Focus on: AJ Singh

AJ, Clerk of Works, at a building site

At Grand Union, we have three dedicated Clerk of Works, working in our Development Team. They conduct site visits, liaising with contractors, to ensure that all Grand Union homes are completed to a high level of quality, all safety precautions are followed attentively, and vigilantly reporting any issues that might arise.

With an identified pipeline of over 1,200 new homes, the team have their work cut out in the coming years. One of our Clerk of Works, AJ, has been at Grand Union since May 2021. In that short period of time, he’s made a big impact in the organisation, while also developing himself in his new role.

AJ said: “I have a great sense of responsibility in my role and am really enjoying the sense of purpose that comes with working in social housing. I’m still quite new to my position, so am learning more and more each day. I feel like I’ve been listened to and given time to develop myself, which has taken the pressure off, enabling me to focus and thrive.

“On a daily basis, I’m travelling across our operating region of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire, to a number of sites. I enjoy the freedom I have in organising my time, and the responsibility that that brings.”

A rewarding sector to work in; a rewarding organisation to work for

AJ has spent his entire career working in housing; it’s something he truly enjoys. From a background in the private sector, he’s eager to help deliver affordable homes. It’s something we’re driven towards at Grand Union, forecasting that 90% of our new properties will be affordable homes. By 2026, we aim to have delivered 2,160 homes for social benefit.

“Housing is in my blood. From my teenage years, I was working on building sites, and I don’t ever envision not working in the sector. One of my dreams in life is to build my own home – I just love everything about housing.

“I’ve spent the past eight years working for a private property developer – one of the largest in the UK. I worked my way up from a carpentry position, after leaving school at 16, to becoming a site manager. It was a great way to progress but, as time went on, I realised that the private sector wasn’t the best environment for me.

“We often liaised with housing associations to deliver homes and I was drawn the social aspect of these partnerships. It was really rewarding and that’s why I chose to apply for a position at Grand Union. I was delighted when I got the job!”

A small team with a big responsibility

At Grand Union, we’re committed to providing a safe environment within which our customers can live without concern. Our Clerk of Works are essential in delivering this, following a strict criterion which goes above the standards required by UK law.

“At each development, I check against Grand Union’s standards and report any issues. In terms of safety, this includes checking for clear and obvious problems surrounding our units, such as falls from height, walkway obstructions and fire safety.

“From a quality perspective, I inspect good workmanship – using National House Building Council (NHBC) guidance as a benchmark – to ensure good practice across our properties. This means that all new properties are delivered to a high standard of quality.

“Unlike previous roles, I’m able to see projects through – from starting on site to completion. By taking on fewer developments, I’m able to focus on them more and build fantastic relationships with our contractors.”

What we do matters: going above and beyond for our customers

Our Clerk of Works go above and beyond to fulfil their roles, often involved in projects to improve the community. This helps in Grand Union’s commitment – not only to build more homes, but to build stronger communities and better lives.

Recently, AJ constructed several flower planters for our development Sorrel Way, in Biggleswade. This will be our largest ever Extra Care scheme, including 93 apartments for social rent and shared ownership sale for over 55s with an identified care need.

“It was great to use my skills in carpentry in the Sorrel Way project. The planters will be used by children in the nursery opposite the scheme. They’ll learn about gardening, while helping to provide a beautiful area in which our customers can live. It was great to be involved in this job, something a bit different with a big impact on peoples’ lives.

“I’m looking forward to more projects like this going forward – it left a huge smile on my face and I can’t wait to see the scheme completed.”