We have started up two hotels from scratch. In other words, bought them as private houses, and converted them into hotels.
Conversion of a private house into a hotel is, take it from me, a bureaucratic nightmare. Both buildings were listed buildings. Therefore everything that we did had to go through building regulation approval, listed building approval and fire regulations approval.
Each of these approvals was then overseen by a different bureaucrat. Building Inspector, Listed Building Inspector an Fire Safety Officer. Plus a watching brief from the Environmental Health Inspector on the construction of the kitchens.
Now this would be fine if all these sturdy upholders of regulations deigned to speak to each other - unfortunately they don't. Take something simple like a do. Building regulations may say something about its size, the fire officer may then want it fire-proofed, very sensible you say. Then the listed building inspector objects to us making any alteration to the doors - "part of the nation's heritage"
So back to square one. If we do not comply with the fire officers requests then we cannot get a fire certificate, and cannot run a hotel. If we touch the door, we will have committed a criminal act on a listed building and could go to gaol. One would think that a compromise would be reached among the bureaucrats, but no, they each hold their own ground and say it is my problem.
The thing then gets more complicated when the Building Inspector ten wants proof that the doors will be half hour fire resistant. He announces grandly that we will have to burn a door and get a laboratory certificate to prove that they are. First of all all the doors are different, so we would have to burn the lot, secondly the Listed Building man will not let us burn the nations heritage in this way.
Weeks pass. We hold separate meetings with all three bodies, none will speak to the other. Each is only interested in his own regulations, not in the practicalities of the situation. Why is it that bureaucrats are never practical people. Nobody cares, I get crosser and crosser (which never helps with bureaucrats, but it is difficult to keep oneself in check when faced with such stupidity)
Eventually we manage to keep all of them satisfied, weeks have been wasted, needless blood pressure expended, and vast sums of our money spent on doing something that did not need vast sums spent on it.
And if you want to stay in a nice hotel by the sea in Cornwall, Corisande Manor Hotel, Cornwall
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