Sunday, 17 February 2013

Visiting the Wierd & Wonderful

Surveying is a very unique career in terms of the places you end up visiting & Surveying, so below is a list of some of the more unusual/unique places I've been, can you suggest anymore;

Sorry to the assistant on this one!
1) Port Lympne Zoo inside the Lion enclosure (they'd moved the Lions into their smaller side pen).  Still kept me on edge during the work just in case!  As you can see they still showed a lot of interest so the pogo remained at arms length - it is only wire after all!!!

2) Port Lympne Zoo inside the Rhino enclosure.

3) Central wicket at The Oval - setting out the boundary, a little add on to the main survey of the site.  How could we say no to that little request outside of the original spec for the work.

4) Aldwych Station (at night with failing torch!), now a disused station used for training everyone one from Surveyors with a new track trolley to the police armed response units, and some big budget films (I believe 007 in Die Another Day (although not 100%), and Sliding Doors).  It was under the guise of work, wandering off the end of the platforms to try out the then new Leica track trolley.

5) Roof Walk at Lincoln Cathedral, as a little bonus due to the work done for the on going spire monitoring.

6) Chelsea FC Training ground - yes those specs in the distance were the first team, and that is all they ever become just random people in the distance despite the hope of a misplaced football needing returning!!  - OK the picture is not of the training ground, but I was working close to the main stadium recently so this pic will have to do.

7) Camden Town Coroners Office - what was in the black bag?

8) Charing Crematorium - with behind the scenes tour, which was surprisingly interesting even if a little morbid.

There are many other locations I have been that most people in the general public don't have access to such as wandering down the runways of Heathrow & Stansted airports in the middle of the night (I was supposed to be there), inside the Tower of London carrying out a measured building survey, or walking along the tracks at the Eurotunnel terminal at Cheriton, even walking over the arches at Dover harbour - you know the ones at the ferry on ramps right at the waters edge.  They get very windy at the top!

Everyone has their stories, and in 13 years I have accumulated a fair few across five different Survey firms.  I'm sure the bigger the company the more obscure/prestigious the jobs - do you have anywhere different work has taken you?

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Friday, 1 February 2013

Surveyors don't forget.......

A good assistant (or even a bad one but for totally different reasons!)

Since using one man kit I have started to really appreciate the benefits of a good assistant (and been glad of the freedom from some bad ones)!!!  So here is my personal tribute to the better assistants to have been honoured to be trained by me (I use the terms honoured & trained very loosely).  These are my top five in no particular order, but as a tradition ladies first:-

Alyson (Yogurt Spiller) Bell (2001).  

One of the many work experience students who I have worked with, she spent the best part of four months working in our office being taught the 'proper' way to do things.  Not once was there a complaint, quick to learn, & eager to ask questions, perhaps a little to comfortable at the end making jokes about her Surveyor but I'll let that one slip.  Current where abouts unknown, but I'd love to find out.

Leanne (Far too short) Cochrane (2007-2012).  

A full time trainee Surveyor graduating to a fully fledged Surveyor.  Beyond her height she gave as good as she got in a very male office, eager to learn & ask questions, and generally had her mind on the job.  Currently Surveyor/Geospatial Manager(!) with Dover Harbour Board

Chris (Pretty Boy) Holley (2005-2012).

Started with the same employer within a month of each other, and left within a matter of months.  Joined the company as a raw recruit, and left a fully paid member of the Surveying fraternity, now having moved on he is fulfilling the potential he was never allowed to explore before.  Best without a safety net, and prospering as a result.  Currently Survey Manager at Bovis Homes

Matt (What did your Mum feed you) Bolton (2002).

Another work experience student, far too tall for his own good and made me appreciate the problems of being vertically challenged when taking over the instrument work!  Current career and whereabouts unknown, but I'd love to find out.

Matt (Moaning) Morgan (2005 - 2010)

Similar to Chris started around the same time, but left a little earlier to following his calling to travel & become a holiday rep.  Arguably his dream job, but as a Surveyor he could have been very good if his mind stayed on the job and didn't rise to the banter hence his inclusion.  Currently repping in Southern Spain (I think?)

This little exercise got me thinking since I started Surveying at the end of the last Millenia(!) I have counted 35 separate Survey Assistants, and that doesn't include time when I used to work in teams of two Surveyors!  Survey Assistants are the life blood of Surveying, the future we all need to support and help grow - however the advent of modern technology and the ever increasing squeeze on costs means an Assistant is a luxury many of us can't afford.  The latest robotic equipment is amazing, but it doesn't afford the time to train new staff especially for the smaller firms.  University & college courses do provide a good foundation but there is no replacement for on the job training and apprenticeship schemes for Surveyors are few and far between, and during my quick browse no such schemes existed in the South East - the search continues........

Note from Beccy:  No Mike, it is NOT acceptable to do a similar blog naming and shaming the rubbish assistants!!