Back to UNI!

So last week I got myself back to University and hit the ground running after a huge push the week before to finish some of work before both University and a new high end residential job began.

Starting with contract law on a Monday morning isn’t always the most exciting way to start the day, but ending Tuesday with QS practice is a good way to ease myself back into the working week, and after arguing the toss with my lecturer on how to price up work as a PQS I returned to work to start the new project; not of course after getting to a pre start meeting in Silverstone for a job which I did some take off work on previously.

The new project then… A refurb and extension to a lovely building in London, creating a building with around 2000 square meters of space for its residents, of course including a pool! Now taking off has always been a fairly strong point for me, however a very complicated take of sheet meant I was back to looking at individual wall lengths and plotting these, instead of the usual full perimeter measure. I soon found that doing this was much easier with a scale rule and physical copy of a drawing and after 3 days solid of measurements, including a few other bits and bobs in-between, I managed to get the first 3 floors scheduled out into areas and perimeters for floor, wall and ceiling finishes. A new skill in using the schedule was learnt and I am sure on my return tomorrow the next stages will begin!

I hear you rolling your eyes and saying “usual QS trainee just measuring”, fear not I have had other responsibilities too! At the pre start meeting I was plunged into the contract and the preliminaries. Looking at the different aspects that needed to be updated or changed in order to give accuracy to the contract already drawn up. Looking into waste disposal and site access we planned a new route into the site and new service access for water and electricity. A challenge needed overcoming in a water pipe that had been unearthed and was required to be redirected before work started, more prices to be calculated there!

Further to this I have been working on a project in Tanzania. A challenge is an understatement! Issues have arisen in when documents have to be issued and changes in drawings being left unmarked meant myself and a colleague have had a last minute rush with the PM to label and identify the cost issues related to the new drawings issued by the architect! Now I don’t like to ‘bash’ anyone but it seems to me last minute decisions by designers of all disciplines seems to make the job of a QS considerably more difficult, or alternative;y the arguments between designers do too!

Finally on Friday I had my annual review! It appears to me I have managed to keep my head above the water and my only failings were down to a lack of experience. Ridge seem to be happy with my pace and quality of work but special note was put on the kinds of checks I can do and how I can use drawings to check my measurements without physically remeasuring all the items again. I am happy with this and feel I am cementing , excuse the pun,my place a apart of the QS team in the Oxford office.

What do the coming months hold? I foresee a busy few weeks as I work on the tender and estimate for the new project, for which the deadline has already been set for the end of October! I am looking forward to following this job, in detail, from start to finish and I have been lucky to get a senior QS who is ken to let me have some say and ask questions! The preliminaries will be written as a team to include myself so this is rather an exciting prospect for myself, despite the extra pressure it brings.

I hope to post again soon once everything gets into a routine with University and Work but I can’t foresee any issues as of yet!

Where has the time gone?

Ladies and gentleman I must admit I had completely forgotten about even writing this blog until a short time ago as things have been more busy than ever. I was away for a week or so in mid August with my family and since then so much has happened and I have had so little time. I apologise in advance for the length of this post!

Old jobs and new ones have all been taking off at some pace! I now am part of 4 high end residential projects, 2 educational facilities, 1 industrial facility and a formula one circuit. I am often found in London on site, taking stock of work and chasing up subcontractors for a break down of payments. It seems almost surreal that its now September and May feels part of the very distant past. I have come further, and I mean much further, than what I had thought. My skill set is broadening while the skills themselves are becoming more acute to the life of a QS and getting things right the first time…well almost.

I have been introduced to the world of bills over the past month, completing another BQ while measuring all works myself and coordinating with the design team to make sure the programme is cost efficient going forward after my bill has been sent out. This bill in particular is soon to be released for tender and I have teamed up with my manager to follow the work through to completion. Soon after I was given another BQ to produce for another high end residential job, this time teaming up with my manager and another colleague to produce the whole bill for the project, so something must be going right! I am yet to visit these two jobs but as both are in London I think a trip to see them is in order…lets see if the diary has a free day!

