Getting ready for Christmas...

You better watch out. You better not cry. That time of year is almost here… and at Redrow that means a lot of work to be done!

I’m Jack and I’m one of three graduates across the divisions who are on a bespoke Technical programme. I work in the North West office in Daresbury near Warrington, as part of the design team. I too, like Stuart (if you have been reading the graduate blog), was fortunate enough to undertake a 14 month placement with Redrow NW as part of my sandwich year of university. This has put me in a brilliant position for my professional development, as I already know the systems which we use and also the people who use them. These systems are similar across the divisions but there are some differences.

Here in NW, our design and technical department is split into three sub-departments. These teams are design, engineering and project management (for larger sites). In Redrow, pretty much every drawing you see has been drawn by, coordinated by or checked by a member of the technical department, so as you can imagine, we play a major role in the build process.

As part of this work there is a new system coming out in the New Year called ‘Red Sales’. This new system will allow customers to reserve a plot in online. Whereas, currently the only way you can reserve a house with any housebuilder, you have to physically go into the on-site sales office to do so. This new system could revolutionise the sale of new builds, with Redrow the pioneer.

However, this does mean a lot of work for us leading up to Christmas. As mentioned previously all drawings are drawn, coordinated or check by technical, and this new system required all the necessary drawings to sell a plot. These include development plans, legal deed plans, technical plans, floor plans and elevations. Both the development plans and the technical plans are new for this system, meanwhile, the floor plans and elevations have to be visually formatted to be more legible to customers. There is one of each of these drawings for every plot on each site and we have a lot of sites, both live sites and up and coming. But it’s not all bad news; we’ve got until the end of January before it all goes fully live.

One of my own personal projects has been sketching up a layout for a new site, which has been great fun. When sketching a layout you are given what is called a pink sheet by the Land department. This sets out all the guidelines, rules and what has been agreed or what will be agreed with the land owner and/or planning authority. Some of these guidelines include provision for affordable housing, number of units required and potentially the housing mix – essentially the houses selected for that target audience.

Firstly using CAD (Computer Aided Design), I roughly draw up the plots to ensure it is drawn within the sites’ constraints and conform to guidelines and regulations set out in the pink sheet. Once this is done, print this rough layout (to scale) so it can be traced over. Once this is traced and inked up, it is scanned in and colour is added to the layout on Photoshop. At this stage you add in the surrounding Ordinate Survey (OS), North arrow and plot numbers. Traditionalists would say this is cheating and that you should sketch free hand first and then draw the layout up in CAD. However, this way you get a crisp sketch which can be sent off for planning.

As I write this, it’s December, the advent calendars are out and I still have not finished my Christmas shopping. For us in technical though, the turkey made an early November appearance. We had our department Christmas lunch in the local pub, here in Daresbury. All great fun! I sat next to the warm fire on what was a wet and miserable day. It was good to see colleagues in a different setting and all enjoy a rather festive lunch hour.

A bit closer to Christmas, the whole office took part in National Christmas Jumper day on the 14th December. Dressed up in a bright blue jumper with a smiley snowman on the front and sporting a very warm, yet strangely itchy Santa hat, I was determined to win the best Christmas outfit. However, we were all out shown by one of our lovely Sales administrators; Katrina, who was dressed from head to toe in a very festive elf costume. Later that day we had our divisional Christmas party and as a former student, it’s an event I look forward to.

A few more festive activities during the final week (Secret Santa etc) and we’re ready to enjoy a well-earned break.

2019 Graduate applications…
As we edge closer to the New Year, time is running out for you to apply for the graduate scheme yourself. The deadline for applications is the 31st January 2019 and the next thing to decide is what scheme you want to go onto; a bespoke scheme, such as myself, or a rotational scheme. Even if you are unsure whether or not to apply, both schemes offer you great opportunities to gain experience in the business. If you know what you want to do the bespoke scheme is defiantly for you. For example I did a degree in Architectural Technology and I had already done a sandwich year placement in technical, so choose to go into this field as it is related to my degree. If your background is more general with transferrable skills, then the rotational scheme is a great way to explore different parts of the business and decide where you want your career to go.

Good luck and a Merry Christmas to you all!

To apply for next year - click here.