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A day in the life of a Registered Certifier at Barker Ryan Stewart: Chris Borg

At Barker Ryan Stewart, we’re proud to have a highly motivated and passionate team that works together to deliver infrastructure and create better outcomes for our communities.

Chris Borg

In our ‘day in the life’ blog series, we aim to showcase the work of our talented team and help you get to know the faces behind our projects a little better. This month, we sat down with Chris, a Registered Certifier and member of the BRS Board, to chat a bit more about what led him to pursue a career in certification and his pathway to progressing into a strategic leadership role at BRS.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what interested you in certification. 

I grew up in Western Sydney and after uni moved around a little through Newcastle then Norwest Sydney, and have now lived on the Gold Coast since mid-2018. My wife and I have 2 young boys that keep us busy, but in between, I like to surf and generally just be outdoors. 

My path to certification is a bit of a windy one. I sort of fell into engineering in Year 11 after the Geology elective I had chosen wasn’t being run, and I was faced with a choice between Engineering Studies or Snr Dance to fit nicely into my timetable. Anyone who knows me knows my dancing style cannot and should not be taught or learnt – so I chose Engineering. I had a great Engineering Studies teacher in Year 11 and 12 so I decided to study Structural Engineering at Sydney Uni.

From there, I did 5 years as a structural designer including some FIFO work in Central QLD and the Hunter, I loved the site work so I then did a small stint at the Navy base in Sydney but it turned out it wasn’t for me and I wanted out! I had hoped to work close to home and landed a role in the subdivisions team at The Hills Shire Council and really enjoyed my time as a development and then construction engineer in a fantastic team. At THSC, I cut my teeth on certification from a local government perspective. When I decided to move to QLD, Glenn and Garry got wind of the move and approached me to join the BRS team, it was great to be able to continue very similar work I did at Council but on the private side.

What does a typical workday look like for you? 

Any work day can be really varied for me, but it always starts the same – MY LIST! I’m one of those people that love a list, and nothing satisfies me more than a tick next to an item on that list.. and yes, if I do something that wasn’t on the list I quickly write it and tick it off.

Project-wise the list could be plan reviews, compliance documents review, certificate building, engineering referrals or assisting other staff by providing a review of their work. Non-project-wise I am lucky enough to be involved in the BRS marketing and bidding teams and sit on the BRS Board – so business development and strategic meetings are also likely on the list through the day.

Can you tell us more about how you progressed into a strategic leadership role at BRS?

I initially joined the BRS team in the Norwest office, with the intention of moving to SEQ and bringing BRS with me. When I made the move to the Gold Coast in Aug 2018 I quickly became the face of BRS in QLD – so I was the engineer, salesperson, marketer, networker, strategist and whatever else that was needed.

As it turned out playing those roles naturally led me to join the marketing and bidding teams at BRS and I became more involved in the operations and strategy of the business. When the BRS Employee Share Ownership Program then commenced I was invited to become a shareholder in BRS, and I jumped at the opportunity.

I was then invited to be part of the BRS Board in 2021 along with the Directors and Board advisors. I really enjoy the strategic side of the business and it allows me to play to my strengths in relationship building as we build our network of clients across the East Coast.

What’s it like being part of Barker Ryan Stewart’s certification team? Are there any stand-out projects that you’re currently working on? 

The team is great, really supportive and a good example of being more than the sum of the parts. We all bounce ideas and interpretations off each other all the time. As we work in a relatively niche side of civil engineering we regularly ask ‘What are your thoughts on this?’ and collectively we gain experience.

A standout project at the moment is Kings Forest – ~4,500 lots in NNSW that BRS are the Principal Certifier for. It should keep us busy for a long while and has a bit of everything to keep us on our toes.

What’s been the most memorable aspect of working at Barker Ryan Stewart so far? 

Some of the big projects have been great to be part of and have allowed me to work with a number of authorities and stakeholders which is always a good experience to look back on. It’s hard to go past the BRS Xmas parties and conferences though. The culture at BRS is phenomenal, and when we all get together it’s always a lot of fun.

Looking back at your career, is there anything that’s surprised you about being a certifier? 

The lack of knowledge of the subdivision certification system throughout the industry is surprising. Once you start explaining the system and the opportunities to developers or project managers you can almost see the penny drop at the opportunities it provides.

Finally, what advice do you have for anyone considering a career in certification? 

Hone your skills in plan and development consent reviews, but also be prepared to become a bush lawyer. The more across the legislation you are, the better placed you’ll be.

Want to get to know our team a bit better?

Check out our other ‘day in the life of’ blogs to learn more about our talented team.

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