CHOOSING A CAREER / JUL. 20, 2014
version 5, draft 5

How to Become a Building Control Officer

Nowadays, more and more buildings are being erected. Owing to the increase in population, there is a rise in the demand of housing facilities, an area that is dominated by building control officers. These professionals ensure that building construction stipulations regarding disabled access, energy conservation, public safety and health are observed. The position of a building control officer requires an individual who has a deep understanding of these stipulations and is willing to ensure that they are implemented.

What do Building Control Officers do?

Building control officers also referred to as control surveyors or building inspectors work in inspection and planning teams in both the private and public sectors. They work with contractors, designers and architects to ensure that all the buildings under construction are in conformation to building regulations before seeking planning permission so that they can proceed to work with all the parties involved. Working as a building control officer, you are expected to:

  • Issue completion certificates and maintain records
  • Liaise with engineers, builders, architects and designers on planning proposals
  • Perform consistent inspections at each level of the construction process
  • Suggest ways to save energy and achieve cost-effectiveness
  • Examine and comment on plans for alterations, new buildings and extensions
  • Provide advice on new building regulations and construction safety matters
  • Carry out surveys and inspections of potentially dangerous structures
  • Write reports to approve demolitions

Salary

Building control officers normally work from 9 am to 5 am during the weekdays. Sometimes they are called upon during emergencies such as during an occurrence of an unstable building. Below is the summary of the building control officer’s median annual earnings.

Starting Officer

 

£21,000-£26,000

Experienced Officer

 

£27,000-£38,000

Senior Officer

 

£50,000

Source: natonalcareerservice

Skills

To serve well as a building control officer, you need to:

  • Have good understanding of the building regulations
  • Have a good understanding of the construction technical aspects
  • Possess good problem solving skills and be able to make quick sound decisions
  • Have a tactful approach to problems
  • Have excellent IT skills
  • Have excellent negotiation and communication skills
  • Be able to explain technical terms to other people
  • Be time conscious
  • Be able to work with team as well as alone when needed
  • Have good analytical skills
  • Be capable of understanding technical drawings

Qualifications

You do not need a degree to enter this profession. However, securing National Vocational Qualifications, a Higher National Diploma, or any training in construction, town planning, surveying or architecture is a plus. There is a significant recognition accorded to the degree programs recognised by the RICs, the CIOB and other professional agencies.

Even though work experience is not mandatory, candidates with any work experience through vocational work, job shadowing or placement in any related areas have a competitive advantage. It is advisable for these building experts to keep themselves updated with the recent building and construction practices and regulations. Even though employers provide building control officers with on-the-job training, they can still become chartered surveyors upon taking the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence which will enable them earn improved salaries since they will be able to handle a wider variety of responsibilities. Since they might be required to regularly move to different sites, a driving license is a crucial requirement for building control officers.

Career prospects

There is an increase in the number of job opportunities for building control officers in both local authorities and the private sector. With experience, a building control officer can specialise in a distinct field such as fire safety or still assume the planning and technical roles in various departments like town planning. As an experienced building control officer, you can also be self employed and offer consultancy services. According to the NCS, it is estimated that job opportunities in this sector will increase from 2,050,000 in 2014 to 2,260,000 in 2020.

This profession requires you to allocate time to office work and site visits. Since you are held liable for the outcome of the contractors’ decisions, you need to make sure that all regulations are adhered to. This position is ideal for those individuals aspiring to apply their expertise in construction safety to maintain high standards during the construction of buildings.

 

Image Source: Teara

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