Building Control Officer

Outline of Job

The job of a building control officer is to make sure building developments meet regulations. Issues they need to consider would include safety, energy saving, social impact and accessibility. They will use their knowledge of building regulations to give advice at the planning and building stage, working on developments ranging from home extensions to area regenerations, or even sports stadiums. Your decisions would affect construction budget and work hours, but if a building does not meet regulations you would be able to modify or stop development, even having the authority to order demolitions. Building control officers are also known as building control surveyors.

Daily Activities

  • Meeting with construction workers to discuss building designs
  • Using your knowledge to inform others of the best materials to use
  • Advising on energy saving
  • Advising on cost-effective methods
  • Inspecting building development from start to finish
  • Keeping records on building development
  • Authorising completion certificates
  • Authorising demolitions

Skills Required

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Excellent understanding of building regulations
  • Attention to detail and negotiating skills
  • Able to explain technical details to the general public
  • Able to understand building designs
  • Able to work with others and as an individual
  • Organised manner
  • Time-management
  • Practical approach
  • Competent IT skills
  • Excellent knowledge of the construction sector

Expected Earnings & Conditions

Typical starting salary is £21,000 - £26,000, with experienced building control officers able to earn in the region of £27,000 - £38,000. Those moving up to senior level can expect to earn around £50,000. Salaries will vary according to the organisation as well as individual experience and merits. More money is available in the private sector, with agencies in the south-east typically offering higher salaries.

Working hours are normally nine to five, but you may have to work on a 24-hour call-out arrangement. This would only be necessary if there was an emergency such as an unsound building. Work would be divided between working in the office and working on-site. When working on-site you would need to wear safety equipment such as a hard hat, and be able to work at heights. Liaising with an assortment of construction workers you would be working in a variety of weather conditions.

Qualifications & Experience Required

A minimum of two A Levels, or equivalent qualifications, would typically be required by an employer, as well as a degree, predominantly in the following areas:

  • Civil engineering
  • Building surveying
  • Building studies
  • Building control

The necessary qualifications and experience can vary between employers. Therefore, it is best to find out the entry-requirements for each position. Work experience would be valuable, as it would show you are knowledgeable of the construction industry. To attain experience it is best to send speculative applications to employers, or try at your local job centre or recruitment agency. There is more information about the qualifications required on the CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building) and RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) websites.

Additional Training & Development

A building control officer can move up to the level of experienced inspector after working in the position long enough and then possibly up to senior level. Positions are available with local authorities and private agencies, and with experience you may choose to specialise in one area, such as fire safety. Training is typically given on the job, learning from doing and other experienced colleagues.

Your employer will likely want you to work to some NVQs, as this will further your knowledge and promotion potential. Related NVQ qualifications include Building Control Level 4, and will deal with issues such as environment control and building regulations. There is more information about courses on the ABE (Association of Building Engineers) website, which also offers qualifications through short courses, as do the RICS.