Unless you have invited Sharon Damon, of Goodwood, over to your house for a braai or potjie, it is not a good sign when she pays you an unexpected visit.
Sharon has been doing the job for 36 years and she knows her stuff.
If you’re running a business illegally from home – whether it’s a guest house or chop shop – she’s likely to be paying you a visit sooner or later to issue you with a notice for running foul of City by-laws.
Being a property inspector, like any career, has its moments.
“I love facing the new daily challenges that my job brings,” she says.
“I need to be professional and courteous at all times. I also try to be a person who makes a positive interpersonal impact on others.
“However, sometimes after showing empathy to a complainant by communicating that you understand where they are coming from and that you are trying to assist them, you can suddenly find yourself under attack from that same individual, which is quite taxing and stressful.”
She landed in the job after working in the administration office that supports the building inspectors.
“I have always been interested in construction and planning,” says Sharon. “My late dad was involved all his life in the construction and building industry and I guess this is where my interest began.”
During her long service, Sharon, 54, has seen a change in the way women in the industry are viewed.
“There is a perception that certain careers, for example building inspectors and property inspector positions, can only be filled by our male counterparts. I believe that any woman can be employed in these positions if she has the necessary qualification, experience, and skill to perform this job.”
If she had to choose another career, she jokes that it would probably be as the ultimate braai master.
“I love the outdoors. I enjoy a good braai or a potjie, as well as cooking and spending quality time with my family and friends. I believe that you must live life to the fullest; face those fears and regard them as a challenge.”
Sharon says you have to have a ballsy attitude to do the work she does – not everyone likes hearing that the lapa and braai area they just built in their backyard needs to come down because it doesn’t have plans.
“You must have an assertive personality and be able to deal with and manage conflict and hostile situations that you may face. However, bearing in mind that you deal with all types of people with different types of cultures and religions, you also need to be diplomatic and tactful,” says Sharon.