One area I have now had more involvement in is the legal side of a QS’s job in terms of the production of JCT preliminaries. I am soon to write my first full set and have these checked by our resident senior QS. The initial introduction to the contract side was nothing short of mind boggling, spanning so much information I was sure I would never get to grips with it. Again I proved myself wrong and found out that it just takes a little time and a lot of effort to understand and put these concepts into practice.

One aspect which is sure to keep me busy over the coming months is the start of works on my industrial project for a motor racing business. I am to attend a pre start meeting next week and then final measurements will be taken to check for discrepancies before our cost reporting task begins! The project is a fairly basic one but with many aspects of the job needing careful planning I foresee it being a time consuming project. One of my high end residential jobs in London is also coming to an end and sign of meetings with sub contractors have begun to make sure all payments are made correctly and with the necessary information. It is incredibly satisfying for me to look back on work being done and to say I played a role in the construction of a building. I suppose much like a painter steps back and admires his work, we QS’s do too, knowing that building will stand in its place for years, yet thanking the heavens the variation orders, interim payments and cost reports are now over.

So what’s on the cards now? Well its already time for my return to study as of Monday, contract law will start at 9pm and I can say that with what I am learning at work, I feel very confident in making a good start to my second year. Social events at work are coming thick and fast and new friends are always being made, with my LinkedIn account having many more connections than before. I am becoming more involved in issues to do with my trade, such as the implications of building regulations on building costs and all is well. I feel I can hold a conversation with a QS now and understand the concepts and theory behind what is being done more easily. My 2000 word essay is being checked to make sure I make fair argument to skipping my placement year at University and as far as these things are concerned my life is going in the right direction. Anyway, I must dash as I need to print some more drawings in order to start a measure for a new job, again in London, but for a familiar client. Getting from behind my pile of drawings, contract documents and desk is always a challenge at the minute but here goes! I will blog again when I can.

Parties, SPONs and the begging of my APC!


So whats been going on? Well above you can see a picture of me, my Fiancé and my Manager, along with one of my colleagues at the back, all enjoying a great evening at our summer party! This was a great chance for me to mingle with other members of the wider Ridge team along with enjoying a drink or two along the way. A great evening was had and the weather was nice and hot all evening. I spoke with many people within the business from CAD technicians through to senior partners and designers. I suddenly felt like I was very comfortable at Ridge whilst in the Taxi on the way home. I had, in the weeks previous, doubted slightly my ability to become a QS of any standard when I realised how much there really was to learn! Speaking with my manager and colleagues I soon realised that everyone had those moments and they often look back and think ‘I am glad I stuck it out’. So I did and I am happy to still be here.


Next on the list is me becoming a RICS registered and fully chartered surveyor. After a conversation with an equity partner I realised that starting sooner than later was better than leaving it. So I signed up, and am making daily entries into my logbook already! For those of you wondering what becoming chartered means, it is the point at which you are classed as a competent professional in the field of surveying and are awarded membership to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, who can provide help and support throughout your career. RICS accreditation also helps push you forward into more challenging roles and be a more employable member of the building community. If I push on it takes around 24 months to become chartered, if I pass, and includes a multitude of tests, interviews, assignments and log book entries to pass. So here’s to starting that and hopefully being able to sustain the work needed!


SPONS! This book is becoming second nature, along with SPONS Civils and SPONS Landscaping. The books are great for helping price documents at all stages, but be warned, calling a supplier to verify prices is sometimes wise, as I soon found out with certain items! It has however given me the ability, along with SMM7 and NRM 1 and 2 to give a much better quality, in terms of accuracy and clarity, bill to clients in order to cost effectively the work I am doing.


Whats planned I hear you ask? A holiday, I have a week left before a summer trip up to the Isle of Harris to see family and it is well needed, bar the 650 mile drive to the ferry, as this job really takes it out of you mentally. I find that as I learn more, tasks obviously become easier, however there is always a challenge waiting to be tackled after that. As such I often return home and find myself putting my shoes in the fridge or other such silly things caused by complete brain workouts!


