A day in the life of a building inspector
Have you ever considered a career as a building inspector (BI)? It might not be the first role that springs to mind when looking for construction jobs but we’ve got lots of exciting vacancies for BIs across the country. Take a look at what Luke Gibbons, Building Inspector, gets up to in a busy working day in Milton Keynes...
Luke Gibbons, Building Inspector
My day as a BI begins! I check my emails and reply to a couple from my inspection manager and other colleagues at NHBC.
Time to hit the road and visit my first site. It’s a foundation inspection on two piled plots. I check the steel ringbeam design on the drawings and make sure the groundworkers have followed it. Everything looks good. The concrete is being poured at 11am but I’ll be gone by then. I have a superstructure inspection on a two-storey detached house next and there are a couple of issues that could take some time. While I’m on site, the site manager asks me to look at the footpath to a front door on a plot that’s coming up for final stage later in the week. The steps comply with Part M of the building regulations, so all is good. I record the inspections, including two reportable items for brickwork issues, and print them for the site record book.
A large builder site has asked me to witness an above ground drains test (STAC test) on three plots and I also have a block frequency to carry out on an apartment block. The plumber has set up the STAC tests, which are all holding. During the block frequency, the site manager mentions that she is keen to be considered for a Pride in the Job award, and would like to know how she can improve the standard of brickwork. I mention that NHBC carry out trade talks, which would help her to improve. The site manager is quite new but is keen to learn and starting out well; she’s setting the standards high.
A quick visit to one plot to look at the internal drainage. I discussed the foundations schedule for the next phase of the site with the foreman while there; it’s going to be a busy few weeks!
I stop for a cheeky sandwich and return a couple of voicemails. A site manager wants to know what time I’m planning to come today and an NHBC engineer has a query on a balcony design.
Next up, a pre-handover inspection on a terraced run of three houses. Two of the houses are fine but the smoke detectors are not interlinked in the other house. I can’t final this plot until the issue’s rectified. I authorise the Buildmark warranty on two of the plots but remind the site manager to call me back for the other one once an electrician has sorted the smoke detectors.
A pre-plaster inspection on a site out in the countryside where the plasterboarders are waiting to start. There are two lateral restraint straps not fixed correctly in the roof space so I agree with the site manager that the plasterboarders can start the majority of the plot but I’ll need to re-inspect once the straps are sorted out. On the way back to the site office, he tells the carpenters to go back and fit the straps correctly.
Stop for lunch and a cup of tea at the snack wagon. A few of the bricklayers from one of the sites are there and one of them asks me to run through the detail for vertical DPCs over bay windows. Back to the car for sandwiches and radio 2!
I’m apprehensive for the next site. I have a pre-plaster and a below ground drains test and the site manager tries to cut corners and push the boundaries. On arriving to site he informs me the drain test is not ready because the groundworkers have let him down. To my surprise, he apologises! The pre-plaster is spot on and I’m pleased he’s listened to my previous suggestions.
Pre-start meeting with a site manager who is starting a new phase. We discuss the NHBC risk guides for foundations and heave precautions. He mentions he is keen to work towards a Pride in the Job award as he has won many awards before. Noted!
A site has asked if I would pop in to have a look at some steelwork which has gone up but they have some queries on how the connections are to be made. I discuss the design with NHBC standards and technical department, who guide me through our requirements. I leave a copy of the latest technical extra with the site manager and also one for the assistant site manager, and briefly discuss the latest updates.
Back home, I put the kettle on, check my emails and return calls that have come in on the landline for tomorrow’s inspections. I plan the route around the sites before calling it a day.
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