Spotlight on.....July 2018

19 June 2018

SO Jul 18


Q: Current job role & Company:
A: Project Manager at JLL in addition to having my own company, Dawson Surveyors Ltd.

Q: Please give details of your education and qualifications:

Q: Where are you based?
A: Various sites throughout the UK and Europe.

Q: Please describe your current role:
A: Carrying out various tests and monitoring wear on robotics floors at large distribution companies’ warehouses on various sites throughout the UK and Europe.

Q: Please provide a brief outline of your career so far:
A: Starting my career in Local Authority as a joiner in the 1980s, I progressed to building surveyor at the beginning of the 1990s up until 2010, when I was made redundant. I worked on all types of public buildings, including listed buildings, schools, large mills and industrial estates etc. During the redundancy period, I secured a position in the Township Office as an Assistant Township Manager to help me develop and enhance project management and community engagement skills in a very highly political environment, working very closely with elected members.
I always missed building surveying so, after four years in the Township Office, I decided to leave Local Authority and pursue my surveying career.
Since leaving Local Authority, I have worked on a number of universities, schools, superstores, shopping centres, funeral care homes and listed buildings carrying out surveys, project managing and writing specifications.

Q: Have you worked on any unusual or high-profile projects?
A: Many of the projects in the Township Office were high profile and often reported in local newspapers.
Whilst building surveying, I worked on historic buildings and areas of historical interest and one that quickly springs to mind is the re-development of Cankey Ginnell. This is an historic passageway used by a grave robber in the 1800s (an interesting read if you want to look it up online). The wall had been vandalised and I sought costings to bring the wall back into its original condition. Working with the Conservation Officer, local heritage groups and involving the local residents and reporters, the area was re-developed to its original look. The Conservation Officer at the time also noted that the adjacent wall was a Norman-built wall, which made the re-build even more important in the conservation area.

Q: What attracted you to become registered as a member of the CABE?
A: After leaving the Local Authority, I obtained work through my years of experience in the industry; however, it soon became apparent that I needed to be recognised as a professional to be able to obtain more work.
I was encouraged by a Building Surveyor I met at one of the universities I worked at to become a member of the CABE, as this requires a level of competence which has been assessed and accepted against rigorous standards and is widely recognised as a professional qualification/organisation within the construction industry.

Q: Please detail your experience of the professional interview process:
A: Having obtained the application form and reading the guidance notes, the application was not as easy as first thought. After speaking with staff at the CABE, I was informed that I could refer to my Technical Report in the competences section of the application; however, I personally felt that I wanted to provide to the interview panel a greater depth of my experience which matched the required competences for the CABE. So, in addition to my Technical Report, I gave examples on the application form of many varied projects I had been involved in throughout my career, some of which I had forgotten about until sitting down and rattling my brain as to what to put against each of the competencies.

Coming home from work and working over the weekends to complete my application/Technical Report and getting the right information in the right order was hard work, but I kept at it as I had a deadline to meet and it would be well worth it in the end.
Fortunately, the staff at the CABE were very helpful and gave me guidance whenever needed, for which I am most grateful.

I also wanted to present my complete application in a format that would be easier for the panel to follow and it soon became evident I wasn’t as good at formatting documents on the computer as I thought I was. So, as a result, I included learning more of the technicalities of document formatting in my Personal Development Plan.
My Technical Report included two examples of projects I had been in sole charge of: writing the reports on how I approached them, providing detailed information on products I used, why I used them and problems encountered on site and how they were dealt with. If I didn’t know the answer to a problem I also included how and where I obtained the answer from. I provided a lot of evidence of what I said in the report in the appendices section.

After being notified that I was successful in being invited for the interview I continued to research in preparation for the interview until the interview date. Yes, I was nervous, more nervous than going for a job interview! The panel members were very friendly and understanding as they had been in the position I was in and soon made me feel a little more at ease.
Some of the questions the panel asked were based on my Technical Report and application form and, after spending the time I did to write them both, it wasn’t hard to provide my answers. I was also asked to provide details on how I would deal with certain situations and, through my experience, provided the best answers I could.

After the interview, the panel deliberated; then, they invited me back into the room and gave me the decision that they would welcome me as a full Chartered member of the CABE. Success! A big weight off my shoulders as it is stressful, time-consuming and a huge accomplishment.
The comments and feedback I received from the panel were very positive and gave me a huge boost to my confidence and made me realise that I could do it if I put my mind to it.

Q: What advice would you give someone considering professional registration with the CABE?
A: The CABE is a recognised professional organisation with many benefits and learning opportunities.
Knowing your subject, spending time on your application, Technical Report research and maintaining CPD is very important. Evidence what you say in the report as much as you can and, if you are unsure, speak to the friendly staff at the CABE who will be happy to help.

Q: Any other interesting information or comments that you would like to include?
A: Just thought I’d throw in a project which I unsuccessfully tried to revive, but is an interesting tongue-in-cheek read; ‘Hen-Peck’d Club’, also known as ‘The Ancient Order of Henpecked Husbands’, which formed in 1809. I tried to encourage residents living around Syke Common in Rochdale to revive the ‘Hen-Peck’d Club’ as it would be a great way to bring some humour/fun to the residents of the common.
Can’t think why my offer to help revive the club didn’t take off?!

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