What was your route into surveying as a career?
I came into the world of surveying late on in my working life. My first job was as an auctioneer’s clerk with a firm of auctioneers and estate agents in west Wales. After five years or so I joined the RAF as a supplier, ordering parts ranging from an office chair to parts of a Tornado engine! With cutbacks in the services and reduced promotion prospects, I had to consider my next step and decided on a move into property. I did a three-year degree in estate management and valuation at University West of England in Bristol and joined Cooke & Arkwright on graduating. That was over 20 years ago!
Tell us about your work at Cooke & Arkwright.
I am a Registered Valuer and I am part of the valuation team at Cooke & Arkwright. We assess the value of a range of properties including those within the usual commercial sectors and also more specialist property such as schools, car parks, and community centres to name just a few.
Give us an overview of what an average day for you could entail.
Once I have inspected and referenced a building, I am back in the office (or now at home since the lockdown) working out the floor areas, analysing leases where necessary and undertaking relevant investigations and comparable evidence research. This then all goes into the mix to produce a valuation and report.
What is your favourite part of the job?
Each valuation instruction is self-contained and whereas in other areas such as agency or development, jobs may take years or even decades, valuations tend to take weeks or months and then you move on to an exciting new instruction. I also like the fact that the job is not purely office based, with opportunities to get out of the office to inspect properties
What advice would you give someone starting out in property now?
The property world has many different paths you can take, which draw upon different skill sets. For example, a Management surveyor needs some form of accounting skills to deal with annual maintenance budgets. In Agency, you need some form of legal knowledge to deal with Heads of Terms and sale contracts; and in Landlord & Tenant work you need to understand various legal statues and dealing with leases. There are many more paths, from Building Surveying to Land Agency. The point being adaptability is an important factor in a surveyor’s career.
Tell us a bit about your experience of working from home.
I have enjoyed working from home, mainly because I don’t have up to two-hours commuting each way every day, either driving or travelling on an over-crowded train. Today’s technology has made the transition relatively smooth and although I don’t have young children interrupting, the dogs have made themselves known during team meetings once or twice!
Working from home has given me a better work/life balance which is important. However, I do miss the office banter and camaraderie with my fellow workers, which is also important. A couple of days here and a couple of days there would be a happy balance!