Show House 'a day in the life of' with Oliver Pocock, Engineering Manager for Hayfield

July 8, 2021

This series looks at a typical day’s work in the huge variety of jobs people have in the housebuilding sector. It continues with Oliver Pocock of Hayfield, in his role as Engineering Manager for a number of live developments across middle England.

6am: My other half – Kate – is a teacher, so we both get up and out early, always making sure the cat’s food bowl is full before we leave!

7:45am: When I arrive at our head office in Solihull, I make my porridge, answer emails, and catch up on issues amongst the Technical Team and with other colleagues, such as queries with specification, architectural details and civils matters. I also make sure everything is on track across the six development sites I oversee from a technical perspective.

9am: I’m part of Hayfield’s Sustainability Committee and we have a hybrid in person/virtual 9am meeting. The broad agenda is driven by the Future Homes Standard, but Hayfield is now building its reputation on exceeding the regulations and delivering eco-friendly homes. Each meeting involves all levels of management, so that decisions and changes can be made quickly. With Air Source Heat Pumps and electric car chargers now being installed into all Hayfield homes, our focus is producing a roadmap to incorporate what we expect to be the changes under the 2023 Future Energy Efficiency Standards and 2025 Future Homes Standards. We discuss how we can meet and exceed the future requirements, as well as the implications these regulations and any transitional arrangements have for our upcoming developments. My degree (from the University of Birmingham) is in Environment Management, and I really like that this work is at the absolute core of our business, with Committee representation all the way up to Executive Board level.

10:30am: I get back to my desk and take a call from Simon Evans, who is the Contracts Manager for Hayfield Green in West Oxfordshire. It’s about the installation of a very large bronze plaque, which is being fitted to the old Water Tower as a permanent memorial to all those who served at the former RAF Stanton Harcourt airfield during WWII. Due to the old structure being newly rendered, I need to draw up a detailed fixing schedule.

11:30am: I leave the Solihull office and set off down the M5 to Hayfield Wood in Blunsdon, which is our first development in Wiltshire. I grab some lunch en-route, which also enables me to take a call from Justin Wiseman, the Site Manager for Hayfield Place in Silsoe, regarding some external works being undertaken prior to the next tranche of home completions.

1pm: I arrive at Hayfield Wood in Blunsdon to have a meeting with Swindon Borough Council about the 278 off site roadworks. I meet with the Council’s Clerk of Works and our team of groundworkers to make sure the scope of works is finalised and complete, so that all aspects of the job can be carried out within the agreed five-day timeframe.

2:30pm: I then have a meeting with Mike Sawyer, the recently appointed Hayfield Wood Site Manager, to look at the build programme and the internal technical details for the fit-out of each house. Other matters discussed include the planting schedule for the new woodland we are creating, the new porous road surfaces, and the soakaways that are being created in each back garden to deliver a sustainable drainage solution. We also check the critical path for the fibre connections to the 70 homes, in order to ensure the Ring doorbells and the smartphone apps required to operate the home heating and electric car charging are fully functional before handover day. While there, it’s rewarding to see a hybrid car being charged on site.  

6:00pm: The M5 traffic is kind and I arrive home to Quinton in the West Midlands in good time. I take advantage of the light summer evenings by heading out on my road bike for a couple of hours to unwind from the day.