Introduce yourself!

Hi, I'm James. I've been working as a Trainee Building Control Surveyor at Hertfordshire Building Control (HBC) for just over 18 months.

James Cooper


What qualifications did you have when you got into building control? Are you taking any more now that you’re here?

In 2017 I graduated at the University of Leeds with a BA Honours in Arabic and Chinese.

While studying and after graduating I worked on site and this kindled my interest in construction. 

Currently Hertfordshire Building Control are sponsoring my MSc in Building Surveying at the University College of Estate Management (UCEM).  

(Find out about LABC's building control qualifications.)

What skills do you think are most important in building control?

I think the most important skill in building control is communication.

Construction is a very dynamic industry; you work with a variety of construction professionals and members of the public on a daily basis and need to be able to communicate with each of them effectively to solve problems as they arise. 

What are your favourite aspects of the job?

There are lots of great aspects regarding building control.  

I find helping our domestic clients achieve their dreams and helping them and their team overcome problems on site very rewarding; and building good relationships along the way. 

Additionally, the role is never boring.

Building control offers a great deal of diversity, not just the people you meet but the projects you work on. It has a good balance of site and office work. I never feel like I am trapped behind my desk.

My favourite aspect has to be the team at Hertfordshire Building Control. I've really appreciated how supportive and approachable my colleagues are, no matter their station.

I have had fantastic mentors and training from the team as a whole and that makes my role feel much less like work.  

(Find a local authority building control job.)

How important is public service to you and how?

I think public service is intrinsically important to most building control officers and an essential value at Hertfordshire Building Control.

We have a duty and responsibility to ensure each project meets the necessary standards not just for our client but for all potential future users and members of the public and the wider community. 

You’ve recently been admitted as a member of CIOB. Congratulations! What did that entail?

Thank you.

The CIOB offer a wide variety of routes to chartered membership. After the initial review of my application I opted for the ‘Professional Development Program’ (PDP) as I had both some practical and academic experience. 

The PDP is essentially a portfolio of 12 units, each of which comprises of several smaller elements. You compile and evidence your portfolio online. 

This was a great system as I could see my progress bar rise from 0% in May 2019 to 100% in May 2020 this helped focus and push me to complete my PDP.

You are able to submit your individual units for review and feedback from your assessor. When your assessor is satisfied with your evidence, they then submit your completed work to the CIOB’s inhouse verifiers. Once your verifier accepts the 12 units your work then undergoes the final assessment.

I was fortunate that Hertfordshire Building Control and in particular my team’s Deputy Area Manager, were happy to act as my sponsor.

They provided me with many opportunities to fulfil the necessary criteria for the PDP.  

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years’ time?

In five years’ time, I would like to be in a senior surveyor's role at HBC and I have aspirations to move towards a more junior management role. 

Hertfordshire Building Control are very supportive and encourage their members to pursue opportunities and their individual interest.

As such, I have also enjoyed working with the Head of Business Development and think this could be an interesting avenue.

James and his beautiful pooch


Inspired by James' story and interested in finding out more about what a career in building control entails?

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