December 10, 2019

Climbing up the building career ladder

This week is National Careers Week – an opportunity for people (young and old) up and down the country to give some thought to their future career and increase their understanding of how they can land their dream job. Here Trevor Dowd, Executive Director at Trident Building Consultancy, shares the opportunities that building surveying offers.


Building surveying as a career choice would appear to be relatively Brexit-proof. A recent survey of industry salaries by Building magazine and the recruitment firm, Hays, found that as a result of skills shortages, salaries in building surveying are rising more rapidly than inflation. Specifically, the survey showed that the average salary for a senior surveyor is £46,125 – 3.5% above the national average increase, and for an associate building surveyor, £54,583 (3.4% above).

Data compiled in relation to the survey also demonstrated a wealth of career opportunities in the sector, highlighting the case of engineer Mott MacDonald, which has more than 800 vacancies (80%-90% of them UK based) across its 6,500-strong EU business.

Trident Building Consultancy – one of Property Week’s 50 Best Places to Work in 2018 – values graduate recruitment, staff development and career progression highly. Trident is keen to invest in its graduates, paying for training and RICS fees during the APC process, and is also happy to accommodate those who wish to work part time. Here, some of our employees share their experiences:


Case study:

Usmaan Mehboob is currently completing his APC in Trident’s Leeds office

I moved to Trident from a large national firm and into the role of assistant building surveyor. My previous role was assisting on a project for a national housing association and I soon realised that I needed to gain wider experience in order to achieve my APC.

When I arrived at Trident, they knew my experience was limited, so they sent a more experienced colleague with me at first to make sure I knew what I was doing. They showed me the ropes on the first day, then leave me to it. Over the past twelve months, I’ve developed both the understanding and confidence to carry out a range of services on my own.

As a practising Muslim, I pray five times a day and Trident has been so good in making this possible – providing a space for me in the office and acknowledging my faith in a positive way.


Case study:

Associate Director Vicky Green has moved swiftly up the career ladder and is exceling at the forefront of property technology

I did a degree in Building Surveying, which included an industry placement, and then joined a national surveying firm. Once I’d completed by APC, I was made a senior surveyor and I joined Trident in 2015. My role also has a strong emphasis on all things PropTech: I have been tasked with expanding our use of technology to provide an enhanced service to the consultancy’s expanding client base.

Over the past few years I’ve been really pleased to introduce new systems to the company, improving the efficiency and the quality of building surveying, and also our other service lines. The deployment of these simple yet powerful tools means that Trident can provide a level of independence to clients; our clients can now manipulate their own data and create reports that are actually useful, ensuring that the most accurate results are given, which has resulted in an increase in repeat business.

In addition to product development, I’ve taken on the challenge of speaking at conferences, chairing events and contributing to RICS guidance notes. I’ve also enjoyed supporting and mentoring new graduates at the company – making sure that competent junior staff excel, regardless of who they are.


Case study:

Muhammad Hamzah completed a unique accelerated degree from the University of Salford and is now an Assistant Building Surveyor at Trident.

When I first applied to study at Salford, it was for a standard three-year degree, but as soon as the Accelerated Degree programme was offered, I had to take it up.

The idea that you could gain the same amount of knowledge in less time was really appealing to me. In my eyes, I was still being given the opportunity to learn such valuable information, with the bonus of moving into the industry quicker. I’m very lucky that it’s worked out exactly that way for me, as I moved straight into a job from university.

I think people misunderstand the structure of your year when you’re on the Accelerated Degree Programme, as you do get time off. It’s not the four months off like other students have, instead we have several weeks off at certain points of the year such as Christmas and Easter. We also get a summer break, around two or three weeks. All-in-all the two years aren’t as intense as people may think.

I’m now a graduate building surveyor at Trident and I’m loving it. About a month ago I started my training to become a Chartered Building Surveyor. This will take me two years and will broaden my career prospects.