Till next time folk…………………..

A Boris bike it is then!

Again I must apologise for the long gap between posts! Its very busy at work at the minute and the pile of files and drawings on my desk only proves that!


So what have I been up to? There has been a lot of firsts in the past couple of weeks from my first bill to my first argument with a sub contractor (nothing serious not to worry!)


So last week saw me complete my first bill. A large landscaping package for a high end residential development in London. It took me around 2 weeks on and off to do and taught me a hell of a lot about why SMM7 is so important to what we do as QS’s. On completion the bill ran to 14 pages, so around 3 and a half pages per house. I managed to grasp SSM7 by the end of it all and learnt all about NBS specifications. I talked with the landscape architect often and analysed drawings to give an accurate bill, which by the end of it I was very happy with! Lets see if the review of it goes well with my manager! I haven’t been to this site yet but I am assured I will do with time, as the project is still in the early stages of construction.


Staying on the topic of London I returned yesterday from a full day on site looking at the packages for Fiberous plaster and Lead work at another high end residential development, both of which are assigned under my responsibility. I worked closely with another graduate QS who is continuing to be very helpful and compliant with my requests! (Yes I make my own requests and it feels rather strange asking people to get or do things for me!) It was on our way round I met the head sub contractor for the ceiling packages and it quickly went pear-shaped after he asked me for 75,000 extra on top of the fee he had already estimated in order to finish the ceilings with the variations given. I naturally asked for a breakdown of where these costs had arisen from and that if there was proof to back up the costings and I had no queries on the breakdown I had been given then I would be able to issue the funds at the next valuation. I was soon met with a meagre response to which it was decided he would send me a breakdown of the rooms where variations had been made. The day was made even more fun by using Boris bikes to get to and from site to the cars and after being told I had 10 minutes to make it to the car I soon found myself sweating profusely and wishing I had just pulled a cab over! My legs were not exactly ‘sturdy’ after that ride let me assure you. All in all though a successful day leading to plenty more work to be done.


I am learning the cycles that you go through now from a pre tender estimate through to later construction stages and this is an eye opener as to how much involvement the modern QS has. I am constantly learning about how things are built and why they are built in such a way. I have learnt totally new aspects to the construction of ceilings, roofs, foundations and many more aspects which really has excited me greatly. I must say though its easy to get them muddled up in a meeting and look like a bit of a divvy!


So whats the plan going forward? More of the same I would say. I would like to look at value engineering more which is obviously a key feature of the role along with spending some more time understanding construction drawings, which can be very complicated for the bigger sites we work on.


I now feel accomplished. Not fully accomplished but very pleased with my quick progress! I don’t feel as left behind in meetings nor out of the picture when it comes to discussing key issues with a build. I am confident in measuring many aspects of a build and writing this up into bills and estimating sheets proficiently. I feel like I am truly coming on already and this is very rewarding. I can truly say I am thankful I chose this career it offers so much!


I will sign off here as I should get back too it! I will try and post some pictures up of me on site soon but of course I have to have permission from the client which can take some time! The works summer party is on Friday and maybe this will give me a chance to mingle some more with my colleagues and work out the creases in my game plan to becoming a quality QS more easily!

So much to do, so little time!

.Well sorry everyone for the lack of posts it’s been a busy few weeks for me! I am well and truly bedded in and it’s been a roller coaster so far.


Lets start with what I have learnt! I have begun learning about different packages of work and how to price them, keep on top of variations and how to man up and ask the awkward questions like, why has this been done? And how do you expect us to make a payment if there is no breakdown of costs? It’s been kind of mind boggling to see how many packages make up some of the projects we work on! I have now even been assigned my own packages which is great as I can learn the process of how the packages come together and how to manage changes. Even better was a trip to London to see the packages I have going into place and querying changes. It taught me a lot about building design and also got me involved with a fellow trainee who works for the contractor who liaises with me on my packages. It’s awesome who wouldn’t love managing their own workload, even with the responsibility.


