From landbuying to sales: 10 careers in the house-building industry
24th October 2018
Author: Alan Cadenhead
Ever thought about how many people it takes to build a house? Designing, building and finally selling, brand new homes requires people in many different roles, from the architect who draws up the plans, to the site teams who bring the vision to life. Alan Cadenhead, HR & employee development manager at Miller Homes, takes us through some of the popular – and less obvious – roles in the house-building industry.
Land buyers are responsible for finding suitable sites for new homes. While there is no single route for this job, a degree in geography or a property-related subject is a good start. Whether you’re working on a large-scale development, or with just a handful of houses, what you’ll do as a land buyer involves playing a key role in researching the needs of the local market and getting permission to build from the local council.
For new-build homes, surveyors work out how much the build will cost and then keep a close eye on how the budget is spent. To become a surveyor, a Higher National Certificate (HNC) will give you the required knowledge and practical skills to start your career. It is popular to study a subject such as geography at university to gain surveyor qualifications, but you can start as an apprentice from the age of 16, and train towards a degree-level surveyor qualification while working.
As well as having GCSEs in maths and English, bricklayer qualifications in the UK are usually gained through an apprenticeship. You must also hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card, be reasonably fit and strong, and able to work in a team.
An architectural technician helps to design developments, looking at the overall layout as well as the size and style of the houses, and ensuring plans are followed properly. You can take an apprenticeship or start at a higher level after a degree in civil engineering or the built environment.
Assistant site manager
Working closely with the site manager, an assistant site manager makes sure a building is completed on time and to the highest standards, in line with the architect’s plans. Assistant site managers often start out in a trade such as bricklaying, joinery (woodwork) or plumbing.
A contracts manager keeps track of all the different suppliers. They make sure materials arrive on site when needed and tasks are completed on time. This is a role you can move up to after working in site management roles. You’ll often need an HNC/HND level qualification in the built environment too.
A buyer is responsible for getting prices from suppliers as well as buying materials and labour. You’ll need to work to strict budgets and make sure everything you buy meets the safety and quality standards of the homebuilder. Along with strong skills in negotiating and maths, buyers normally have a construction NVQ or diploma.
Development sales managers
Development sales managers are like the estate agents for new-build properties, helping support customers with the purchase and keeping them up to date with progress. Experience in sales and/or marketing is a bonus, but you’ll certainly need to enjoy working with people and will also love working to targets.
Customer services inspection manager
Customer service inspection managers play an important role in looking after customers once they have moved in. A NVQ certificate or diploma in customer service, often studied as part of an apprenticeship, will give you a good grounding in the subject. You will also need to prove you can work with customers and manage a team.
Find out about Miller Homes’ latest vacancies and apprenticeship opportunities.
Alan Cadenhead is the HR & employee development manager at Miller Homes with over 30 years’ experience in HR and recruitment roles. When Alan took our Buzz Quiz, he found he was a Koala bear, which means he ‘gets on with things quietly’.
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