Rachel Dick FRICS tells RICS Recruit how excited she is to be a part of embedding standards, and about her journey to RICS.
How did you become interested in the property profession?
I was always really passionate about geography and land use management as a method to bring about economic, social and environmental benefits. During my undergraduate studies I was fortunate enough to get a summer placement with the Economic Development Department at Dundee City Council.
This role included maintaining a commercial property database which produced a quarterly available property report showing the amount, cost and condition of industrial, retail and office space across the city. The team were all fully qualified quantity and building surveyors and this was the first time I came to understand the significance of professional accreditation and the RICS.
What was your experience coming in to the industry as a non-cognate?
As my undergraduate degree was accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) I assumed I would become a chartered planner. However, I was offered a position on a taught Masters and then a Doctoral degree with a specific focus on cement and concrete technology at the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Dundee.
My first role in the industry (2006) was with a firm of quantity surveyors (BWA, Bromley) where I was taught whole life cost modelling and operational cost benchmarking. Bernard Williams the founder of BWA mentored me in developing my benchmarking skills and this was further built on when I joined EC Harris [Arcadis] in 2007 where I specialised in public sector finance projects with a specific focus on healthcare environments.
What is a typical working day like for you?
In consultancy, no two days are the same because no two clients ever have exactly the same challenges. Whilst there are some similarities to draw on in terms of running large and complex estates every building or asset base faces specific local challenges around demographics, geography, frequency and intensity of use and the building age, design and condition.
What has been a career highlight/most interesting project so far?
I worked for IBM for a couple of years (2012 -2014) where I created business architecture for clients specifically in the water sector who were implementing new systems and technology. This role included examining governance and approvals processes to undertake major and minor capital works, operational maintenance, predictive maintenance analytics and road mapping decision support tools as part of the asset management business unit.
I spent a year in Eire (2013) as part of a team who helped establish the newly formed Irish Water company. What I found surprising is that there is a distinct lack of professional bodies in facilities and asset management. However, I was always asked by the client to recommend new guidance and standards. Once the project was completed I was invited back to talk about RICS and their FM case studies which I was more than pleased to do.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
For me there are two aspects which I feel both proud and humble about, gaining Fellowship at RICS in 2013 and gaining a position with the Data Services team at RICS at the beginning of 2016. We have an opportunity to help embed our standards into technology platforms and I am very excited to be a part of the leading built environment professional body that will be in a position to do that.
My relationship with RICS will be for the rest of my life, it gives my clients confidence in my capability and means I keep my skills base relevant through continual professional development and RICS training.