Because the industry is so varied and diverse, there is a vast array of career opportunities across the construction sector. Depending on your aptitude and abilities, there is an opportunity to work in a dynamic growing sector and in an environment that both challenges and rewards.
Entry into the construction sector is possible at all levels. General operatives join the industry with no experience but through working with others and on various projects, they gain skills informally.
As the economy improves construction graduates and craftspeople are in big demand. This sector is on the rise again in Ireland so it is the perfect time to be considering a career in the industry.
If you are interested in working in the industry, make use of your Transition Year and look for work experience. Approach local companies to seek their assistance to achieve this or ask your career guidance counsellor what contacts they may have in the industry.
The Construction Industry Federation (CIF), is the national and regional representative body for construction industry employers (contractors) in Ireland. The industry in 2016 employs 137,000 people directly and in 2015 had an overall output of €13 Billion.
Eileen Faherty is a Quantity Surveyor with Jones Engineering Group. Eilleen completed a four year electrician appreticeship and further obtained a Btech in Construction Technology from DIT. Her work involves preparing variations for construction projects along with labour spends reports and project cost projections.
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
How did you go about getting your current job?
Describe a typical day?
A typical day would involve preparing any variations that are due on a project. Most construction projects are fast moving and clients require costs turned around in a quick manner so this is always our focus.
I would then work on any weekly reports due such as labour spends reports or project cost projections. This would involve working with Project Managers and Contracts Mangers to get the various elements of information required to produce the report.
As with all construction professionals a lot of time is spent answering emails on various cost queries from clients, PQS and our Accounts and Purchasing. If a project is coming to an end a large amount of time will be spent preparing the Final Account and agreeing it with the relevant parties. It is always good to close off a project and get the final account signed, particularly on a large or lengthy project.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
My responsibilities are to ensure that the project is working within its budgets. That costs are minimised and all changes on the projects are captured and notified to the client.
My tasks would be pricing of variations, preparing interim applications for payment, reporting on weekly labour spend and reporting monthly into my directors on the project outlook.
What are the main challenges?
Construction Projects are very competitively priced these days. There are challenges with completing most projects within the budgets set out. While it is not easy to achieve sometimes it is a good challenge to work with the construction team and see if we can look at new ways to complete the project differently in order to make it more cost efficient.
What's not so cool?
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
I would have strong analytical skills. I would be able to study data closely and pull the relevant information required from it. I am good with numbers and enjoy working with numbers. These are skills that most QS need.
I feel I am strong-minded. Agreeing variations and final accounts sometimes is not for the fainthearted and people can be very pushy where money is concerned. I am also a team player, on a big project everyone needs to pull together to get the project done so it is important to work closely with your team.
What is your education to date?
Leaving Certificate – Scoil Chaitriona , Glasnevin - 1998
FAS Pre Apprenticeship Course –1997 Course doing Plumbing, Carpentry and Electrical to assist in deciding which apprenticeship suited you best.
Time Served Electrical Apprenticeship – 1999 -2004 – Qualified as an Electrician in 2004
Btech in Construction Technology – DIT Bolton Street – 2008-2011
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
As an apprentice electrician it was finishing my apprenticeship after four years, it was a great achievement for me.
As QS it would be finishing a large complex project. At times it felt like it would never end but with hard work we got to the finish line. It was the biggest project of my career and I was happy that we got it finished successfully.
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
My advice would be that if you are not afraid of hard work that construction can be a very rewarding industry. It is a constantly changing industry which is interesting to work in.
To be a QS the main values would be to be interested in dealing with financial data and be happy to work as part of a team. Having an interest in construction generally outside of the commercials will also help as it keeps you interested in the projects you are working on apart from what they cost.
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
What is your pet hate at work?
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?