Civil engineering, construction and building

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Career focused studies

Harry Richards graduated with a first-class honours in Building Surveying in our class of 2020. Find out more about his time at Brighton and what he’s been up to since he graduated.

I chose Brighton as it was one of the leading universities for building surveying, the city was also a huge selling point. I had visited Brighton before with friends and family and loved the feel of the city as well as the nightlife.

Studying at Brighton was always very engaging and covered a huge spectrum of what I deal with on a day-to-day basis now.  Teaching staff have always been extremely supportive, offering advice and an ear whenever you ask. They also helped to keep me grounded by reminding me that I don’t always have to submit the perfect piece of work. Project Planning and Analysis modules and Building Pathology were probably the best modules for me as they went into a lot of detail over managing construction and the many technologies now available to designers. And an overview into diagnosing defects in buildings which is central to any building surveyor’s role.

I took a placement at Stiles Harold Williams in Croydon, later moving to their Eastbourne office. I continued there during my final year studies. My role was as graduate surveyor, working in the Building Consultancy Division, assisting the building surveying team. Taking a placement year really helped me understand the role I was studying for. It really helped me steady my focus for the final year, as well giving me a wealth of real-life experience to call upon as I stayed on at my placement during my final year. Over the year I started to learn that the role wasn’t all middle-aged men in tweed jackets helping you get your mortgage, but a range of demographics working on a huge range of interesting projects in both consulting and construction.

I recently joined Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) as a Building Surveyor after leaving Stiles Harold Williams in Eastbourne due to cuts as a result of Covid-19. The role involves a lot of core building surveying skills, such as the procurement and management of projects for both the council and private commissions city wide. I also undertake a range of professional services for BHCC where I assist the council in managing their assets as well as providing advice on the condition, statutory considerations or landlord covenants.

I would recommend the course to anyone interested in the construction and property industry as a whole. It offers a wide variety of subject areas, from legal disputes to new-build construction. The course is a great stepping stone onto the career ladder, with the option to enrol onto the RICS APC process both during your sandwich placement and after graduating. Take some time to really get to know the role you will be working at the end of your degree and have a friendly chat with the course team who will be able to tell you the career prospects, as having a Building Surveying degree doesn’t instantly make you a building surveyor. There is a lot more out there that the skill set can be applied to.

Moving down to Brighton has been both the biggest and best step I have taken. I have in the four years I have been here: been awarded a first-class degree, landed a great job and started a family. Along the way I have made a lot of great memories in an amazing city, so much so, I haven’t left.

Stephanie Thomson • December 3, 2020

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