Why did you choose Quantity Surveying as a career?
If I’m honest, when I left school I had never heard of a QS & I fell into the role purely by chance. At 17 (after I realised my forward defensive stroke did not make the grade and my aspirations of being a professional cricketer dashed) I had no real idea of what career path to take. A trip to the local Job Centre and next day I had an interview with a local Joinery Contractor (G.F. Interiors Ltd of Brighouse, thanks guys!) and the day following I was sat behind my own desk carrying out take-offs, making cups of tea for my manager and of course, photocopying and filing! Why I chose QS as a permanent career came a few years later when I understood the potentials of the profession and the variety of the role itself. Building sites, office work and being part of a team were enough to set the path forward. At no point all those years ago did I realise exactly how varied this role can be!
How long have you been a QS?
I started my QS career in 1994, so I’m well into in my 21st years being a Quantity Surveyor. 11 years in the UK, 8 years in NZ and now into my 3rd year in the Middle East.
What are some of your achievements as a QS?
Working on a number of major projects in UK, Australia, New Zealand, Qatar and now Oman….and educating the masses as to what exactly a QS is! I’ve lost count a long time ago the number of times I have had to explain what a QS is!
What has been a highlight for you during your career/studies?
Career: Being part of a successful project team that finishes projects on time and within budgets. Studies: Putting the pen down in my final exam; It’s hard studying and working full time, but it is achievable! Projects and studies aside, being part of a tight-knit project team forges great working relationships in and outside of the work place. I would consider the good, loyal mates I’ve made through my career as the biggest highlight to date.
Where/What have you studied?
I started my studies in the UK completing my Higher National Certificate for 4 years in the UK, then (after a long gap in studies!) completed the Bachelor in Construction at Unitec, Auckland (another 4 years), all part-time and while being fully employed
Would you recommend QS as a career to others? Why?
Notwithstanding NZ and the differing regions to work in there! A well-trained and well-educated QS can apply their trade throughout the world. Similarly, QS’s are required in the Construction, Engineering, Industrial, Civil and Oil and Gas sectors therefore the opportunity to switch from one sector to another is possible. The British Navy once had a recruitment drive with the slogan “join the Navy and see the world”; you could say the same now about QS’s! Similarly, you can concentrate on a Contractors QS, a Sub-contractors QS, a Project Management QS and a Clients QS……yet more options!
What advice would you give secondary students who are considering QS as a career?
Stick at it…..As a starter, many of my school mates earned far more than my first wage (£ 41 a week on the UK Youth Training Scheme) and there were many temptations for me to change career simply for a few more pounds in my pocket at the end of the week. Nowadays, it’s the opposite and I’m proud I stuck the first few years out. Once you are through your training and education, a good Quantity Surveyor is extremely sought after and also carries a very respected position within the Construction & Engineering industry. As far as subjects at school certainly Language subjects would assist with the formal / Contract / legal letter writing; Maths of course for the numbers. Other than this, it’s more about the course you choose post-high school. Both Unitec and Massey run specific courses for Quantity Surveyors and most other Construction / Engineering professions whilst Auckland University focuses more on the Engineering (Civil / Structural) professions.
Why did you become an NZIQS member?
I saw gaining membership of the NZIQS as a recognition by my professional peers. Membership of the NZIQS (or any other Professional or Chartered body) gives you the opportunity to meet and associate with prominent professionals in the Quantity Surveying profession outside of the workplace. These associations can generally assist with any professional issues or career aspirations you may have. In any industry, there is an element of “it’s not what you know, but who you know”, and being an active member of the NZIQS helps in this regard when compared to your colleagues who may not pursue a professional membership. In addition, during my time in Auckland, the NZIQS has a good number of events (both educational and social) which were well attended and enjoyable!
What do you get out of being a NZIQS member?
- MNZIQS gets recognition in the various industries within NZ and further a-field
- Continued education (albeit self-reading whilst I’m away from NZ through other member bodies)
- Good social events regularly held
- Opportunity to meet QS peers you would ordinarily not get chance to during work and outside of the work environment.