Why did you decide to become a Surveyor?
- I was previously a carpenter and was fast becoming fed up with the building industry in general and being very cold on building sites in the winter. I decided to change completely and joined Anglian Windows as a replacement window salesman when that industry was really taking off in the 1980’s. I realised I enjoyed sales but not selling windows to people who really didn’t want to know. I saw an advert for a technical sales / surveyor with Rentokil, in their damp proofing division and felt that it would suit my knowledge of buildings. Got the job and the rest is history!
Can you describe your typical working day?
- I am not sure there are many “typical” days these days. However, being home-based, it suits me to finish up the previous days reports etc. in the morning and then leave after the busiest traffic period. A lot of my time is spent doing surveys, site visits for work in progress and pre-work site visits in the London area. If at all possible, I prefer to use my bicycle in London. On the days I am able to cycle, I either get the train up to one of the London stations and then cycle to appointments, or drive to Putney Heath or Streatham, park up and cycle from there. When I get home, I start straightaway on the reports for the day and also, catching up with the dreaded emails, contacting clients, follow-up calls etc.
Do you have an area of special interest within your role as Surveyor?
- A lot of the work I specify relates to basement waterproofing and that tends to be the most challenging and interesting part of the job.
What is your favourite part of your job?
- Knowing that a job has been properly specified, the client has accepted our quotation and the job has been properly and professionally completed without any hitches. I know! That is the ideal but, it does happen and although we tend to hear more about things which go wrong, they really are far less in number than all of the jobs we do well and correctly which we don’t hear about.
Can you name the 3 key attributes which you think make a successful Surveyor?
- Experience and knowledge
- Empathy and understanding
What’s the most useless talent you have?
- I seem to have a very strange sixth sense. Things happen which I’ve thought through beforehand. It is odd and it may all be purely coincidental but the rest of my family think it too.
Life is not all work. What do you like to do in your spare time?
- I like to keep myself fit and healthy so I use a gym, cycle and do power-walking. We have two allotments, which provide so much relief from general work and life stresses. Both of us have very busy and demanding work-lives and we work the allotments together. It is so nice to just immerse oneself in planting, growing and everything else which is hard, manual work at times but incredibly rewarding for the mind, body and soul. We grow many different types of food and pretty much keep ourselves self-sufficient in fruit and vegetable from May through to October / November. We also have two grand-children who live close by, so are able to spend time with them.