Careers in the Construction Industry
Construction is a huge sector of the British economy – UK construction output is the second largest in the EU and contributes 8.2% of the nations GVA (Gross Value Added). The construction sector is big business – 250 000 firms employ 2.1 million people in a multitude of roles – a figure expected to increase to over 2.8 million by 2011; that’s over 7% of the UK’s workforce.
The industry can be defined as covering construction materials and products in addition to including suppliers and producers; building services manufacturers, providers and installers; contractors, subcontractors, professionals, advisors and construction clients as well as companies involved in the design, build, operation and refurbishment of buildings.
In the near future the most buoyant sectors are predicted to be public housing and infrastructure with government driving growth. The highest investment allocated is the ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme (£4.7billion), followed by the 2012 Olympics budget.
Next strongest is expected to be the commercial sector, due to the continuing recovery of London’s office building market. Locations other than London include Northern Ireland and South East England; these are also forecast to undergo more than a 10% employment growth rate over the next five years.
Depending upon the Government’s energy policy review, nuclear energy could become the fastest growing area within UK construction in coming years. Many British engineering consultants, production managers and civil engineering specialists are already preparing for the much anticipated wave of decommissioning old plants and the design and build of new ones.
Construction Jobs come in many different shapes and sizes. This vast and diverse sector provides opportunities in both well-known fields and niche areas of work. Job titles include Architect; Building services engineer; Building surveyor; Civil engineer; Electrical engineer; Facilities manager; and Quantity surveyor. Here’s some job information on a couple of the better-known roles in the industry:
Involved in each stage of the project from site selection right through to completion, architects work closely with clients, officials, other professionals including engineers and surveyors. From project beginning to end architects need a clear and professional understanding of the complex processes involved in the planning, design and completion of new and regenerated building construction.
A very ‘hands on’ and creative position, civil engineers are heavily involved in project design, development and construction – a role key to ensuring safe, timely and cost controlled project completion. Among their many responsibilities are supervising tendering, proposals and contractors; managing budgets and change; leading teams and communicating effectively with colleagues, architects, subcontractors, consultants, and clients; scheduling material and equipment purchases and delivery; ensuring that a project runs smoothly and that the structure is completed on time and within budget.
A Quantity Surveyor’s primary responsibility is to manage all the costs relating to building schemes. From initial pricing through to project completion the aim of the QS is to minimise costs and maximize project value for money whilst still matching appropriate standards and build quality. Many standards are specified by statutory building regulations – regulations that a QS must be aware of, understand and adhere to.