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‘Living the Dream’ – Building Surveying as a Career Choice

Students at high school face daunting choices during their school career, whether it be what subject options they should take, or later what higher education courses they should apply for.  Understandably there are mixed results with some focussed individuals following a well-charted course to reach their intended career, and others (from choice) never working in their elected field.

A career in Building Surveying is no different from other jobs and professions, it will suit some people and be unsuitable for others.

‘Living the dream’ in the title of this blog is a reference to my Mechanic, Gordon.

When I take my car in for servicing or repair I always ask Gordon how he is.  ‘Living the dream’ is often his response.  Gordon may be in a draughty garage, hands covered in oil and working long hours to service his customers’ vehicles, but that is his choice.  He is knowledgeable and takes pride in his work, and as far as I can tell he is happy and content.

So what makes Gordon enjoy his work when some others might never see themselves fixing peoples’ cars – the answer is his personality type.  Perhaps his worst nightmare would be a ‘claustrophobic and monotonous’ desk job.  His role is virtually an ‘outdoor job’ with the benefit of being warmer and protected from the weather – that for some people is having the best of both worlds.  Gordon also has the daily mental stimulation of facing challenges and finding solutions, and the ongoing satisfaction of doing a good job for his customers.

Returning to Building Surveying as a possible career route, in my view high school students suited to this choice may have the following attributes:

  • Have an interested and inquisitive nature
  • Possess a good eye for detail
  • Take a clear and methodical approach to problem solving and presentation of data
  • Have a friendly, respectful and assertive nature
  • Have good balance, a head for heights, no aversion or fear of dark, dirty or confined spaces, and a willingness to ‘get their hands dirty’ in the interest of doing a good job.
  • Be comfortable working in and out of an office environment (often on a solitary basis)
  • Be interested in history and technology relating to the built environment; and
  • Have good written and oral communication skills

I have been involved in property and estates management for over thirty years, and a Chartered Building Surveyor for over twenty years.  I still love what I do and my passion for my work is the envy of others for whom a job is just a way of earning money.  For the right kind of person, building surveying can be suitable choice, and it is a stimulating, challenging and rewarding option.  I can strongly recommend it to interested students that fit the profile described above.

I am happy to speak to any young people interested in Building Surveying as a career choice – who knows, perhaps they too might be ‘living the dream’ one day soon.

Kevin Sergeant

January 2018