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Jobs: Building for the future; GETTING INTO ... QUANTITY SURVEYING NAME: PAUL HARRIS AGE: 28.

PERSONAL: Paul's father worked as a site manager for a large building firm, so he has always had an interest in the construction industry.

This influenced his decision to become a quantity surveyor.

After achieving decent grades in his GCSEs and A-levels, Paul went to university to study for a degree in quantity surveying, and during his summer holidays he took a job in the offices of the building firm where his dad worked.

Following his graduation, the firm offered Paul a permanent position as a trainee quantity surveyor. He stayed there for five years, but has recently moved to a new post with a consultancy

JOB DESCRIPTION: Quantity surveyors, who may also be known as cost consultants or commercial managers, deal with the financial side of build-ing and civil engineering projects, making sure they are as profitable and efficient as possible.

Quantity surveyors work for building and civil engineering contractors, local government, the property divisions of larger companies, and consultancies. They are often involved from the very start of a project. They can advise on the potential of a piece of land and work out what they can afford to build. They may also help to decide on the materials and building techniques to be used.

They will present detailed information on all the costs involved, including labour and materials, and usually organise any sub-contracting of specific tasks to smaller, specialist companies.

During the building process, they will keep a close eye on the costs and progress so they can keep clients updated and ensure the project doesn't go over budget. They also deal with legal matters, including planning issues and building regulations, liaise with the architect and arrange for staff payments.

At the end of the project, it is usually the quantity surveyors who ensure all the final accounts have been settled. They may also give the client further advice on future maintenance costs.

Most of the work is office-based, although it is likely that they will make some site visits. In some cases, the quantity surveyor's offices may actually be on the building site

SKILLS AND PERSONALITY: Depending on the project, quantity surveyors can be responsible for multi-million-pound budgets, so mathematical ability and a good understanding of business and finance are very important.

A good knowledge of construction technology and costs is also a must, as is an understanding of the legal matters relating to new buildings.

Quantity surveyors should possess excellent communication and negotiation skills, and be able to work well as part of a team. They should also be methodical and logical, and ideally have some basic IT skills

TRAINING AND ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: The main route into the profession is through a first degree in quantity surveying or a closely-related subject accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

For most universities, the minimum entry requirements are two or three A-levels or equivalent, and five GCSEs at grades A to C. Courses can last three to four years, and many include a year in industry.

Graduates with a first degree in an unrelated subject can apply for an accredited postgraduate course.

Candidates with a relevant HND/Cmay be able to enter the profession as technical surveyors, and may then decide to 'top up' their qualifications either through distance learning or a day-release course.

On completion of an accredited degree or diploma, it is usually necessary to gain further experience before becoming fully qualified. To become a fully-qualified member of RICS, candidates will usually have to undertake a minimum of two years of structured learning, followedby a professional interview. Joining the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) usually involves completing a threeyear record of professional development, followed by a professional interview. Other bodies connected with the profession include the Institute of Civil Engineering Surveyors and the Association of Cost Engineers

EARNINGS AND PROSPECTS: Earnings can vary, but the starting salary for a graduate is usually around pounds 21,000.

Achieving chartered status will normally increase a surveyor's earnings and prospects, andthe average wage for an experienced quantity surveyor is around pounds 35,000, although some will earn much more.

There is a demand for quantity surveyors and good prospects for career progression. Some quantity surveyors go on to specialise in one particular area, while others move into project management, become freelance or set up their own consultancies

MORE INFORMATION: Try the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) at www.ciob.org.uk or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) at www.rics.org

CAPTION(S):

ON THE WAY UP: Paul trained with a large building firm after achieving a degree
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Aug 28, 2005
Words:764
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