I also have become part of a project from its conception so the measuring on this particular project has and is heavy going. I have found I very much enjoy measuring, it gives the opportunity to understand the project and the elements of its make up.


What else has been going on I hear you ask? Well I have my own load of projects I am a part of now so that brilliant. I have been measuring, pricing, analysing and interpreting figures, contract, variation orders and so much more! 


I have more trips on the cards to London, Winchester and who else knows where. The projects range from high end residential to schools and much more. I can now positively put together basic estimates, manage variables and take off onto a bill. I am getting better at understanding many legal terms and also different concepts within the discipline. There is still much to learn but I feel like I’m getting there slowly but surely. I have learnt that this game is all about the little things, the fine details and making sure something small doesn’t escalate in a lapse of concentration. Eyes on the prize ladies and gentleman . Eyes on the prize..


p.s I apologise for any bad spelling or punctuation, iPads aren’t always the best things to type on!

What A Week!

The third week ended yesterday in what can be described as a sleep deprived marathon! I don’t think I have been this tired in a long time, the constant learning is incredibly satisfying but incredibly tiring. So what have I been up to this week I hear you ask?

The first half of the week was very busy. I managed to rectify the issues with the pricing document I had managed to screw up on last week, so that was good, and I managed to measure some more aspects of the build which I wouldn’t have tried earlier, so a small feat within itself! I had a meeting with a friend of mine who works in the M&E (mechanical and engineering) department, and we have agreed on getting some figures together for the M&E aspects of the job, after going back to the spec for the build multiple times as it wasn’t clear whether or not a heat pump would be required. This all done we managed to get on and make good headway into the final stages of the document. 


The glorious weather on Tuesday saw a site visit to Winchester to what can only be described as the most beautiful place to construct anything. I can go into details but I am waiting on the OK to release some pictures of the site and some details of whats going on there and what is planned to be going on in the future. I can however say that after meeting with the PM, Structural Engineer and Architect I was very satisfied to be allowed to put across my own views on the project going forward. Everyone listened and took note of what I said and this was quite the achievement for me. 


The second half of the week was a return to measurements, SPONS and pricing documents. I was tasked with putting together a pre tender document for some landscaping works at a project in London we are currently working on. This site I am afraid can not and will not be reviled due to agreements with the client not to do so. I did however get introduced to SMM7, a measurement book which gives you what needs to be measured for an element of the build. For example when measuring stone slabs, you must give a measurement for the slabs and mortar used to set them as one, a measurement for the hardcore below it and a measure for the membrane, or cell web being used. Its not an easy thing to use SMM7, especially when your new to it, I did however soon get to grips with it and used it to measure service trenches and ducting, so there was another little victory for the week.


Apart from all this there is little to add I am afraid, office based work was the main focus however a BBQ put on by work on Friday saw a very nice end to the week. I feel I am learning daily and this is good, however I do feel like I make a hell of a lot of mistakes, not major ones, but lots of smaller ones, which can be very aggravating at times. I think when this happens I need to learn to just take a step back, gather myself and try again. After all I am just a learner at the minute. Its taken its toll this week I feel, I have learnt lots and regularly collapsed into a heap on arriving home but is learning not what its all about?


Well a very busy second half of the week I must say. Lots to talk about so I will jump straight in!

First on the agenda SPONS! If any of you don’t know about spins, it is coupled with the NRM as a bible for those QS’s among us! Spons is a pricing book which for the past 3 days I have lived out of. Its an awesome bit of kit once you get used to it, or for me once you get your measurements wrong and come in around 200,000 over your costings 😉 I had spent 2 and a half days working on a cost analysis for a post tender document, however, I soon realised the trials and tribulations of calibrating measuring software, that is a realised them  and a half days in :s Going through the project with my colleague made me realise this and I could have honestly punched the computer, and myself, for making such a stupid mistake. I had calibrated all my measurements wrong, not largely wrong, minority wrong. This was a nightmare, and a pat on the back all at the same time. I was only marginally off, which meant that only 70% of the work needed starting again. However…. I realised I had learnt such a vast amount about measuring and estimating when I started it again, with a properly calibrated piece of software may I add, and finished what had just 2 days ago taken a full day to do in a matter of 2 hours. I didn’t get subjected to any stick as apparently everyone has done it, I was clearly annoyed yet everyone was supportive. Another tribulation turned triumph in my book, we all make mistakes, I’m just glad mine was this early on before we sent the document out! So what did I learn here? Always double check, always be clear on your workings and always always always get someone else to check too! Spons all figured out I left the office, all be it later than usual, with a properly priced first half of a document, which despite my embarrassment at making such an easy mistake, I soon forgot about and moved forward from…even if I only moved a mile down the road to the pub with one of my other colleagues 😀


