to where they're going, it worries me that many people who are especially older people who are in these houses, you know, they won't be able to afford to keep themselves warm. So, apart from making sure we're saving the planet, we've got to start saving ourselves a bit.Marion Ellis:
Yeah, I mean, I guess the problem is, we can think about the future, we've learned from the past, we could think about the future, but as human beings, we live in the now. Yeah, you know, and, you know, yes, this summer 2022 hS been hot. With a lot of us in the UK, that's been quite nice.Marion Ellis:
but it's how it's how it impacts people in the now. And I guess that's that that's the piece to get over. So honestly, Steve, it's been fabulous to talk to you. I know many, I know, many people are inspired by your journey and your work, but also the humanitarian side, I was talking to a surveyor recently, who's actually taking some, i think he's in his 50s, his children just left home. And he's thinking of going to Africa to do some humanitarian work. And I think if we can get an opportunity to do things like that, to share our knowledge to experience different things in life, more the richer.Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
What I want to say about that, if we're going to finish up kind of on this is that I'm not ever going to not be able to give to charity, and you know, to help Africa, as you mentioned, and this is fine. What I've discovered, and I have to say this with all sincerity, is that there's a lot of money that's framed in the third world which is not sustainable. Like better, the wonderful American three years ago in the mountains for years, when he wasn't in a mountain, he was 82. And it really was in a village just below a mountain and I was coming through and he was a Rhodes Scholar, and very nice fellow, and he wants to come speak to me because it heard about work. I did locally cut long story short, we're talking here about a man there was a Fulbright Scholar sorry. He was in touch with so many well meaning Americans who stinking rich, who wanted to help with work in the pool through him. And he dedicated his life, I can't remember his name, he dedicated his life to being effectively a fundraiser. But we're talking here about many millions of dollars. And he was at the moment I met him, he was on his little final farewell tour of all these projects, because he was getting too old. Right. And it was in tears when he spoke to because he's because I thought he'd be tears about wonderful things have been in, we're so glad to see what we've done has made the difference. He said, No, he said, all my projects are folded and said they're not sustainable. And it turned out, he was feeling guilty about having honest on his lovely, rich friends in America with a big heart to give their money to what he thought were proper causes. And they weren't the talent, but they were all sudden, sustainable. There was corruption, there's a lack of guidance, there's a lack of business skills within the indigenous population and stuff like this. And I just thought to myself, there's a real lesson that you go and throw money at, then it's not really going to change. And I know we've heard all this before, perhaps on television. But my experience about what I do is you can't change the world, you can't change in the entire country, you've got to accept that. What you can change the lives of individuals, as long as you know how to do it properly. And what I mean by that is not throwing money at the to actually if you are a 50-year old person, male or female in fancy doing something humanitarian-ish is go to a place get to know one or two people and don't know, obviously looking to give them money, because they'll take it and run away. But just get involved in people's lives without being too pushy, as I did. Find out what their quiet problems are because they don't do a broadcast and meet their needs quietly, and encourage them to grow with confidence that there is someone here to help you. But you still got to help yourself. So it's a balance, but to get into people's lives. And that's what I've done with my family in Kathmandu. And I'm very proud of it. I have to say, You know what, I went online and on my coffee, and it sounds very morose. This, if someone was to say to me, you know, if I was able to hear what's nice, important thing you've ever done in your life, Steve, I'd have to tell them looking after his family. And above all else, you know, because I've seen how things have changed for them. Now they're self-sufficient, which is incredible. But in fact, you've got some Rabindra I've alluded to was 15 is now 34. He now lives in the UK. It's a shame because I wanted him to stay in Nepal. And he did what he could. But he's living in the UK with a new wife, but he's sending money to his mother, to grandparents who passed away, and his children, or rather his siblings, I should say, and his own son. He has a son that's out there. And this is what I used to be on a monthly basis for years and years and years, to keep this family going. But now look, you know, it's taken a while. But now he's 34. He's now earning his own money that grew into understanding this is what I had to do. But I didn't want to keep up with this sustainability. Now, I'm not spending a penny on them.Marion Ellis:
It's empowering people.Unknown Speaker:
It’s the most satisfying thing I've ever done. I have to tell you that.Marion Ellis:
I love it. Absolutely love it. Steve, thank you so much for your time today. And I enjoyed it. And And also thanks for your contributions in the hub as well.Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
I’m a bit naughtly sometimes, it's just my humor. Saying I was a red one leader before joining. But that's my sense of humor, I'm afraid. I think you're doing a fantastic job in the House, everybody.Marion Ellis:
Oh, thank you. And you know, there's there's a lot of students in there as well, you know,Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
I've had to learn that I didn't realize that when I joined because I've joined rather late. And I'm really sorry. Because in the early days when frankly, some rather unusually obvious questions were raised. I hadn't tweeted that these were students. So I apologise now.Marion Ellis:
Yeah, not everybody likes to tell people that there are students, just Tech students.Stephen Scott-Fawcett:
That I know understand that because it's good, then they feel it. What I would say about students in this hub, isn't it fantastic that they have the common sense to get online and seek advice. There's nothing worse than students, so they're taking a survey and being to frightened to ask. So this is a good thing.Marion Ellis:
Steve, thank you ever so much for your time your day. Bye bye.