Building inspector job

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Colin Murray is a team leader with a council's property services department. His job involves making sure that council-owned buildings are safe and well maintained.

What does your building inspector job involve?

I am responsible for the maintenance of seven school and social work properties. I manage contracts worth up to £25,000. They can include anything from repairing a dripping tap to re-surfacing a school playground.

How do you make sure all the buildingsare maintained?

Every month I visit the properties that I look after. I talk to the manager who keeps a register detailing non-urgent work that needs to be done. Items on the list can range from decorating or re-carpeting a room to easing a sticking door or replacing a washer on a tap. I look at the job, decide what needs to be done and establish what materials will be needed.

How is the job done?

Once I pick up the order, I must make sure that the job is done within four weeks. Back in the office, I raise an order for the work, together with an estimate of costs, which is sent to the contractor who will carry out the work. I liaise with the contractor, making sure they know all the relevant facts like how operatives can gain access to the building.

Do you deal with urgent repairs?

Yes. When emergency repairs are needed, especially where it affects health and safety, we may need to close the building. We work to a timetable that buildings must be made safe within four hours.

Do you have to be on-call?

I am on call one week a month for a threemonth period. This means that a manager can call me on my mobile at any time of the day or night if there is an emergency. I need to decide what needs to be done and call the contractor to fix it.

We do on-call duties on a rota system, so once the three months are over, I probably won't be on call again for two years.

What else do you do?

My specialist trade is painting and decorating. If one of my colleagues looks after a property that needs a large painting and decorating job, they will ask me to measure and cost it and deal with the contractors. Other colleagues specialise in different trades, so, for example, I would pass on any large rewiring job in one of my properties to my colleague who specialises in electrical work.

Do you spend much time driving between properties?

On average I drive about 20 or 30 miles a day, but because traffic in the city is so slow, I could spend up to three hours a day in the car.

What skills do you need for a building inspector job?

You must like working with people, as the job is much easier if you build good relationships with building managers and contractors. Good communications skills are also important. You should have a logical mind and be able to deal with several projects at the same time.

Colin's route to his building inspector job

  • Highers (A Levels in England and Wales).
  • Modern Apprenticeship as a painter and decorator.
  • Present job.
  • On-job courses on computer skills and risk assessment.

Colin's building inspector tips

  • Numeracy and computer skills are important in this work.
  • This is not the sort of career you would enter straight from school.
  • You need several years' work in building or a similar trade before starting this work.

Building inspector related jobs

Salary of a building inspector

  • Starting salary for new entrants is around £17,800, rising to £23,000 with experience.

How to become a building inspector

  • To be a building inspector it is essential to have had experience of directing contractors, and technical staff, building and site supervisory work, construction services and maintenance techniques as well as trades and crafts or building surveying/ building services. It is useful to have had experience in a commercial construction environment.
  • You need a professional qualification, in building construction/surveying or services engineering/maintenance techniques.
  • You will be expected to undertake further professional training to update skills and knowledge in new building regulations.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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