So what else has been going on I here you cry, well it seems we have all taken a shining to “It Aint Half Hot Mum”, a sitcom series from the 70’s and 80’s which the min line is “I bet they didn’t teach you about that Mr University Education” now a friendly reminder from my team that when I learn something and get very happy with myself I am soon brought back down to planet QS. I have learnt how to measure steel and foundations properly also this week, which on first peek at the drawings, I was very much over faced. Turns out its one of my favourite things to measure, I wonder if thats because the drawing looks like a colouring book when your finished with it? My first attempt was very much a disaster with foundations, only because from a long calculation I missed a division symbol on excel and that soon bumped up the price to 350,000 (it should have been 13000 oooops). Its all part of the fun of learning and everyone has been very supportive over my mistakes and reminisced about their own mistakes as a trainee. Its very much a positive experience even when it all goes bottoms up!


One of my highlight of the week was one of the partners, who is very involved with our course, explaining how much he enjoyed one of my pieces of work he came across. Yes mother it was the piece on your house, and he was very impressed with it. Personally, it is very nice to have someone who is interested in what I do outside of the office rather than just in it!


I also had my first experience of claiming expenses this week. It was somewhat funny to see my managers face when I gave him my expenses sheet after only 2 weeks of work. It was also on the other hand doing something which I associated with people higher up in the business, being extended to everyone. This seems like a company who cares, not just about your well-being but about your development. So thanks again for that Ridge.


The agenda next week then. All I know is there is a tender document to rectify and my first visit to a construction site that is well underway. Despite the project being a small one I can’t wait to be shown first hand how to take measurements off while a project is ongoing. Furthermore, its always very satisfying to be a part of a project which is ongoing, as I learnt when working as a labourer, you can stand back and say I did that and its going to be there for a good length of time, and when its finished you can say you were a part of it, a more satisfying work experience I am yet to feel! Other than that I think it will be more Spons, NRM and maybe starting to look at some of the legal side of the role, so at least I can cover my arse if I get into trouble with a client 😉


I think I shall leave it there for this week, I am absolutely knackered to say the least and have a busy weekend ahead. Enjoy your weekend everyone and I shall post again next week!

Wait a minute is it only Tuesday?


So, it’s only Tuesday and I already feel the need to post again as since Thursday last week there has been many developments.

Friday gave way to my first experience of QS hands on work. I was assigned with measuring some drawings to check if the GIA (gross internal area) the architect calculated was correct. It wasn’t far off but I sorted it out, you know it’s all in a days work 😉 this was the first boost as I felt I was doing something professional. Second job of the day was to manually check some of the calculations done by other employees. I didn’t find any mistakes so either I was wrong or we both were. Chances are we were both right because well, we are all brilliant of course!

The weekend was the usually relaxing affair…not! Two dogs and a house to clean along with getting used to ironing shirts. Not the best of fun but then along came Monday. I am rubbish on Mondays but there wasn’t chance for that as I was going to my first site visit and meeting! I came prepared with my high vis jackets and hard hat( also known as a lid I have learnt) and I set off with my colleague to the site. Together we ended up talking about a career as a QS and it was great to have someone spend the time explaining all the ins and outs.

