Associate, Cost Management (chartered surveyor)
Davis Langdon

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00:01 Well I’m David M and I’m an associate in the cost management department at Davis Langdon. I’m working out of the Edinburgh office.

00:09 What we do is we cost construction projects essentially, we take it from the very early days when you can get a sketch from an architect he’s ideas, his initial ideas and costing it from there and basically defining a budget for that and delivering the project when it actually becomes a, a building and somehow getting the cost to be the same from the sketch right to when you get the completed building.

00:32 My dad’s in construction as well but slightly different he’s not a surveyor and my mum works for a bank, so they’re slightly different.

00:40 I liked maths, I liked numbers, I liked accountant, accountancy and finance so this was something which was quite akin to that but it had something extra as well cos you actually got to be part of building something. And I also have family members who have been quantity surveyors in the past, so I knew about the profession from them too.

01:01 We all know job titles when we’re at school, we know what people’s fathers do and mothers do but actually find out what they actually do, what does the job involve and whether they think it sounds interesting and try and keep your options open.

01:13 Obviously I’d picked my subjects, I sat my standard grades, I sat my highers at school I then went onto University I did a 4 year honours course at Herriot Watt University. After that I then applied for a job with Davis Langdon, there were other companies as well but I took up the position with Davis Langdon in their London office and they enrolled me in their Graduate Development Programme, which, the aim is to get people through and chartered within 2 years or that’s the minimum period so they try and target the 2 year to, from knowing what I was going to do to actually being chartered was probably around 8 years maybe.

01:55 University’s there not just for the job you want to end up doing but it’s also a great personal experience as well and I think that cutting it short I would have lost something from that experience, I think 4 years is, is right. I think that a University course also, it doesn’t just teach you your job it teaches you more about the industry and it teaches more about general management as well, which you can apply to other jobs if you didn’t, if I didn’t chose to be a surveyor in the end, there’s lots I could have taken from that.

02:23 On my first at Davis Langdon I came into the office was welcomed by everybody and was immediately, my knowledge was tested right away when I was asked if I could measure off a plan basically some quantities, which I think I did, I never actually got any feedback on it but I think I did it OK.

02:41 Most of the training you need to pass to get chartered you learn on the job and that’s where you, I mean if you, you need to really experience as much as you can within that 2 years.

02:51I spent another 2 years with them in London then I transferred to Davis Langdon’s New York office. It was completely different they don’t, it sounds strange to say it but they don’t actually have quantity surveyors in America, so it’s a different job. What they do is if our job consists of about this much, in America they do about that much of it. It made me appreciate how other people operate, how other construction industries operate that there’s not just one way of doing things there are other ways and there are better ways and, and I think that was a big turning point for me.

03:25 So while I absolutely loved living in New York, I thought it was a fantastic place to live, I didn’t enjoy work as much cos it wasn’t as, you didn’t have as much scope within the project, you were, you weren’t really part of the design team.

03:40 We’ve started taking on graduates who don’t have quantity surveying degrees, to be quantity surveyors we’re taking on people with others degrees, geography degrees, French degrees, maths degrees I think that’s a fantastic asset because it brings, for, for the business cos it brings other skills sets into the company.

03:58 END

David M is a Chartered Surveyor for the construction consultants, Davis Langdon. He has been with the company throughout his career. His turning point was working in their New York office and realising how differently the construction business is organised in other countries.

More information about Business and financial project management professionals

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

56%  male 
44%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Job holders in this unit group manage and oversee major projects across all sectors of modern industry, commerce and the public sector, in areas such as e-commerce, business analysis, finance, product development, marketing, human resources.
Entry may be via a degree or postgraduate qualification in project management or a subject relevant to the particular sector or via significant relevant work experience in that sector.
  • Finds out what the client or company wants to achieve;
  • Agrees timescales, costs and resources needed;
  • Draws up a detailed plan for how to achieve each stage of the project;
  • Selects and leads a project team;
  • Negotiates with contractors and suppliers for materials and services;
  • Ensures that each stage of the project is progressing on time, on budget and to the right quality standards;
  • Reports regularly on progress to the client or to senior managers.
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