Graduates in Construction: Building Surveying

Charlotte France
I didn’t consider a career in the built environment until I went to a careers fair in the sixth form. There was a stall about surveying, something I’d never heard of, but the more I found out the more interested I became.

I had a love of buildings from quite an early age. My parents used to take me to National Trust properties and I fell in love with all the different styles of buildings. A career in building surveying stood out, as I’m interested in how buildings are put together and how they function, and I knew I’d enjoy a job with lots of variety. I was doing ‘A’ levels in maths, business studies and sport, and I decided to apply for a building surveying degree at the University of Salford.

My course offered a year in industry, so my third year was spent with Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM). I got lots of varied experience, everything from renovating listed tram buildings to an arts installation that involved a knitted covering for a bus shelter!

In my fourth year it was time to start thinking about my career, and a family friend who works in the rail sector recommended that I approach Faithful+Gould. I applied to Faithful+Gould's graduate development programme and successfully got through the graduate assessment day, which included presentations, a technical interview, a HR interview and writing a report. I was lucky enough to graduate knowing that I had a job at Faithful+Gould's Warrington office.

I can honestly say that no two days are the same, and I really thrive on that.

Joining Warrington's team of ten building surveyors in September 2013 was an exciting step and getting to know the business has been interesting and fun. All new graduates from Faithful+Gould and our parent company Atkins go to a two-day London graduate induction event in September, where we do strategic exercises, games, networking activities, a group fundraising challenge and a social event in the evening. It’s a good way for the 360 group-wide graduates to meet and to get a sense of the organisation's scale – it's big!

In Warrington we provide a wide range of building surveying services. I can honestly say that no two days are the same, and I really thrive on that. There's lots of opportunity to work on site and visiting clients. In the office, I’ll be keeping on top of a range of services for my clients, communicating with them and with their contractors, maybe building on a client's brief, making sure they get what they want and that they can deliver within budget. As a graduate I am working closely with colleagues and getting support from team members at all levels - we're a very hands-on collaborative team.

This is such a client-facing job and I find that so satisfying. Faithful+Gould is very much a people organisation too.

I originally thought I'd specialise in historical buildings, but I actually found my interest lay more in the legal compliance element of building surveying. At the moment I'm working in a team carrying out over 400 condition surveys as part of a national commission for a well-known retailer. I check buildings to see if anything has deteriorated, any structural changes, and identify the maintenance needs. I'm also currently carrying out measured surveys and producing CAD plans to support the client's CAFM system.

This is such a client-facing job and I find that so satisfying. Faithful+Gould is very much a people organisation too. Colleagues are hugely supportive of my development and I get the opportunity to try out different types of work. The opportunity to explore various competencies and industries, to enable me to develop and establish a career route, is really valuable.

Faithful+Gould has a well-established and comprehensive supporting structure for APC candidates...

Of course the studying is not over yet! I’m working towards becoming chartered, which means passing the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). Faithful+Gould has a well-established and comprehensive supporting structure for APC candidates, providing us with an individual supervisor and counsellor, and a series of study packs addressing relevant competencies in great detail.

It's too early to say exactly where I'm headed, but I definitely made the right choice of career and company. I'd like to aim for a managerial role, but my first priority is to pass the APC and get some more experience under my belt.