The site visit was to a project which had begun that day and a meeting with the PM, QS, Architect and structural engineer gave me a great insight into how the roles of each individual work while on project. Actually, as it turns out, everyone does a hell of a lot more than I thought. Arguments were at a minimum and the meeting soon led to a site tour. It was incredibly beneficial for me to see how a project develops and where my work will sit in the project and it’s life cycle. A great day on the whole and my colleague helped on both car journeys to inform me and encourage me into my working life, the gent seemed genuinely happy to see my excitement at my work and it was incredibly motivating for me.

Today started off well and continued on even better. Me and the colleague from the previous day are starting a post tender estimate for one of the jobs we looked at before our meeting. I was very proud to be asked to do the measurements and documents for the job. Being assured ” it doesn’t matter if your measurements are right or wrong, measure what you can and we will review it”. Another responsibility I was very humbled to have been offered. I opened up the drawings and began taking measurements and calculating floor finishes, guttering, down pipes, floor finishes, stair cases, screeds, foundations and much more. I then sat down in the afternoon to go through my measurements…

The question was, were any of them right…yes about 4 of the 30 ;). So what I thought was a great start was a good effort. However still no nasty comments or anyone making me feel stupid. The colleague who I was working with then sat with me, taking time from his very busy schedule, to help and show me the methods I should use. Also he helped me to get my head around the proper use of the NRM 1 ( new rules of measurement). I then started my measurements again and did the first few properly before closing for the day.

The past 3 days in the office have been brilliant. Working with my colleague has been brilliant he is very supportive and helpful in showing me the ropes. Calculating things in an industry standard format. He has taught me how to be clear in my calculations so clients can see the breakdown in an understandable manner.

The week is far from out and I am looking forward to learning more about the calculations and presenting them. I am excited to get working on the document and taking my measurements. It also looks like a trip to London is on the cards soon to see some sites that are further along in the sense of construction work. I feel settled and am enjoying the challenges now, and despite the early starts, I am fully committed to growing my skill set. The fruits of my labours are becoming evident and I feel a valued member of the team already. I think some of that has been helped by people’s positive reaction to my blog, to me and to genuinely wanting to help me grow as an individual into my career.

My goals for the rest of the week are to use NRM1 correctly and finish my estimate on budget. A simple sounding task but one which is proving time consuming and difficult. I have already improved on my work immensely just with an hour spent with a colleague. Let’s see if I can put it all into practice and get my figures to match! As you can see my bag for work is already packed and my jacket ready for the rain due tomorrow. As my fiancé likes to jokingly proclaim ” quantity surveyor in the house” when I get in I should maybe prove it by getting this document and my figures in the right working order…… I wonder if I will still get my tea made for me if I get it wrong?

It Begins…


In 4 days time I will begin my career as a Quantity Surveyor for Ridge and Partners LLP. As a QS student at Oxford Brookes, currently in my first year, I am required to partake in 38weeks of paid work which is degree related in order to complete the course. Therefor, I have decided to blog my activities at work and make regular entries for my lecturers, family and employers to see and in reference to my final two years of study.


I believe more explanation is in order so please forgive the long winded post that is below, some other posts may follow the same route, but in order to give a rounded and interesting viewpoint I feel I must explain fully.


So why did I even start on the road to becoming a QS? The simple and most appropriate explanation is my stepdad, Pete. It was some years ago that I took to building sites and renovations with Pete and began to learn from him some of the many tricks of the building trade. I always looked up to Pete, very much a sturdy man who by all means scared the living daylights out of me on an almost regular basis. However something puzzled me about him; why, if it causes him to be as grubby as sin and fall asleep standing up holding a cup of tea, does he continue to be involved in the trade? They even decided to go to the Hebrides some years later and build a house of there own without the help of contractors!(  Two weeks after going on my first building site I realised. Yes its hard work but my god is it rewarding. Watching what you have put many months of effort into finally materialise, and at some pace, is to me, far more satisfying than meeting a sales target. Im not knocking those who do get a kick from it, we all have our enjoyments and after trying it, I definitely found it was not one of mine. Back to the story. So after working with my stepdad and moving out, I ended up doing a plethora of other jobs, mostly not building related, I suddenly realised that it was within the building world my heart lay. The question was, where? Joinery, brick laying, architecture, planning, project management I couldn’t decide until I finished my first degree in business management and realised that, as boring as it sounds, I very much enjoyed mathematics. Putting two and two together I, instead of making four, got to Oxford Brookes degree pages and was sat in front of an application for their BSc in Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management. There it is, how I got to this place I find myself in and all thanks to my stepdad and the time he took to teach me his ways, so here’s to you Pete!


