David Harthill is a Senior Building Control Surveyor at Swansea Council and deals with all large commercial and domestic schemes. He has recently passed the LABC test of professional competence.
David's journey in building surveying started when he was just 16 years old! Read his story in the interview below.
What subjects interested you in school?
Always enjoyed geography, art and mathematics. Not forgetting PE!
What were the reasons you initially wanted to work within building control?
During a school careers evening my dad and I listened to a chartered surveyor explain his role and the variety of projects he was involved in. This got me interested in surveying at the age of 16. After trying A levels, after only a month I knew I wanted to concentrate on surveying and enrolled in a Higher National Diploma (HND) in construction at the local college. During my four years there full-time, I had two separate occasions of work experience with building control (partly to do with my current manager, who was a building control officer that played in my football team). I loved my time there and it made me decide on building control as my chosen career path.
How long has it taken you to become a senior building control surveyor?
It only took me five years as I moved to a local authority to accelerate up the ladder.
What was the name of the course you studied at university and where did you complete it?
BSc in Construction and Project Management at the University of Glamorgan.
Are there any additional qualifications you needed to gain in order to progress?
Full membership of a recognised professional body – I went through an exam and interview process and gained full membership to the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE).
What professional memberships do you have?
CABE and IFE.
What's the most exciting project you've worked on and what was your role in the project?
A new build sports stadium holding 21,000 spectators – I was involved in building control inspections and also licensing the ground under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act.
What are your career aspirations?
To keep improving and developing my knowledge in an ever changing environment and contribute to making all buildings safe. I am very ambitious but as a senior officer there are limited opportunities now.
What do you think is the overall purpose of building control?
To safeguard people in and around buildings. To ensure that all buildings comply with the guidance within the Approved Documents and that all buildings are fit for purpose. We seem to now play a major part in the internal design of buildings to ensure compliance with fire safety.
Would you recommend others to get into building control via the route you took? If so, why?
Yes, my experience in the local authority provided me with a very good grounding in the field which has enabled me to reach my current position. The local authority supported me through my HND, degree and professional exams. There are very experienced officers working within the local authority whose knowledge and expertise is invaluable and I have learnt from these professionals to further my own career.