Surveying the future

Chris Ridgway

Without surveyors, no significant development of the natural or built environment can succeed; we work in partnership with architects, engineers, lawyers and government.

Surveying is a diverse and exciting career choice that can give you the opportunity to travel the world and meet all kinds of people. If you think of all the physical assets that cover the earth – buildings, trees, airports, antiques, festivals, hotels, rain forests, ports and harbours – surveyors are there playing an important role in shaping the world that we live in.

Reducing carbon footprint

Surveying is a frontline profession in the quest for a sustainable future. For instance, at a basic level, it is surveyors who decide which way a house should face, with implications for exposure to the wind and sun. It is surveyors who decide how much builders need to change the landscape when they build houses. The work of surveyors has implications for how rain water is collected.

A building all of you will know is The Gherkin skyscraper in the City of London which is a great example of a sustainable building. It uses energy-saving methods which allow it to use half the power a similar tower would typically consume. Gaps in each floor create six shafts that serve as a natural ventilation chimney. The shafts create a giant double glazing effect; air is sandwiched between two layers of glazing and insulates the office space inside. The shafts pull warm air out of the building during the summer and warm the building in the winter using passive solar heating. The shafts also allow sunlight to pass through the building, making the work environment more pleasing, and keeping the lighting costs down.

This means that there is every reason to be optimistic about a career in the property industry as the built environment will become increasingly important helping us to live in a sustainable way.

Surveyors help make big things happen

Surveyors essentially measure, value, protect and enhance all the world’s physical assets and they’re involved in a vast array of projects. For instance, they could be helping create the latest Olympic or football stadium, protecting the world’s reefs, laying pipelines on the sea bed, assisting with the design of computer games or special effects for feature films through 3D mapping or managing the layout of major music festivals – the scope and potential of the profession is unlimited.

Every building and structure you see around you has required the input of a property advisor at some point. Think of the X Factor studios in Wembley, for example. I advise the owners and have been lucky enough to spend time in the studio and have even been in Cheryl Cole’s dressing room!

As a surveyor, you have a chance to directly influence the way people live, work and relax. When you think about it, buildings impact on every aspect of our life.

Laying the foundations

Employers are keen on people who have relevant work experience in the industry. It shows that you are enthusiastic about your career and if you can impress an employer in your work experience period you will have gained a competitive advantage against your fellow graduates. A good quality first degree in a property subject is very important given the competition for jobs. As the UK comes out of recession, the property industry will be gearing up to start taking on more graduates. If you are willing to be flexible , and you have an enthusiasm for the world around you, you can have a great career in property.

Chris Ridgeway, Director, Colliers International

Find out more about Colliers International