A week in the life

Building Control Apprentice - Jess Reid

A week in the life of… Jess, an apprentice building control surveyor


In late 2022, having spent years working in recruitment, mostly recruiting Building Control professionals, I decided I wasn’t feeling fulfilled and needed a big change!


I knew of Premier Guarantee from my recruitment days, and loved the fact they had introduced an apprenticeship, plus I really had developed an interest in the construction sector.


Now if I fast forward to 2023, my life, and my family’s, has changed significantly since joining Building Control - but it was the change we needed.  


My working day is very different to early 2022. Whilst I still work from home, I am surrounded by so many great people and I get to spend time out on site as well as working from home. I thought I’d share with you a week I had lately.  



Monday: it’s site visit day! 


After I logged on at home it was time to check my emails and double check my route to site, before setting off to meet one of our technical trainers and my apprentice colleague.

Today’s site visit was a little different as usually I go out with a local Building Control Project Manager, whereas this day involved an on-site training session, but I was really excited to get out on site and put theory into practice.   


I arrived to the first site, where we had an induction with the site manager, who was very welcoming, before we head out to look at two different phases of construction. Phase one was at superstructure stage and phase two at substructure phase, so we really got to see a variety of work on site and even get back up the scaffolding.


After the first site we had a break and then travelled to the final site of the day which was a timber frame site with a really welcoming site team. The second time was my first time inspecting a bungalow, which was a great opportunity to ask questions. 


Once we had finished up on site, we said our goodbyes, and travelled home. I arrived home with an hour of the working day left, so caught up on any missed emails/messages and then wrote up the site visit for my own diary.   




Tuesday: team meeting, and contraventions!  


Tuesdays are a little bit of a mixed day, with a few tasks to complete and often we have our Building Control meeting.


I started the day at 8.30am, where I added my site visits to my apprenticeship log, and also to the CPD log as I am a student member of CABE, before catching up on any morning tasks I needed to do.


At 9.30am, I logged onto the team meeting where we discussed how the team is doing, ideas moving forwards, looked at technical questions, and generally I was able to get a really good overview of what the experienced surveyors were up to.


Once the meeting was wrapped up, I moved onto my admin task which is to check contraventions and correspond with clients. This is a really important task because it’s a requirement of the building regulations and on a personal level I learn so much from seeing what surveyors are finding on site.


Minus a break for lunch, this was pretty much my day. However, I spent the last hour of the day completing a course on our training academy platform, which is a fantastic place to find courses that will improve my subject knowledge in certain areas. This time I picked foundation inspections.  




Wednesday: training day!  


Wednesdays are great because I get to spend it with other apprentices and our technical training team learning about a specific subject matter.


This week it was time for ‘Understanding Construction Drawings’ which enabled me to learn how to do some construction drawings and to know what to look for reading drawings myself!

This tied in really well with my university work but is also a huge skill I’ll need for life as a surveyor.


The training sessions are informative but also encourage us to think for ourselves and utilise some of the knowledge we have gained so far. We finished with a little competitive ‘Kahoot!’ quiz, which we always enjoy despite it bringing out the competitive side.  




Thursday: University work!    


Usually on a Thursday I spend the majority of the day doing university assignment writing or getting some technical reading completed.


This Thursday I spent time on my ‘Construction Technology’ assignment, performance requirements of a dwelling and completed the day with some independent research and study around the upcoming topic we had.


As usual, members of the team were on hand whenever I had any questions around the work I was doing. I finished the day feeling like I’d really accomplished something and the beauty of having such a supportive workplace is that I have some time during the working day to get writing my assignments.   




Friday: time for University!


Friday is a university day which means I hopped on the train from my location in Lincolnshire, and travelled down to the University of Westminster.


I have an assignment due in so I used the travel time to get some of that drafted – makes sense with children at home and a decent Wi-Fi signal on the train.


I arrive at university and meet up with some other Building Control apprentices from other Building Control bodies and we check in to lecture one (Construction Technology) where we studied substructure and drainage. We then had time to grab some lunch before a 1-2-1 with our Building Control lecturer for our upcoming coursework, and then back to ‘Construction Technology’ for our seminar where we worked in groups to look at architectural details. 


After this, it was time to get on the tube and head to Kings Cross in time for my train home.  



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