Ray has notched up 40 years at Housing Solutions and still enjoys every day. “This is a job that never gets boring” he says, “you don’t know what each day will bring and it’s that variety that has contributed to the many reasons I’ve been here for so long.” It’s rare to meet people that have been in a role for so many years, so I wanted to find out a little bit more about why surveying has kept Ray interested and still smiling, for over half of his life!
It was 1979 where Ray started as an Architectural Technician with the Royal Borough of Windsor, having completed full time ‘Building Control’ studies at Slough College. After 3 years at the Borough he transferred into surveying. He has seen several changes across the local borough including the transition from two separate bodies; Windsor and Maidenhead to the RBWM we know today. Housing Solutions broke away in 1994 to become a stand-alone housing association and Ray opted to move with the change, so he could focus on ensuring that the standard of our stock was kept high.
Surveying is quite a broad name for several disciplines, Ray explains. However, you have a wide range of responsibilities when you’re looking after such a diversity of properties including residential, care homes, sheltered accommodation and some commercial sites. “My primary obligation is to keep track of our planned maintenance. Ray explains. ”We have a rolling schedule of care and replacement for our kitchens, bathrooms and roofs as well as the upkeep of communal areas. I manage these projects so will undertake a site visit to scope out the requirements, then draw up the tender. Once we have reviewed all the tenders, we present them to our Senior Management Team and if it’s a particularly costly job we must wait for Board approval. Once approved I will draw up the contracts. I will then arrange to notify our customers and meet with them if they have any questions and keep them appraised of timelines. Once the contractors start, I will also undertake spot visits to makes sure that everything is going to plan.”
Ray will also respond to any technical questions and offer advice that comes in via our Housing Team or the Customer Contact Centre. He works with the Royal Borough when our customers are awarded DFG (Disabled funded grants) and need advice on necessary changes to their properties once they have been visited by an OT. There are also unusual requests such as unfortunate incidents where he may have to assess damage if a vehicle drove into one of our properties or we have to repair cracks from subsidence. It’s clearly important to have good interpersonal skills as surveyors spend a great deal of time dealing with contractors and our customers. Ray also said how that as well the work he undertakes, he likes his colleagues. “We are a happy, supportive group who work well together.”
When Ray eventually retires, he has a lot to keep him occupied as a happily married Dad with two sons and one grandson. He has a wide variety of interests including military aviation, photography and enjoys playing badminton and football, but he says, “I will miss the camaraderie and daily challenges!”