Anil Singh Rana, the youngest FRICS in Africa, has had a career that spans the globe. We spoke to Anil about what it's like being a surveyor in the modern world.
How has your RICS qualification affected your career?
The qualification has enabled me to become an international volunteer mentor for RICS APC candidates across continents. I have had the opportunity to mentor candidates in Australia, Mauritius, South Africa and England to meet the requirements of the competencies, while being culturally sensitive and aware of differing business practices.
Having been a passionate enthusiast for the built environment and a global ambassador for RICS for more than a decade, it was indeed a watershed moment when I became an FRICS at 35 – the youngest ever Fellow in Africa.
I am now working for one of the fastest-growing and emerging multidisciplinary practices in London. Having started there as a graduate, I am now an associate project manager, and look after a number of clients in the education and social sectors. It is great to work in an experienced, interdisciplinary team where everybody is passionate about what they do.
What is a typical working day like?
Fortunately, there is no such thing as a typical working day, and that is what sets our profession apart from others. Every project and client is different. One day I may have my project management hat on, the next my surveying hat, and on another day I could be using both sets of skills to assist the team or meet a client’s request at short notice. In the evening, depending on what time I reach home, I put my fatherhood hat on – which requires a whole new set of project management skills.
What lessons have you learned so far in your career?
Amazingly, I am still learning, and will probably never stop as the industry is always evolving.
Having worked in numerous practices in both London and Mauritius, I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to maintain the highest ethical standards in our day-to-day activities. Behaving ethically is paramount for me as a chartered surveyor. Never before has the profession seen clients demanding greater transparency and competency from trustworthy professionals.
What changes have you seen in the industry over the past decade?
In simple terms, the emergence of more joined-up thinking, alongside shared information management and carbon reduction in a more-for-less environment. With the advent of increasingly sustainable buildings, building information modelling at Level 2, the revolutionary internet of things and off-site manufacture, there has been a paradigm shift, bringing increased communication, integration, innovation and efficiency with collaboration and ethics at the heart.
The industry is definitely heading in the right direction, but will really see the benefits of collaboration once construction sites are fully digitised and site foremen use their tablets as a norm rather than an exception.
Something close to my heart is inclusive design. Having delivered an array of special needs projects, the UK industry has made great strides in this field by embracing and fostering such design in buildings and infrastructure, to create first-class environments that are accessible and safe for people with special needs.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in the industry?
I have provided advice to myriad young people in our industry over the years. The construction industry is one of the best to be in due to its unique technical challenges and opportunities. Every building and project brings its own complexities.
The global networking opportunities are immense, particularly if you are a member of RICS, and I have had the chance to experience this first hand. It is an opportunity to make real changes to people’s lives by shaping the environment around them.
Construction is varied, fun and unlikely to be a desk-bound office job, offering plenty of exciting opportunities.
Lastly, where do you see your career heading over the next 10 years?
The satisfaction from getting people chartered is an indescribable feeling. Time permitting, I would love to mentor more APC candidates and be a global ambassador for RICS. As for my career progression, I aim to become a director in my current company.