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Tea and a chat - Richard Herrtage, Stock Condition Surveyor

Category: testimonial, Flexible Working, Flexible, What Our People Say, Staff Testimonial, Supported Housing, PA Housing, flexiblity, remote working, COVID-19, flexibility, covid, surveyors, social housing

Testimonial

One of the newest members of the PA team, Richard joined the organisation shortly before lockdown. He joined us via Zoom to tell us why he is enjoying being out and about on PA's estates, and what it's been like to start a new job at such an extraordinary time.

What is your average day usually like?

I joined PA Housing at the beginning of March, so I only had about three weeks in the office before we went into lockdown.

My day-to-day working life should ordinarily focus on completing stock condition surveys, visiting PA's homes as far north as Nottingham and as far south as Northampton, systematically working postcode by postcode assessing the condition of our properties, their roof coverings, the age of their kitchens and bathrooms, and so on.

When I see that work needs doing, it gets included in the report, along with an estimated timeframe for completion.

I'd usually be out on my own, working on surveys, but I'd be in and out of the office, touching base with my team.

What has your average day been like during the Covid-19 crisis?

I've still been going out – but conducting surveys in the communal areas of PA's buildings and focusing on externals. I've also been helping with fire risk assessments and doing administration work, including confirming the facts and figures we have recorded are correct.

During the last few months, I've got to know some of my colleagues very well, as they've been supporting me as I get to know PA's systems. It's been a tricky time to start a new job, but I'm fortunate to work within a good team. I want to thank everybody for easing me into the role, and for helping me out when I'm sat there not understanding something.

My cats sometimes join me on our team video calls – apologies to the team for the view presented. My wife and I have two cats now, we did have three, but one died at the beginning of lockdown. As soon as the rescue centres open up again, we'll be there to get another cat.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned during this unusual time?

I've learned that there’s always a way to make things work. Big changes can happen all of a sudden, and it's about finding solutions. Upheaval can lead to fresh perspectives, and I feel that, although it's not been the easiest ride, the people around me have all managed to adapt.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I love the hands-on nature of my job at PA. I worked in the trades – as a general builder and kitchen and bathroom fitter – before I completed my degree in Building Surveying in 2007, and I found it hard to leave the practical side of things behind.

At PA, the job is very much about being out there with customers, and I like that. It's not an anonymous business – people want to talk to you and ask you about different things, and you're able to help them. It's definitely not a desk-based, box-ticking type of role.

Also, when the weather's been good, it's been great to be outside on PA's estates, getting a feel for the properties. It's not so much fun when it's throwing it down, though.

What would you say makes you unique?

My sense of humour is quite unique. It's a bit strange. Also, I'm a very methodical – I'm one of those people who really like systems.

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PA Housing

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