Estate Contracts Officer, Gary shares his experience working on our estates helping to keep them safe and clean.

“As I come into a building, the first thing I check is that there’s appropriate signage. I look at the general cleanliness of a place and see if there are any repairs that need reporting. I’m looking for fire risks, checking corridors and in meter cupboards to make sure there’s nothing being stored causing a potential fire hazard. When outside, I inspect the bin rooms to check for fly tipping. On my next visit to the same place, I’ll check to make sure the things I spotted have been done. The inspections also give us a chance to speak to the cleaning operatives.

You try and multi-task as you go along. It’s eyes and ears all the time. We inspect the communal internal and external areas. I’ll make a note of anything that needs doing, take some photos then go to my office. My office is the van; I spend a lot of time in my van, not just travelling from place to place but doing all my admin too.

When carrying out my inspections, I try to see the areas from a resident’s point of view and how I would feel if I lived there. I would want to live in a clean, safe environment; I see that as part of my job. There are times during the day where you don’t see anyone for hours on end then you come back in the afternoon and it’s buzzing; there’s loads of people around. I was bought up in London where there were no play facilities, I find it rewarding to see the open spaces.

I’m conscientious I want to make sure that I’m doing the job properly. Our job is about making sure that standards are upheld. We do this by going out on a regular basis and monitoring for improvements.

I enjoy being in the community and around people. Obviously, this has been made a bit harder recently due to the pandemic. But I like people to see me out and about come rain or shine, representing the organisation.

I’ve been a caretaker, a porter, I’ve worked in schools, so I know the standards. I was a resident caretaker for about 9 years so I know lots about repairs and what to look out for. I don’t see what I do as a job, I see it as a service, and I enjoy it. I feel like I’m making a difference.”