29 November 2018 | Careers Advice | Guest Author
Whether you want to be involved in the initial designs, lay the first bricks or help customers find their perfect home, the house building industry offers a wide range of jobs. Here, Alan Cadenhead, Group HR & employee development manager at Miller Homes, a national new homes housebuilder, takes us through some of the opportunities you might like to explore.
As a buyer, you are responsible for obtaining quotes from suppliers and tradespeople for materials and labour. You will also be expected to ensure all purchases meet the safety and quality standards of the house builder. Since you must work to a strict budget, you’ll need a good eye for numbers and be a keen negotiator, in order to get the best agreements. Qualifications-wise, the role usually requires a construction NVQ or diploma.
An architectural technician is a specialist in applying technology to construction and building design. While you support the design team, you will be also able to apply your technical expertise to provide advice on products and technology, as well as legislation and processes. Most people enter this role after gaining a degree in civil engineering, and then continue their professional development towards an industry-recognised status under the Charted Institute of Architectural Technicians.
Understanding the needs of the local market is essential for a land buyer. Since your main responsibility will be sourcing suitable sites for new homes, you need to understand the planning process and be able to work with local councils. While there is no set path to this position, a degree in geography or any other property-related subject, is a good start.
Quantity surveyors are in charge of working out the total cost of a new-build development, including monitoring outgoings to ensure the project doesn’t go over-budget, producing reports to ensure the work is carried out to the required standards. Studying a degree in quantity surveying is the best way to enter the profession, but it is not always necessary. If you have studied another relevant subject, you can take a postgraduate conversion course or start as a technical surveyor and work your way up.
Assistant site manager
Assistant site managers usually begin their careers in a trade such as bricklaying or plumbing, and climb the ranks to work alongside the site manager. Following the architects’ plans, the main responsibility of an assistant site manager is ensuring all houses are built on time and to the required standards.
The most common path into bricklaying is through an apprenticeship – and GSCEs in Maths and English are normally needed for this. In the position, you will learn how to measure and mix materials correctly, read building plans, and use an assortment of tools. Like all site-based roles, you will require an understanding of health and safety as well as the ability to work in a team to complete a project.
Development sales manager
Similar to estate agents, development sales managers support customers through the new build house-buying journey. From helping buyers find their dream home, to keeping them updated about the build progress, a development sales manager is the face of the company. Most people in the role have experience in sales and marketing before they start, but the key requirement is people skills, as your role is mainly customer facing. Being target driven is also critical.
Customer service inspection manager
Building communities is a key part of house building, and customer service inspection managers are responsible for the post-sales process. This role requires excellent customer service skills, as you will be in charge of looking after customers once they have moved into their new home. Proving you can work well with customers, with either a diploma or NVQ in customer service, as well as the ability to work in a team, is essential for this position.
As a contracts manager, you will be in charge of looking after a number of construction projects. Your responsibilities typically include making sure materials arrive on site when they are needed, ensuring tasks are completed on time, and information is gathered for invoicing at the end of the project. This is a role you can work up to as a site manager, but HNC/HND level qualifications in a built environment subject are usually also required.