RN to Chartered Surveying

Morning all,

just wondering if anyone has taken this particular leap and how they found it. Seems to be quite an interesting area but has anyone done it and regretted it? More to the point, is it a decent career for an ex jack. Any ideas welcome (might regret saying that....). :)
Went from RN to Shipbuilding to Civil Engineering, now a Delay Analyst. Not one huge leap, but a few small ones.

Are you QS'ing or flogging houses?

edited because I have dyslexic fingers
Actually, that sort of information would probably be quite useful wouldn't it, considering how big the field is. Really don't think I want to do QS, looking more at commercial/rural (at a push). I'm doing lots of (unpaid) work experience across different areas to see what's out there. The variety appeals, as I find the idea of being stuck in an office for the rest of my life frankly appalling- particularly after the RN. I've trawled the relevant websites, but there's only so much you can get out of them and, without knowing too many people in the profession, am just a little worried about making an expensive mistake- given the 2-3 years retraining necessary. Still, got to take the plunge sometime I suppose.....
QS'ing is not so bad, and you're not stuck in an office all the time, the majority of QS's are site based.

It's a wee bit like the mob, when you finish one project you go on to another, average sized project is 2-3 years.

Good money in QS'ing too. Don't know what trade you were in the mob, but there are (believe it or not) transferable skills.

You are welcome to PM me and I can give you more details (including my email so that I can send you some good relelvant stuff, not just on QS'ing, but Civil Engineering and all the other skill bases).
I´m also looking at surveying as a career move as I´m spending far too much time in the office these days. I´m not too interested in QS´ing either and was looking at commercial or land surveying.

One course I´ve looked at is the Diploma in Surveying Practice with the College of Estate Management in Reading. It´s a two year distance learning course that gives a grounding in most of the surveying disciplines.
It´s the only entry level distance learning course in surveying that I´ve been able to find.

I´m currently working in a government department and my job involves dealing with land issues and GIS, so it might be relevant to what I´m doing. I´d be interested to hear if anyone else has studied this course, or has worked with anyone who has done it.
Hi All,

I'm in a similar boat as you guys, I wanted to join up but have been told that with my eyesight it's an impossibility =(

After analysing the obvious possible careers like law, accountantcy and other yawn inducing purgatory, I took what looked like the least boring option and went in to Quantity Surveying.

Boy was I wrong.

Without wanting to sound like a whiney b*tch, the reality is I sit chained to a desk all day doing spreadsheets wondering 'is this all their is to life before I'm 65?'

I would recommend to you guys that you look at Project Management. When I got in to construction I thought this meant actually running a site, but as a client side PM you don't have to know diddly squat about building. You basically represent the client and react to events. I look at them with envy as they do their adrenaline inducing problem solving as I crunch my numbers in silence!

I'm all set to start my QS MSc in Sept so I'm going to stick it out. I'm with a great company so I don't want to jeapordise things. I can always switch to PM'ing in 2 years and be a much, much more effective one because I will understand the intricacies of the financial side of things (which is what it all boils down to in the end).

All I would say to anyone considering QS'ing is think about whether you want to be contractor QS (for the company who actually builds stuff) or a client side QS (representing the client). I have worked on both sides and they both have their merits. Contracting is all porta-kabins and hairy arsed builders. Its a much better crack but u can be stuck in a leaking cabin with rats running round. Cient side is much more civilized, in nice plush offices, in effect having the contractor QS's living in fear of you (well, a tiny bit!), but I'm finding the crack very sterile.

I start my MSc at either College of Estate Management, Uni of Salford (both distance learning) or South Bank (a day off work a week!). I have to decide pretty sharpish like. They all have their relative merits.

Please PM me if you have any queries. People on here were on the whole very helpful when I had hopes of joining the RN.

May I just ask a question of you all in return? Any of you guys actually ENJOY your job? Any of you lucky enough to wake up on Mon-Fri and think 'great, I can't wait to start?'.

I'm young enough to make a choice about which way I go. QS'ing is a solid, well paid career but I find it mind numbingly boring. I wanted to see the world & represent my country and now I sit down a desk all day with no real attachment to what I do. I would like to do a masters in naval history or war studies because I spend a lot of my time reading history, but I just can't see what career I can follow afterwards.

Anyhow, best of luck to you all.

Hey Cutter, Thanks for posting with that advice although I don’t see how I’m in the same boat as you seeing as I am someone who has been in the RN, and am looking at getting into surveying, whilst you already seem to be a qualified surveyor.

So what background and experience do these client side project managers have? And why do they need to have no knowledge of construction?

As to your question, do I enjoy my job? Yes I do. I don’t exactly wake up on Monday morning thinking, “Oh Great – Workâ€, but I look forward to getting into the office once I’ve left home and I enjoy what I do once I´m there.

If you had asked me that question when I was in the Navy though, I would have definitely said, “Noâ€.

