MARIE Ward has been appointed as Group Chief Building Control Officer at Down District Council.
Warrenoint mother of three Marie joined Down District Council in 2008 as Estates Manager, and since the introduction of The Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) Order in 1973, she is the only woman ever to be appointed to the position as head of a Group Building Control body in Northern Ireland.
She took up the Group Chief Building Control Officer post on 1st May 2011 and has responsibility now for leading the South Eastern Building Control Group and Down District Council’s Building Control and Estates department
Marie graduated from University of Ulster, Jordanstownm in 1999 and qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 2001. She has worked as a Chartered Surveyor in commercial practices in Belfast, Dungannon and Newry and over the course of the last 12 years she has gained knowledge and experience of the construction industry from a private and public organisation perspective.
Having worked as Estates Manager for three years in Down District Council, Marie has had the opportunity to work with all departments in the delivery of various projects. She will continue to work with all directorates in the development of the services provided by the Building Control and Estates Department.
In particular, Marie will be leading the project group which will coordinate and deliver the completion of the new Council offices and transfer of staff to the new administrative campus at the Downshire site, Downpatrick.
As the Group Chief Building Control Officer in Down District Council, Marie is looking forward to working in this diverse and changing environment and said, “I am looking forward to the challenges of my new position as Group Chief Building Control Officer and to the opportunity of working across the five local authority group: Ards, North Down, Castlereagh, Lisburn and Down district councils and indeed with the four Group Building Control bodies across Northern Ireland plus the Belfast team. I believe there are great opportunities for change and I would hope to build on the previous accomplishments of the Group.
“Also, with responsibility for the management of the Building Control and Estates Department in Down District there are many exciting projects taking place now and in the near future, and I will ensure the continued smooth delivery of these projects for both the Council and our ratepayers.
“Down District Council and the Group have serious challenges to meet in the near future in particular; the effects of the economic recession will require prudent financial and strategic management to ensure value for the ratepayer. I am aware of the impact the recession has had on the construction industry and in turn the Building Control Departments and I am looking forward to working with the Council Group to minimise the effects and develop a strategic direction for the future.”
Marie is delighted to have been appointed to this post, and encourages young students, particularly young women, to consider a career in the building control or construction industry, She added, “Local authorities are an equal opportunities employer but many people are still surprised to see female building control officers turning up on sites. I commend these women who have progressed in a male-dominated field as they are great role models for girls interested in science and engineering.” Marie would also like to see more women progress into non-traditional roles and as a ‘woman in leadership.