Variety and the fact every day brings a different challenge, are the two big reasons Ewan loves being a Quantity Surveyor. Having made the move from a multi-national to an SME practice, he’s looking forward to having a greater impact and supporting the next generation on their career journeys.
How did you get into Quantity Surveying?
To be honest, I didn’t have much of an idea about what career path to take when I was looking to apply for university. When I sat down and looked into it, Quantity Surveying came up. I was interested in construction and the built environment, and I wanted a career I wouldn’t be stuck to a desk all the time. My dad was a farmer so I always wanted to do something that would allow me to get out on site with some outdoor work. Quantity Surveying seemed to tick all these boxes and looked like it would offer me a rewarding career. I enrolled on a four-year BSc Quantity Surveying degree which included a sandwich year gaining experience working for a private practice. It really cemented in my mind that this was for me. I’m now a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, working in the industry for over 21 years.
How did you end up at Solomons?
I’d spent most of my career working for a large multinational company, starting off as an Assistant Quantity Surveyor and rising to Associate Director. While I was an important cog in the wheel, I was a small cog in a massive machine. I wanted to be able to influence things more, so the appeal of moving to Solomons – an SME – and have the opportunity to do that and make a difference was very attractive. Solomons also has a really good feel about it. From the website to the offices, everything’s fresh and different. It’s very much about people development and helping them to achieve their goals. Everyone pulls in the same direction, and we rise to face challenges together. You can pick up the phone to any of the directors when you need to. The hierarchy may be there but there’s no barriers. The culture’s really dynamic. It’s a can-do business that makes sure it delivers.
What’s the best thing about being a Quantity Surveyor and what projects are you currently working on?
Every day is different. I love the variety of different tasks it entails. On the construction side of things every day brings a new challenge. It’s such a wide topic area – whether it’s visiting site to check the progress of work, seeing something develop and a project coming to fruition, drafting contracts, post contract work, influencing how projects might look to ensure they’re successful. At the moment I’m working on the Swimming with the Big Fish SME Matchmaker Service, which is all about helping high performing SMEs to secure the long-term framework contracts they need to invest, grow and delivery social impact. I’m also working on Solomons’ own Land Ends health and wellbeing development.
What advice do you have to aspiring Quantity Surveyors or those thinking of a career change?
For me, it’s about the value you add to the client. If you want to be a good Quantity Surveyor, you need to bring that little bit extra. You have to have the passion and drive to pick up the phone to the client and say, “have you thought about doing this differently” or “have you thought about doing X, Y or Z so this makes a real difference”. You need to be flexible, adaptable, and have an eye on the bigger picture. While it could be said for any job, in some ways it is really relevant for Quantity Surveying – if you put in the time and work hard you can have a really rewarding career. There are so many facets to the role, so for people considering Quantity Surveying, it is about how you can bring your skills and experience and dovetail those to the various aspects of the role. That’s exactly what our apprentices with non-cognate backgrounds are doing at the moment. It’s about how to apply those skills and fine tuning them.
If you’ve been inspired by Ewan’s story so far, and his top tips for developing a career in Quantity Surveying, then click here to learn more about opportunities to join our teams across the North.