James Starr - Armed Forces

James Starr - Armed Forces
James Starr
Job title
Building Inspector and former Royal Military Police



At NHBC, we’re proud to support the Armed Forces Covenant. With more than 30 former service personnel working within our organisation, NHBC is proud to have created an inclusive working environment that values diversity and strives to give people the opportunity to use their valuable transferable skills in civilian life.

We spoke with James Starr about his career in the army and what it is like working as a Building Inspector at NHBC.

Introducing James

Before joining NHBC I was in the army for nine years and had a few roles after leaving. I have now been employed as a Building Inspector at NHBC for nearly three years, having joined in November 2021.

My spare time is spent with my wonderful partner and our beautiful two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. As anyone with a young family knows, with a little one running around you don’t get much time for anything else!

Why did you decide to join the army?

I always knew I wanted to see the world and the army gives you a lot of opportunities to learn skills and travel to new and exciting places. My highlights of serving were seeing the Bamiyan Buddhas, two huge statues carved into the cliffs of the Bamiyan valley in Afghanistan and going camping at the Pyramids of Meroe in Sudan.

How long did you serve?

I was in the Royal Military Police where I carried out general policing duties in Cyprus and the UK before later specialising in close protection.

Once qualified as a close protection operative I was deployed to the British Embassy Kabul in Afghanistan for six months from Oct 2012 to protect British Ambassador Sir Richard Stagg KCMG. Whilst deployed in Afghanistan I also protected Phillip Hammond when he was Defence Secretary and Teresa May, who was Home secretary at the time.

I was later deployed to the British Embassy Khartoum in Sudan for seven months from April 2014 to protect British Ambassador Dr Peter Tibber CMG. Upon returning to the UK I was posted to Chetwynd Barracks in Nottingham, before joining the Close Protection Unit as an instructor. I left the service after I was medically discharged for a lower back injury in 2019.

What did you do after leaving the army?

Leaving the Armed Forces can be difficult as there is no job quite like it in civilian life. Adapting was challenging at first, but I was fortunate to find a role in financial crime investigation working for Santander before later moving into property development through the Armed Forces transition to site management program offered by David Wilson Homes.

That was how I found myself in the house-building industry and it was working as an assistant site manager that I first encountered NHBC.

What made you want to work at NHBC?

When working on a housing development I realised that I aligned with NHBC’s commitment to quality and the aim of building right first time. This is something that was a big part of why I wanted to become a Building Inspector and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

I also appreciate NHBC’s commitment to the Armed forces covenant. It means a lot to me as a veteran as I believe NHBC can support service leavers and make the most of their skills. As part of my time here I’ve also had the chance to fundraise for Help for Heroes, promote the Armed Forces Circle and attend military events on behalf of NHBC.

What skills do you feel have been useful both in the army and in the house-building industry?

There are lots of transferable skills from the Armed Forces but the ones I would highlight are good communication as I think this is valuable for anyone in any role, as well as adaptability and problem-solving. These are very useful as a Building Inspector, both when it comes to identifying defects and when dealing with different people to try and find a solution.

About the Armed Forces Covenant

The covenant is a pledge that acknowledges those who serve or who have served in the armed forces and their families should be treated with fairness and respect in the community, economy and society in which they live. NHBC is a long-time advocate of the Armed Forces Covenant, having first signed in 2015. This reflects the organisation’s ongoing commitment to the armed forces community.

NHBC supports the Armed Forces Covenant

The Armed Forces Covenant acknowledges that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve. Our Silver Award recognises that we do not disadvantage service personnel during our recruiting process. We uphold a positive stance towards employees, offering flexibility to Reservists so they can fulfil their annual training and mobilisation commitments.