A Day in the Life: Senior Building Control Surveyor

I have worked at East Staffs since September 2001. I am presently employed as a Senior Building Control Surveyor.

My role is to ensure that when a building is constructed it meets a minimum set of standards called the Building Regulations. These set out the standards for all aspects of a structure; from the ability to stand safely, drainage, the thermal efficiency of the building and the design of the fire escapes so that people can exit a building safely.

What is it like working at ESBC?

Working for ESBC is enjoyable in that I feel that I am looking after the needs of people in our district and am one member of a diverse organisation. I like the interconnection between teams as we all have a common aim.

What do you like about your role?

This job is a very varied one and I like that aspect of the work. It means that we can inspect small domestic extensions, large industrial warehouses and public buildings like schools all in the same day. I work as part of a small team and carry out site inspections on my own which gives me chance to be outside rather than sat in an office all day. This is nicer when the sun is out but we have to visit in all weathers and it can be a cold dirty job at times.

What skills does a Building Control Surveyor need?

A Building Control Surveyor needs to have a natural curiosity when checking works on site coupled with good people skills in order to check what has been done complies. The job requires you to enforce the legal aspects of the regulations and we have to be forceful at times but also try to resolve matters by persuasion. You need to be a self confident person who can work alone and as part of a team, dealing with a wide range of people with differing needs. I find that it also helps to have a sense of humour!

Can you outline of a typical day?

My typical day starts about 8.15 with checking my emails and pricing up quotations for prospective works.

I will then leave the office to go out on site inspections throughout the District at about 10.00 inspecting foundations, drains, floors, roofs, steel beams and completions. I will have about 10 visits per day and will have to climb up ladders and get in to foundations to check the ground quality.

I may get a call from the office to advise that I need to investigate a dangerous structure following a car hitting a building or a fire at a building causing a danger to the public and will have to arrange for the possible danger to be isolated from the public so no-one gets hurt.

I will then return to the office about 3pm and write up my notes on the computer system and deal with any phone calls, emails and enquiries that have come in during the day, leave about 5pm.

What is the most satisfying aspect of the role?

I find helping people to build their dream house or extension to be rewarding and working as part of the professional team on commercial projects is exciting. I also enjoy it when our section receives positive feedback on our customer satisfaction forms as this is recognition of all our hard work.

What are the frustrations?

One of the most frustrating aspects of the job is visiting a booked site inspection to find no-one on site and it being a wasted visit. I also find repeat offenders to be frustrating, where we have previously explained how to do something to comply and they decide to do it different as they know better!