It’s interesting to see from a recruitment perspective the different careers paths a traditional Building Surveyor takes.
- Are you professional biased and want to become a party wall/dilapidation specialist working for a niche consultancy in the market?
- Do you enjoy Project Management and eventually want to be a Development/Project Manager in a 360degree role working for a Residential Developer?
- Or do you enjoy managing external consultants in a Capex/Maintenance style role looking after an established portfolio?
Within Building Surveying there is the opportunity to position yourself either in a consultancy role, working with a number of different projects or on the client side, where you are dedicated to a specific portfolio. There are pros and cons to each and both sides can offer great rewards.
The general consensus from surveyors seems to be that client-side positions offer more flexibility and a better work-life balance, a good motivation to move jobs. A word of caution - be prepared to work in ‘6th gear’.
Having worked with some of the most established estates belonging to the British Monarch through to client-side positions with a leading retail group, you will be expected to get up and go when required to do so. Make sure that you are aware of exactly what the role requires from the surveyor as the last thing you want is to be asked to travel to the other end of the country when you have a young family and commitments to tend to.
Here are a few more pros and cons of going client side, to help you decide where to take your career as a Building Surveyor.
- The opportunity to work on owned assets of your employer.
- The financial reward and bonus potential are generally more rewarding.
- Opportunity to develop your skill set by working on the full life cycle of projects, being a main decision maker and gaining experience in managing external consultants.
- Clients tend to have a preference for an asset type and so by choosing a role with a particular client, you are able to specialise in a particular area.
- Not pushed to be involved with business development fee-driven environment.
- Lack of APC support if you are seeking to become MRICS.
- Some find constantly working on the same portfolio with the same assets restrictive, repetitive and lacking in variety and hence becoming pigeonholed in a particular sector.
- A small team environment and lack of opportunity to diversify your role in the future.
- Lack of career progression for different roles in the future as surveyors tend to move to similar client-side positions.
Both consultancy and client-side positions have their merits, depending on an individual's viewpoint. Partner level positions in a consultancy environment can outstrip the earning potential of surveyors in a client-side position. Furthermore, you also have the opportunity to expand your network and database to eventually start your business in the future, something we have seen happen more frequently in today's market.
Yes, the client side option is often preferred and tends to be the ultimate goal for most building surveyors. However, I say it is important to make sure you are making the move at the right time of your career so that you can gain as much experience within a consultancy environment beforehand.
Article written by Teddy Murphy, Construction, Property & Infrastructure Recruiter.
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