Nigel Jagger recently joined Bristol City Council Building Control after having served 28 years in Avon Fire and Rescue – 18 of those years within technical fire safety. See how Nigel made the move in the Q&A below.

You haven't always been in building control, have you? Can you give us a bit more detail on your time in the fire services?

I joined the fire service in 1991; I was an operational firefighter for 10 years stationed in Bristol City Centre. I was promoted to leading fireman in 1993, sub officer in 1996 and station officer in 1999. I then moved into technical fire safety where I spent the next 18 years. In that role I dealt with licensed premises, building regulation consultations, outdoor events, fire safety audits and prosecutions.

Do you feel the exposure that your previous job gave you helped when joining Bristol City Building control team?

I had worked alongside building control officers from the four unitary authorities that made up Avon Fire and Rescue for many years. In addition we also had close working relationships with many of the Approved Inspectors, so I had a very good understanding of the legislation and the suite of documents used by the building control teams.

What qualifications did you have that helped you get a job in building control?

In addition to the 18 years of skill, knowledge and experience, I am a qualified inspecting officer having completed the 15 week safety course at the Fire College, Moreton in Marsh. I hold a HND in Building Fire Studies, the Xact Level 4 Diploma and have the Members level in the Institute of Fire Engineers.

What skills do you think you've been able to transfer from your previous positions that have helped you in building control?

The most obvious is the understanding of the fire risk assessment process but also the communication skills developed over the 28 years of dealing with both the public and professionals in my various roles in the fire service.

What do you like best about your job?

I am still an altruist at heart and I like the fact that this role still allows me to help people get the best outcome. Be that from providing advice on fire issues, looking at the safety of large outdoor events or ensuring buildings are built in a safe manner for both occupants and firefighters.

Since joining building control what has been the most exciting project you have worked on and what was your role in this?

Whilst in the fire brigade I dealt extensively with outdoor events and sport stadiums. I have been fortunate enough to carry on this interaction, though wearing a different set of clothes. Bristol City Stadium, which was recently redeveloped, is holding its first series of concerts in the spring and I sit on the Safety Advisory Group representing Bristol City Council Building Control. As these are the first concerts held here since the football ground was redeveloped we have worked closely with our partners on the SAG and the stadium safety officer to ensure the events will run as safely as possible.

What is a typical day for you in this role?

A typical day is difficult to quantify in such busy times. I can be reviewing the fire risk assessment for a high rise block of flats, then casting a critical eye over a new build fire strategy to looking at capacity calculations for a pitch evacuation, rounded off with a dangerous structures call out. This is all mixed up with some CPD from the LABC website.

What were your favourite subjects at school?

That's a tricky one as school happened a long time ago, but I did enjoy technical drawing and chemistry, a bizarre combination. Being from the North East, football at games lessons was a blessed relief to studying.

What makes you, you?

Nigel at his taekwondo black belt grading


What makes me, me, is quite a conundrum. I joined the Royal Marines Reserves back in 1988 and now hold the rank of Warrant Officer class 2, I secured term time working whilst doing my stint in technical fire safety as my wife was working away in London and Edinburgh.

Which was one of the best things I have done? Three years ago I achieved a first degree black belt in taekwondo and was privileged to have attended the same grading as my 16 year old daughter who was doing her second degree black belt.