Graduates in Construction: Quantity Surveying

Chris Bond
I joined the quantity surveying pathway in Faithful+Gould’s graduate development programme in September 2013.

I hadn't always wanted to be a quantity surveyor – actually I was headed for a quite different career during my degree in product design at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. I had an insight into the built environment industries though, as my dad is an electrical contractor and I'd been helping him part-time since my early teens. I'd always found construction and property development really interesting, so after my first degree I applied for the quantity surveying MSc at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. It was a very intensive and fast-paced course with a lot to cover in just one year. The second semester included a four week industrial placement and a friend recommended that I approach Faithful+Gould's Edinburgh office.

It was a great placement and I got the chance to get stuck in to an interesting hotel commission with Marriott. This gave me exposure on a good-sized project, a useful insight into what it’s like to be a quantity surveyor. It proved to me that I’d made the right choice of career, which was a relief!

I was kept on to do some part-time work after my placement was over and this stood me in good stead when I applied for the graduate development programme. There are currently four graduates in the Edinburgh office and we're in close contact with the Glasgow cohort too. We got off to a great start with the London graduate induction event (a chance to meet the other 359 graduates) and the camaraderie and networking opportunities have continued.

I'm in the commercial services team in Edinburgh, where there are usually six to eight quantity surveyors working on a range of projects.

I'm in the commercial services team in Edinburgh, where there are usually six to eight quantity surveyors working on a range of projects. I do a lot of work with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and they recently commissioned me to carry out some electrical assessments, thanks to my previous electrical experience. It was a great feeling to have personally brought some work in and to run the project myself. My other recent projects include the £60m HMP Inverclyde facility for the Scottish Prison Service, a campus building for University of the West of Scotland, and UK-wide retail shell developments for TJ Morris.

I enjoy the people side too and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I got to deal with clients directly and take responsibility.

Although I’m based in the office, there's plenty of site visits too. I've just spent four days in the Lake District carrying out audits on a client's property portfolio. In the office, I could be preparing contract documents, valuing construction progress, or establishing cost estimates for upcoming construction projects. I relish having new tasks and problems every day. Problem-solving is one of my strengths – my product design background reflects this – and so I like to think on my feet and deal with different issues. I enjoy the people side too and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I got to deal with clients directly and take responsibility. This is a job where there's plenty of room to use your initiative and to develop your own style of working – Faithful+Gould values diversity in all things.

This is a job where there's plenty of room to use your initiative and to develop your own style of working – Faithful+Gould values diversity in all things.

The Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) is my other focus at the moment. I have to say that I find the studying hard – especially after a long day's work. But I've already got a lot of the competencies signed off and I'm definitely further on than I would be in some companies – testament to the broad range of experience and excellent APC support I'm getting here.

Getting broad experience also means learning from the wider business community. I go to regular breakfast seminars, where a local expert – maybe a lawyer or a property professional – shares their knowledge of a topical subject. There's also RICS matrics – the Edinburgh group encourages members to host events in their organisations. In-house, we have a Thursday morning study session before work, covering an APC question – it helps us stay motivated.

My product development days are not completely forgotten. In my spare time I’m working on an app which I hope will benefit the business. I want it to innovate and help create a more efficient working environment. It has a marketing element and an operational element – watch this space, for when I finally get it finished!

For the future, I'm keen to continue on the multidisciplinary route, hopefully securing and leading my own commissions and maybe spend time working in one of our American offices. I’m ambitious and I’d like to have a lot of responsibility – but I'd better pass the APC first!