Last year I was in the same sort of position as you, I had a job in the Oil industry and wasn’t enjoying it much. Like you I seemed to be spending my days punching numbers into a computer and, while I realised my job was important to my department, I wasn’t getting much satisfaction out of it, and didn’t feel it had lived up to how it had been described to me at my interview. I looked around for something else and that’s how I found my present job. I had to take a drop in pay – I’ve now got more responsibility for less money, but the increase in job satisfaction more than makes up for it.

Look around for something else if your current job is pissing you off so much, but I recommend that you get your MSc first.
Alright Drifter,

I am in a similar boat because I did want to go in to the RN but my sight got me binned. So I'm looking for an alternative career like you. I'm not a chartered surveyor, I've been doing it for just over a year, so in fact I'm still weighing up whether its for me.

I could have started my MSc last year but I didn't think much of the company I started with. I am going to stick with QS'ing though, as it is a very useful bedrock with options to move in to areas such project management, planning, construction law/claims, risk/insurance or just general commercial management.

I've met client side project managers who have come from all sorts of strange backgrounds. I met one guy who had previously been a carpet fitter! This is because they don't actually need to know anything technical about construction, they just need common sense.

Obviously, if you wanted to be a project manager on the construction site you need to know what you're doing!

I could have started a degree course a few years ago, I got accepted to study Architectural Technology and Construction Management. It probably would have been ideal, but I had only completed a full time education the previous year and I just couldn´t face another four years of being a full time student. So far I haven´t regretted that decision, but it´s still an option I have if, for instance, I were to lose my job.

I would rather stay in employment though which is why I am looking at doing a distance learning course.

Have you had much experience of the College of Estate Management, and if Yes, then what´s your impression of them? Are you a member of the RICS and if so has that been any help to you?

Carpet fitting is obviously one of those jobs that gives loads of opportunities then! I´ve heard a story about a carpet fitter who was hired as an airframe technician by a well known MOD aviation contractor, at a well known Welsh airbase, and unfortunately he wrecked a dozen or so RAF Tornados by drilling holes in the wrong places. I don´t know how true this story is, but I´ve heard it a few times now. Maybe it´s the same guy!
Hi Drifter,

If you don't fancy studying full-time there's loads of companies that take people on as trainee surveyors and put them through an undergraduate Uni course. It tends to be the big contracting firms like Balfour Beatty and Alfred McApline. In fact they very much like it because it makes you stay with them for a few years rather than moving on when a better offer comes, as it frequently does at the moment cos there is such a shortage of QS's.

I hope to start the College of Estate Management in October via distance learning. Having worked as a QS for a year now and asked around, it is highly respected because it takes a thorough 'old school' approach which installs the fundamentals of surveying. Some QS courses have some frankly irrelevant content that would be more at home in an MBA.

If you're gonna apply get on the website quick. They want applications in by September 1st! http://www.cem.ac.uk/courses/index.asp

FYI I start my APC to become a chartered surveyor in November. It takes at least 2yrs.

As for the carpet fitter, I know bullsh*tting can get you many jobs in this world, but i never thought it'd get you one fixing Tornados!!
I have read the thread with great interest. one reason being I was hoping to get my youngest boy interested in QS ing as a career.
I have asked several in this craft "how did you get into it" mostly the answer has been by accident - they were studying one thing and drifted into it. One was a teacher up grading his Maths qualifications and became pals with a QS during the course - then made the jump.
Another thing Ive noticed there always seems to be a demand for them - the salaries offered don't seem to bad either. Enough waffle - Thanks gents - interesting and informative.

Best Regards Andy Land
Thanks again Cutter, I´ve been on holiday, so haven´t looked at this thread for a while. I don´t think I´d be able to get on one of the training schemes you mentioned because; 1. I´m the other side of forty, and 2. I don´t live in the UK anymore. Saying that though I´ll have a look at their websites and see if I can find the entry criteria.

I know I´ve missed the deadline for CEM applications. I´m looking at doing the diploma so have now got until next February to apply. I have a few things to study in the meantime though that I need to get out of the way. The only problem I have with CEM is that I have to arrange a mentor to help me with the studying, and I haven´t been able to find anyone in my department who can do this seeing as my job isn´t directly involved with construction or property, We do have a civil engineering department nearby, although we don´t have any contact with them, but I´m going to see if I can find someone there to help me out.

Another school doing distance learning courses in construction is The Premier School of Building. I don´t know if you´ve heard anything about them. The only information I can find about them is what is on their website, but they do offer some short courses in QS´ing and Civil Engineering. Have you come across them before?

As far as the carpet fitter at St. Athan story goes, I don´t think it was his bullshitting that got him the job. I heard that after winning the contract, the company realised they couldn´t get hold of enough qualified people so they began to employ anyone who could hold a spanner. These things happen!

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