IBSEC (Integrated Building Services Engineering Consultants) specialises in utilities - gas, water and electricity - and related appliances. The company receives plans of buildings, draws on them the circuits and appliances, and forwards them for installation. After an interview and subsequent offer of employment, I started work at their Kingston upon Hull office on 6 November 2000.
Utility networks and appliances were drafted by hand on a paper drawing of a building plan, and my job was to copy the drawings onto the computer. The system I used, AutoCAD LT 97, allows each network to be put in a different layer, each layer having a particular colour and line style.
Site visits were another part of the job; however, I only made one while I was there, to Hull Royal Infirmary. I also undertook administrative duties, including photocopying, filing and binding.
Each project is assigned its own number, as well as its own folder(s) and space on the storage rack. The projects are listed, on paper, in numerical order. Furthermore, the information in the folders is arranged using an alphanumeric code, which is the same across all projects. Divider cards are used in each folder. When I was there, these were inserted as and when needed, but the resulting arrangement looked disorganised. I suggested they could still be inserted as and when needed, but in the places they would occupy if they were all inserted in order at the start; that way, each code appeared in the same place in each folder.
At one point, I was told I had been working too slowly. This, I explained, was normally the case when I worked with new and unfamiliar equipment. Furthermore, I realised I was using the CAD system inefficiently. Sometimes, I had moved or copied an object only to find I could have done the same to another object at the same time. Also, I had not been using the Object Snap facility (a tool that enables accurate selection of points without the need to zoom in). I made better use of the computer after that, and my work rate improved.
On 14 December, I was told I would not be returning after the 22nd, the following Friday. Two reasons were given. One was that I was ill-suited to a career in building services; however, I was better suited to such a career after six weeks of working at IBSEC than I had been at the start. The other reason was that I should be undertaking more challenging work; this, too, did not prevent them from employing me in the first place.
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