Construction industry overview
The construction industry covers a wide range of business interests and activities. It is comprised of clients such as house-builders and commercial property developers, designers, material and component suppliers and contractors.
The property industry overlaps but refers more to the sale and management of properties, including letting and redevelopment.
Chartered surveyors deal with the assessment and management of physical assets such as building valuation, commercial property management, dispute resolution or even antique and fine art valuation.
Civil engineers investigate sites for projects, analyse rock and soil samples, predict the effects on the environment and consult the local community. They will then recommend the best option and begin the design process.
Architects design buildings and changes to existing buildings while also providing advice for the preservation of older structures. The most high profile architects are invited to design in prestigious locations with their signature style.
Large commercial properties and flat complexes require full time management to deal with maintenance, security, cleaning and administrative issues such as post delivery.
"If a building looks better under construction than it does when finished, then it's a failure." - Douglas Coupland, novelist.
Did you know?
Chester Square in Belgravia, London, is the most expensive place to live in the UK with the average property there costing £6.6 million in 2010.
Subjects such as civil engineering, building and construction management are all ideal degrees for entry to construction. Property sales and management do not require any specific degrees.
A saying in the construction industry goes "measure twice, cut once": close attention to detail is vital. Technical and practical skills, problem-solving and logical thinking are essential. An aptitude for maths or physics can boost opportunities.
Working in property requires solid management skills and excellent communication, particular for sales and letting agents.
To qualify as a chartered surveyor the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) is a two year on the job training programme run under the guidance of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
When you start working in construction there will be plenty of options open to you to learn on the job and it is vital you take them. The industry is a constantly evolving with new practices and techniques being developed all the time.
UK construction has a global reputation for world class design, inspired architecture and the highest quality building which can lead to opportunities to work on projects abroad, particularly for surveyors and architects.
By working overseas or in areas such property fund management you can potentially earn much more but the opportunity to specialise in some of the more technical disciplines may not be available.
Right for you?
The demand for housing and the continued regeneration of towns and cities mean this is an industry with a sustainable future. A rounded work/life balance is normally easy to maintain.