The benefit of being a young surveyor

Why, oh why, am I not a young man?

I am lucky enough to have had a long and extraordinarily interesting career in building surveying. I have worked on some iconic buildings and at the same time dealt with projects from tiny office dilapidations to some of the largest buildings in the UK.

The work of a building surveyor is so diverse – no two days are ever the same. I am always amazed when something comes up which I have not been involved with in some way before. This is particularly the case with some of the legal work that I do.

I have endured three previous recessions and, on each occasion, come through relatively unscathed except for a few more grey hairs. Each recession has occurred for different reasons. From a property point of view these have occurred in a slightly different cycle and the effects on buildings and their use have always been slightly different.

Building surveyors are trained so that they have a broad skillset and those skills can be tempered dependent on what the market at the time requires. It is the case that during each of these recessions well-trained building surveyors have been resilient in business and have not suffered in the same way as other branches of surveying world might have done.

The current pandemic and recession are going to throw up a whole new set of challenges.

From a building surveying point of view, I cannot think of a time when our skills have been more in demand. There is so much that building surveyors will need to get involved in.

We already have a huge input in trying to help owners make their buildings become more energy efficient or to ensure that they meet the appropriate fire standards.

Going forward there appears to be some debate as to whether office design is going to lead to more individual offices or to more open plan space to suit post-pandemic occupation. I for one am in the open plan camp. I doubt that any building is configured correctly to cope with the new business profiles that will be required post-pandemic. Pretty much all offices will need a certain amount of re-design.

Of course, there is also going to be a bonanza in dilapidations as businesses look to downsize and reposition themselves in the market.

The greatest fun of all is all the conversion works that will need to be done to the huge swathes of secondary offices that will need repurposing going forward.

Then there is a need to revolutionise the high street and how this will need to change as we shop less and buy more online. All these buildings too will require alteration and adaptation.

As a result of the increase in online buying, the continued expansion of development of warehousing will also require building surveying input. The list just goes on and on.

I am grateful for the career that I have had but I have to say I envy those building surveyors looking to qualify or recently qualified. They are going to have so much fun and interesting work to do in the future.

To discuss new projects with Roger, please email him at roger.watts@tridentbc.com, or call him on 07775 944662.

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