Work and study offer mutual reinforcement

The reciprocal relationship between classroom and construction site continue for a degree apprentice heading into the final year of her course, as she describes in the sixth article in our series


  • Charlotte Turner

21 November 2023

Young woman seated on sofa

In September, I entered the final year of my degree in building control, having successfully completed three years of academic study and workplace training.

In my final year, I am looking forward to developing my academic skills, producing coursework and written assignments and also building a portfolio of my workplace activity.

Logbook will enable reflection on work

One of my main focuses in preparing this portfolio will be keeping a logbook that reflects my experience, which I hope will be useful in completing my degree successfully.

It should demonstrate the project management, site inspections and other responsibilities I have undertaken in my job, and how I have applied my knowledge and skills.

I hope to document a range of both domestic and commercial projects, my input into these, and what I have learned while working on them.

Inspections ground understanding on site

Throughout the past six months, I have developed my experience significantly by attending inspections with workplace mentors on complex commercial sites, including multiple large industrial units with ancillary offices.

Writing the inspection reports for these has allowed me to develop my technical knowledge and consolidate my learning on site.

The experience has also been extremely valuable in reinforcing my understanding of key technical areas of commercial construction, such as fire safety and structure generally.

I thoroughly enjoy watching projects progress – seeing a building through from the initial stages to completion is extremely rewarding, whether it is a small house extension or a large industrial warehouse.

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Work reinforces construction technology studies

In August, I successfully completed modules in construction technology and in design and environmental science, assessed via two written assignments per module.

I particularly enjoyed the construction technology module as the reading and subject matter directly corresponded with my role as an assistant building control surveyor, covering topics such as fire safety, civil engineering, contaminated land and inclusive design.

Areas such as these where I can use in my work what I have learned in the classroom are extremely engaging. This contributes to my overall progression, as I have an in-depth understanding of the topic and the construction methods I see daily.

I can then in turn demonstrate this knowledge in written assignments, where we are asked to discuss particular topics in relation to a given construction scenario. I find these assignments helpful as practice for writing formal reports for colleagues and clients in future.

'My written assignments are helpful as practice for writing formal reports in future '

Design module develops creative skills

The design and environmental science module also covered relevant topics such as ventilation, moisture, sound and light, and how to manage these through design.

On this module I was able to take a more creative approach, as we were tasked to design a building to a certain specification and deal with these crucial requirements.

I found light to be one of the most interesting topics, as positioning a building and determining the appropriate locations for glazed areas can significantly affect users' overall comfort levels.

This module also allowed me to develop my technical drawing skills with guidance on the correct methods, and drawings of chosen designs incorporated into my final assignment. As someone who previously studied art and is interested in architecture, I thoroughly enjoyed practising this skill.

Although design and architectural drawings are not part of our job as building control surveyors, it is nevertheless important to understand how crucial and detailed the planning and design stage of a project is and the key role of certain elements.

Prospect of continued learning proves exciting

I am very much looking forward to beginning new modules in building pathology and fire safety this year, and working towards my upcoming assignments as I progress through the final stages of my degree apprenticeship.

It has been an extremely rewarding experience thus far, and I relish working in an industry where there are always new things to learn.


Charlotte Turner is an assistant building control surveyor at Assent Building Control
Contact Charlotte: Email

See Charlotte's series of Built Environment Journal articles on her work as a trainee building control surveyor.

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