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Meet Jackie Mills

Jackie Mills / 16 Mar, 20

Jackie Mills works in our London office for our building consultancy department, we recently sat down with Jackie to find out a bit more about her varied career and what brought her to SW.

Tell us a bit about how you got into surveying…

My background is in marketing and I had reached a stage where I wanted a change of career. I always felt I was somewhat lacking by not having studied for a degree when I was younger, so at the age of 35 I decided to go and study. I struggled for ages as to what I would study, and whilst I was having a clear out and going through all my books, it occurred to me how much I loved buildings and architecture and I remembered that I always wanted to be a property developer.

I decided to study construction so that I would understand property development. This was at a time when the banks were throwing money at developers (before the crash of 2008). Whilst studying I realised that I would have to specialise, so I chose Building Surveying and at the time I had no idea about the APC or what becoming chartered was.

What attracted you to apply at SW?

I knew another Building Surveyor in the London office of SW, and so I messaged him via Linkedin to ask him what he thought my chances were of getting back into surveying (I had taken some time away to realise a business idea) and he said he would hire me ‘tomorrow’. Luckily for me they were actually looking to hire at the time. So I really just walked into the job. I was very lucky as I love it here at SW.

What is your favourite building and why?

I don’t have a favourite building but I was reduced to tears the first time I visited the Notre-Dame Cathedral. I was blown away by the fact that humans had constructed such a masterpiece using primitive techniques.  I also love Victorian architecture, especially the industrial buildings. There’s nothing like an enormous brick wall.

“Our office is varied and happy. There is always lots of interaction and joking with each other. I’ve never actually worked in such a harmonious office.”

Jackie Mills - Graduate building surveyor

Tell us about your average day…

I am not a morning person! Every day I pull myself out of bed, into the shower and straight to work. The commute isn’t too bad at about an hour. I usually get to work half an hour before the ‘bell goes’ and I have my breakfast at my desk. I have recently bought a new bike and it is my intention to cycle to work. One of these days!

My days are so varied. It’s why I love my job. I am out on site a lot which means I am not always sitting at my desk. I often get access to spaces seen by few, and this ranges from being on the roof of the Royal Exchange to inspecting a basement flooded by sewerage (luckily this is not an every-day occurrence).

My favourite part of my job is development monitoring on behalf of the bank. This allows me to see developments as they happen and is fantastic for improving my construction technology knowledge.

What’s one of the most interesting projects you’re working on at the moment?

I recently worked on a project which provided me with some great experience as we Project Managed repair works on a Scheduled Monument. There were a lot of considerations on this project from bats to bees, to Historic England, and the fact that it was a working site with members of the public to consider. I hadn’t worked on a project with Ecological considerations before, and I found it both challenging and interesting.

What social opportunities have you had at SW?

A lot of my colleagues are a bit younger than me and they tend to do a lot more socialising than I do, but we have gathered for drinks after work on occasion, and we had a really fun Christmas party this year. We tried to organise a day in the park in the summer to play rounders, but it never materialised. I hope they try again this summer.

Outside of SW & Property, what do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I’m quite a home-bod, so I enjoy just pottering at home, and I love gardening but I don’t have a garden at the moment. My biggest love is my three year old grandson who keeps me on my toes both mentally and physically.

I really enjoy taking photos and sometimes on a Saturday I get off at a random tube station in London and just walk. It is unbelievable how much enjoyment I get from doing this. No time pressures, no one to worry about, and I get to see some really beautiful buildings.

What three words would you use to describe SW?

Opportunities, Integration & Professional

You can get in touch with Jackie on 0207 851 2123 or at

To find out more about working at SW please click here.

Topics: Blog

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