Day in the life of a M&E Quality Site Inspector (M&E Clerk of Works)

Quality Site Inspectors are also known as Clerks of Works and they are vital on construction projects. They inspect and report on all areas of construction to help maintain quality standards, identify costly defects, delays and reduce risk.

Their daily duties can vary depending on the project, level of visitation and individual client specifications, so to give you an insight into the typical day in the life of a M&E Clerk of Works and to see what their role involves, we have interviewed one of our M&E Clerk of Works, Matt.

What does your daily duties consist of?
Under a MEP Supervisor role or site base Clerk of Work, I undertake many duties which vary depending on the project but typically include responding to Project Manager and Client communications such as technical submittals, technical guidelines and client specifications.

I look at commissioning programme reviews, health and safety items such as hot topic and risk items and review areas ready for inspections.

I ensure that drawings are uploaded that require responses and comments and I engage daily dialogue with the contractor and sub-contractor or MEP co-ordinator and identify on-going items that may be stalled but have an impact and level of risk.

I manage my daily and weekly calendar and plan duties around key dates and I always have a plan B to keep productivity on site moving. Before I leaving site, I ensure that all communications and site dialogue has been closed and transmitted to the appropriate personnel and is clearly understood.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role?
The key aspects for me are early client, project manager, designer, end user and contractor engagement and gaining mutual respect and having a clear understanding of the complexities and logistics of the projects, commercial restraints on the project, re-engineering and cost saving measures to be taken.

A challenge is to ensure that the dialogue with the site MEP supervisor is clear and consistent and to take a firm but pragmatic view to problem solving. I aim high, but I’m also prepared to listen to reasoning.

I try to be consistent and endorse high QA standards from the outset and identify at a very early stage construction risk, deficiencies and deliverables. Clients appreciate early warnings rather than late ones.

NEC 3 contract promotes open communications, talk first before sending an email or non-compliance communications, most contractors appreciate this approach.

How do you ensure that you are adding value?

I ensure standards are adhered to and I project and promote early warnings to deliverables that may present a risk to the client.

I also project and escalate planned maintenance and access requirements by the end user and I aim to provide consistent and accurate comments when called upon to review technical submittals.

A good MEP Supervisor/Clerk of Works should be able to demonstrate an all-round knowledge for the building services industry utilizing may skills which extend to project management, contract requirements, commercial understanding, Health and Safety, design processes, BIM modelling, infrastructure services, construction methods, structural methods, appreciation and co-ordination of fabric works, fire strategy, completion documentation, construction design management.

What types of defects do you encounter?
I supervise different work packages and trades. The main items and associated defects and snags which I encounter tend to be the co- ordination and installation access traps and hatches in MF ceilings and riser voids.

Other defects include the co-ordination of service zones and spacing in ceiling voids, supporting of cable in ceiling voids clear of tiles and access zones; sleeves for MEP services in general pipe work, cabling, fire emergency lighting; house entry infrastructure services gas and water seals at plant rooms and risers;  cleaning out of debris, cuttings to chambers, voids, ips voids, ceiling voids making a project presentable.

Fire Stopping, fire compartmentation inspection and sign off must be captured early and ceiling grid suspensions affixed to MEP support and plant. I also promote and endorse requests for contractors QA procedure prior to final inspections or covering up concealments.

To view the role of a Building Quality Site Inspector (Building Clerk of Works), please read our news article here.