Women in Construction Week 2022

11.03.2022
News
DBCP

This week has been Women in Construction Week, organised to celebrate women working in construction and encourage more women to join the industry. 

We hear from two LABC surveyors about how they ended up in Building Control and their experiences so far. 
 

Emily Bowman

“I did always want to be a building surveyor, but I didn’t want to continue with full time education, so I started in estate agency and undertook property valuation qualifications. I was lucky enough to be offered a Building Surveyor apprenticeship for a large surveying firm in Norfolk but at that same time I found out I was pregnant with my daughter and the offer was rescinded, despite wanting to return to work after having her. I stayed in property and then moved into construction with a large new home developer which really helped hone my technical and regulations knowledge but in the back of my mind I knew I needed to do some formal training. I had my second child, and my education took a back seat for a few years until I relocated to Suffolk. 

 
I had developed a good relationship with members of East Suffolk Building Control in my previous role in property management and maintenance and so when a Trainee Building Control Surveyor role came up, I took the leap and applied, not expecting any response. I presumed they would be looking for a graduate with a Surveying or Construction Management degree. To my delight I was offered the role and have been wholeheartedly supported from day one. Every member of the team has taken time to train, develop and mentor me in every aspect of the role. There are so many great parts to the job from seeing amazing projects come to life, problem solving and relationship building: it really is a case of the more you put into it the more you get out!
 
Working in Local Authority with flexible hours fits the responsibilities of a working mum perfectly: I have never had to miss a school play or rugby match, and I don’t panic if one of the children is unwell as I know I can work from home."

"I feel so lucky that I get up every day excited and enthusiastic for the day ahead."
Emily Bowman - East Suffolk Council

"I am currently working as an Assistant Building Control Surveyor at Buckinghamshire Council. I didn’t go to university after my A-Levels and was feeling a bit lost and lacked self-confidence. I worked in HR at a different organisation for a year before joining the Council within the Planning Admin team where I was doing general administration, document scanning and responding to enquiries. About a year later the Planning and Building Control Admin teams merged and I started doing the fee appraising and other daily Building Control functions. I decided I want to explore the surveying side and started to shadow a surveyor. About a year after that, I started my degree. I now only have one year left of my course.
 

Louise Collinson

Working in Building Control has given me so much self-confidence. It has really brought me out of my shell with my communication skills really improving since undertaking regular site inspections and talking to clients and agents. I love that I am helping break down the gender bias and the outdated idea that it is only men who work in construction.
 
Working in a Local Authority allows you to have a better work life balance as we can work flexible hours, so if I start earlier in the morning, I can finish a bit earlier in the afternoon. This is great as it allows me to enjoy my evenings and I can go to do things that I find relaxing and help me switch off like go to the gym or go for a walk.
 
There are so many transferrable skills including customer service, time management, organisational, problem solving and being able to work as part of a team. You do not need to have a construction background because of the in-house training/job shadowing and because of the knowledge and skills which are acquired through the degree.

Key interpersonal skills are good verbal and non-verbal communication including the ability to listen. It is also important to develop good negotiation and decision-making skills to help solve problems that may occur on site. It also helps to be assertive: as regulators it is important that we are informed, decisive, and trusted. Confidence comes with mentoring and experience.

I enjoy working with a broad variety of people from many different walks of life. I also love that I am making a difference – no matter how small it may be - and builders and clients are so grateful when you give them advice or help solve a problem they are having. This is what makes the job so rewarding for me.”

“I enjoy working with a broad variety of people from many different walks of life. I also love that I am making a difference – no matter how small it may be"
Louise Collinson - Buckinghamshire Council

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