Have you thought About Becoming a Quantity Surveyor?

  19 NOVEMBER, 2018      CAREERS
Have you thought About Becoming a Quantity Surveyor?

Quantity surveying has lots of potential for career progression. Since the recession quantity surveyors are in short supply, and people with the right skills are in high demand.

It’s not too late to start your career in quantity surveying and there a number of different ways you can start your journey.  

What is a Quantity Surveyor?

A quantity surveyor is pivotal to most building projects and is instrumental in keeping costs down, ensuring value for a client. As a quantity surveyor you will be expected to be able to manage costs, calculations and figures and therefore, strong numerical skills are vital. Often acting between the architect and construction team, a quantity surveyor ensures that value is prioritised at every step and that timings and costs are met, whilst abiding to all necessary regulatory standards.

Qualifications Required

To be a fully qualified quantity surveyor you will need to have either a degree or a professional qualification accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). However there are a few different options in regards to achieving either a degree or receiving a qualification:  

Degree Route

There are a number of universities across the UK that offer quantity surveying courses, which when completed, will give graduates the ability to work in the field. This option can be flexible like all degrees; they can be completed part-time or full-time, but have the benefit of giving a professional qualification at successful completion.

 Postgraduate Conversion

If you already have a degree then you do not need to repeat the full process to qualify as a quantity surveyor. Many degrees, such as construction, mathematics and civil engineering lend themselves to being the perfect base for a career as a quantity surveyor. Irrespective of the course studied, postgraduate conversion courses are available for any degree and are a great route for those who have already graduated.

 Apprenticeship Route

If you haven’t yet got a degree and don’t necessarily want to go down the university route, there are plenty of apprenticeship opportunities for those interested in becoming a quantity surveyor. With a great background of training apprentices at Novus, we know that apprenticeships are a great way to get qualified without the debt associated with university.

Quantity Surveyor through Work

Not too dissimilar to working through an apprenticeship, one way to work towards the qualification would be to go into a junior role and study alongside this to become fully qualified. Here at Novus we always encourage personal growth and urge employees to pursue qualifications from these positions, so this could be a great way into the industry.

Donna McLean, Novus Quantity Surveyor

A great example of a quantity surveyor who became qualified from work is current Novus employee Donna McLean. Donna has been qualified as a quantity surveyor for 8 years, 6 years at Novus this month, and she recalls the reasoning for initially wanting to become qualified:

“I was actually working as an accounts administrator and was passed up for a promotion that I had been promised, as I didn’t have an accounts qualification. I then approached the director who had rejected my promotion to ask if I could train to become a QS. He thought that was a great idea. I then arranged to go to college on a day release to complete my HND in quantity surveying. I completed this over two years, then joined third year of the BSC QS course at Glasgow Caledonia University, again studying while I was training as a QS.”

Why Join Novus?

Whether you are currently a qualified quantity surveyor or looking for your next step in your career and considering becoming a quantity surveyor, Novus often have vacancies right across the UK for talented individuals. Here at Novus we offer fantastic career progression alongside a family values-driven environment, which could be the perfect place for you to take your next career step.  

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Being stricter on bad payers

BEING STRICTER ON BAD PAYERS

Neil Washington, Finance Director at contractor Novus Property Solutions, explains how clients and the industry should work harder to enforce better payment practices to strengthen the SME supply chain The obligation on firms to disclose their payment terms came into effect in 2017 but judging by the headlines so far in 2019, many industries are still struggling to meet best practice. The construction industry is not alone, yet the subject of late payments in the sector has very specific ramifications for its long-term health. You can see how the industry got itself into this state. Many of the largest listed contractors operate on extremely tight margins and must satisfy investors in the City. Paying subcontractors promptly can often fall down the list of priorities, either deliberately or not. At Novus we’ve strived to reduce our payment terms because of the issues late payment causes. We now take only 26 days to pay subcontractors on average and this puts us in the top five quickest among the industry’s largest 100 contractors ranked by Construction News, where the average time to pay is 43 days. We don’t have any different accounting methods or invoicing systems, it’s purely in our culture to pay our subcontractors on time. We’re a family-owned business and that plays a part in cultivating values like this. But the construction industry is a varied beast and each contractor has different internal pressures. In some cases, larger contractors will use cash which is due to be paid to their supply chain as working capital and without pressure from clients to change this, it could carry on for a long time. While late payments must now be recorded and published, more could be done to accelerate change. The issues it causes Main contractors and their supply chains have a symbiotic relationship. Paying on time and ensuring that subcontractors can maintain good cashflow means that they will be more likely to accept more work and do a good quality job. It’s also rare that a subcontractor will only be working for just one bad payer at any given time. This can so drastically affect their cashflow that they risk going bust. The industry faces a huge skills shortage and access to labour, particularly specialist skills, is increasingly difficult. Often these skills come from smaller businesses. A weakened supply chain drives up costs and results in longer project timeframes for clients. What can larger contractors and clients do? While most clients stipulate good payment terms when appointing a major contractor, very few follow this up during projects. We’d advocate a review of payment practice statistics as part of the bidding process and spot checks on payments during contract periods to ensure contractors are making good on their promises. It’s clear that public shaming may not be doing enough to push the industry and going against the curve like Novus has done can be difficult, particularly when your competitors aren’t doing much themselves. Direction from clients could initiate a huge change for the benefit of local businesses while reducing long-term construction costs.