A day in the life of a surveyor: Barry Rafferty

In celebration of National Surveyors Week last week, we interviewed one of our surveyors, Barry Rafferty about his experiences as a surveyor and working with Murphy Surveys for over 20 years.


Tell us a little about yourself and your role in Murphy Surveys

I was born and raised in a small town in South Co. Dublin. I studied Geodetic surveying in D.I.T Bolton Street from 1994 to 1997 and graduated with Advanced Diploma. Married in 2009 and I have 2 boys. My role as Senior Surveyor involves being lead surveyor in major survey and engineering projects along with the training of junior survey crews in best practice survey techniques and procedures in the field.


Describe what attracted you to the surveying world.

Originally when I began studying, technology was a lot less advanced. My interest in technical drawing drew me to surveying. Creating a survey drawing from your raw field observations took great patience and while being time consuming, was very fulfilling when complete. These days, huge advancements in technology has made the daily life of a surveyor a lot more economical and productive.


What do you like most about your job?

Would have to be the varied nature and location of the work along with using the top industry technology of the day.


What’s a typical day of a surveyor look like?

Early morning start, check over brief for the day’s project and any specific access arrangements. If anything is unclear, phone or travel to office to seek clarification. Meet survey assistant and travel to site, which depending on location, can be a very stressful part of the day with city traffic congestion. Sometimes meet client on site if they have any specific requirements. Carry out a good day’s work including lunch break which can vary from day to day, there is no set break time when in the field. You have to grab it when you can. When day on site is complete, time to go home and make sure equipment is charged for the following day. Generally speaking, field data from the day will be downloaded and emailed to processor.


What are your hobbies outside of work?

In my free time, I like to relax and unwind and, spend time with family and friends. I also like to play sports and travel when I get the chance.


What is your proudest personal or work-related achievement?

Proudest work related achievement would have to be my involvement in the construction of Terminal 2 & Pier E at Dublin Airport. This was at the time, one of the largest infrastructural projects to be undertaken in Ireland. We were involved at practically every stage of construction in various roles. To witness its completion was a very proud and fulfilling moment.


What’s the best memory you have since you started working with the company?

Apart from getting married and the birth of my children, my best memory is how Murphy Surveys reacted after the recession in 2007. We had a couple of bad years (everyone did) but instead of taking the easy option and downsizing, the Murphy brothers made a brave decision to continue with their dream of expansion and become one of the industry leaders. I am proud and glad to be part of the team for so long.


How different is it working for the company now compared to when you first joined, about 20 years ago?

Murphy Surveys has changed greatly from when I first started. Since I started, they have gone from a team of 10 or 12 working out of a small office in Naas to an industry leading company with over 250 staff, multiple offices worldwide and a wide variety of nationalities. Murphy Surveys are currently and have worked on some of the largest construction projects being undertaken in Ireland and the UK.


If you could time-travel to anywhere, which year would you go back to and why?

2011, this was the year my first child was born. To see and hold him for the first time was an amazing feeling. It was also a time when Murphy Surveys was recovering after the recession and there were lots of new and exciting projects.


What would you advise individuals who are thinking of becoming a surveyor?

I would advise anyone thinking of becoming a surveyor to embrace the technology available at the present time. The industry has a very different look to it now than it had 20 years ago. We can now provide the client with a wide variety of deliverables. On a lighter note, enjoy the summer weather but be ready and prepared for the winter also.


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