Once at Brookes I set my mind to good grades, and towards the second half of the year I was put in contact with Ridge by a family friend who suggested I speak with them about some work experience. I looked at other places such as MACE and Laing O’Rourke but non seemed to catch my attention as Ridge. After speaking with my head of course I realised that, having already done my first degree while working, I could do the same and work part time 3 days a week while studying, bypassing my 3rd year and heading straight for my dissertation year after year 2. This only spurred me on to get my foot in the door where I could and try to put myself out there with what little experience I have. Moreover, why wouldn’t I want to get out there, the world is difficult enough for graduates and I knew if I got going early I should be able to get myself on the straight and narrow fairly sharpish. On speaking with Ridge I was invited in for a chat and I attended with an open mind to see what they had to say. It wasn’t long after pulling into the car park that the open mind became a closed one after reading some of their portfolios online I had high expectations but the office itself was so beautiful I was sold long before. I can hear the shouts of “thats no reason to want to work somewhere” being cried out in the minds of whoever is reading this and yes your right it wasn’t I still had an agenda and went for the interview all the same. Around an hour and a half later I vacated the office and, with a spring in my step left in the hope of being called with an opportunity. 4 weeks later I signed the contract and it was set in stone. on the 27th May 2014 I would start with Ridge as a trainee QS. Your still asking yourself why I chose them and what happened in the interview aren’t you? Heres why:

  • Ridge LLP is founded on its staff, they value every one of them and the director knew nearly all of them by first name. To put that into perspective, they are over 100 staff at this particular office, how many of you could remember that when they all work in different departments?
  • The company itself is a multi-discipline construction consultancy, offering not only QS services but M&E Surveying, architecture, planning consultancy, structural engineering and much more. I may be based only within the QS department but how wonderful I believe it will be to see all these processes in action together.
  • Both gentlemen interviewing me had started many years before with Ridge after or while studying at Oxford Brookes. This highlighted to me 1, high staff retention and 2, I would be understood as a student.
  • Opportunities. The company has a multitude of offices and clients all over the globe, I hope that I will have the opportunity to be a part of a multinational project and to see how other countries work in their own built environment.


I think its important to say what I am looking to achieve from my placement with Ridge. For me it comes under three categories; Knowledge, Experience and Enjoyment. Knowledge because the company can offer me an insight and understanding of the ways in which a consultancy work and have offered to invest the time in me. I want to give back to the firm for doing this. I want to gain knowledge of the processes and tasks done at Ridge in order to do a good job and broaden my intellectual understanding of the role. Experience; Ridge operate on a multitude of large and small contracts on both large and small projects, if I can gain some experience of even a small percentage of this then I am grateful wholeheartedly for the time that has been afforded of me. Enjoyment, I want to enjoy my career as a QS, not just the tasks, but the people, the places and the whole work based culture of what I am doing.


Many of you may be bored by now so I apologise for that but I must continue on and, if possible, answer the question of why write this blog? The basic answer is because I have to. I have to log my placement in some form and what way better than to do it on a blog? I can upload pictures and videos and it makes my life simpler because I can do it from anywhere when I get a free minute. They are, however, other personal reasons for doing this. I will have something to look back on after the time is done and to reflect on what I did well and what I didn’t do well and that is never a bad thing. Also, this is the start of my career, what all the studying and late nights are for. I like the idea of being able to look back, more than likely laugh at my naivety and appreciate how far I have come.


I will now close here and write again soon. Heres to me, heres to Ridge and heres to a long and prosperous career. Also, heres a huge thanks to my stepdad, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now.