Building properties is a journey from the purchase of the land to the seeking of permission to build the desired properties to the starting of works on site and the separate trades attending site and following a plan of works linked to the phase roll out of the development. Experienced developers have a raft of qualified staff who take control of this process to get the site ready to start.
Crucial to any development is the role of a Clerk of Works. These persons are experienced in construction and are effectively technically trained inspectors who oversee the quality and safety of work on a building site and ensure that the buildings are being erected to the approved plans and specifications. They are responsible for keeping detailed records of progress which includes and reporting back to the senior managers or clients advising them of any issues regarding breaches of Health and Safety legislation, quality checking of works and materials used along with material storage on site. Their role is not to judge but simply report all occurrences that are relevant to role.
The site set up demands the ground to be cleared of all vegetation, storing any material to be used again in safe areas such as top soil. The site is secured and a safe access point is created to allow the various persons required to be on site and will also include the setting up of an office hub, provision of utilities such as water and electricity, welfare facilities and the installation of office equipment and drawings, safety equipment and specified safe storage areas for materials being delivered to site. This will include a suitably trained person or persons to be posted at the gate to accept deliveries and ensure staff on site are signing in, the location of where they are working and signing out when leaving site in the event an emergency situation arises.
Being employed by the Developer or in some cases the Social Housing company who are purchasing units on the site the Clerk of Works will be scheduled to attend site attend site as soon as the groundworkers start to set out the site and excavate the foundations in order to be ready to work with the Building control team and Warranty inspectors to ensure all processes are correctly overseen.
As the development progresses there will be a Clerk of Works on site visiting the units being built and recording every aspect of the build process, photographing progress along with any areas of concern or defects they have identified which will need resolving by the relevant trade operatives. This process is a long one on average taking about seven months to build a house however this could be longer dependant on the weather as in some cases our inclement weather can cause delays and hold ups due to the conditions required for example mortar being laid and Health and Safety legislation. The Clerk of works will work with the Build Control Inspector and warranty provider to oversee the completion and authorisation of each stage of construction therefore ensuring sign off and defects identified are resolved before the next stage is started. Upon the unit being completed to all technical staff satisfaction it will be handed over to the Sales team or owner if the unit has been purchased by a Housing association for occupation or sale.
This role can be a very isolated and the above description is just highlighting the main factors however the Clerk of Works role is no means unqualified with many being members of the Institution of the Clerk of Works Inspectorate of Great Britain. Further information can be gained from their website www. https://www.icwci.org/.