The technology and building sectors are moving together at such an accelerated pace that one thing’s certain: if you’re wondering when’s the right time to get on board, now’s good.
There’s a paradigm shift recalibrating the surveying world, and at the heart of it all is data. Collecting it, making sense of it, and sharing it. Harnessing the ways in which data can be used in decision making is something surveyors in every discipline need to be comfortable with. Understanding and applying that data is a skill that every surveyor – from building to land, quantity to valuation – needs in their toolkit when looking for a new surveying job.
“There’s no doubt that the profession is moving towards a knowledge-based economy, leaving a lot of the old process-led working practices behind,” says Elliot Wright, from Carriera Executive Search. “From a recruitment standpoint, we always take it back to basics. It’s how the tools and the tech can free candidates up to do their job,” he says, “and how that digitisation add real value to clients.”
“Tech can be trained, skill is earned,” he adds.
The surveying tools you need to know
“Of course, we’d expect familiarity with cloud-based estimating solutions such as CostX if you’re wanting to take your valuation career to the next level. CAD Measure too is key. Both are tools to help you get on with the job,” Elliot says. “We’re interested in people who understand the data and are able to review, check its accuracy and veracity, and produce reports that stack up.”
While tech and its associated tools has led to a reduction in the time between instruction and advice offered to the client, it’s that advice – that expert analysis of the raw data – that remains at the heart of every surveyor’s skill set. And, at least as yet, says Elliot, there’s no software package that can replicate that.
“Machines can crunch numbers, but at the end of the day, that’s just what they are – numbers. Surveyors are there to translate these into decisions.”
Edgar Cowen’s Andy Pearson agrees. “There’s no doubt surveying is a completely different profession to what it was 15 years ago, and for all disciplines. The use of 3D surveying is widespread now, and every job spec will take familiarisation with it for granted,” he says. “Employers are looking at how the tech frees you up to make informed decisions, measurements or valuations.”
Employers look for candidates who embrace new tech
For Andrew comments: “If there’s a bespoke software package you use to perform a particular role, there will be a competing package that does a similar job. From a prospective employer’s standpoint, you need to show a keenness to embrace new tech and not be a dinosaur.”
Adaptability and flexibility are the keywords, Andrew says. “When tech moves so fast and the pace of change continues to accelerate, it’s even more important for candidates to keep their CPD in check.”
“Take 3D laser scanning,” Andy says, pinpointing a field where tech is moving at pace. “It’s not important which technology you use to capture your information as long as you know how to use it. An employer will also expect you to have measured building surveying experience."
“Using drones in measurement surveying is great, and we’re only going to see more of this. Often this can be taught on the job and a company is far more likely to hire you if you’re producing reports that are accurate and timely,” Andy explains.
For Elliot, it’s about what the algorithms and software packages are telling us. “Understanding how this data can be used in decision making, contract management and valuation is essential,” he says. “Businesses are looking for someone to do a job, not hide behind software.”
Role of automation in the future of surveying
“If a task is structured, repeatable and predictable, then it will be automated,” says Elliot. “Technology can eliminate human error, but it can’t give clients a considered, professional opinion on things that are ambiguous or uncertain.”
Andrew agrees: “Take BIM, and VR, they’re both amazing, exciting developments, as are the new ways of working, and the awareness of collaboration they open up. As surveyors we are selling our knowledge, skill and experience. We must use these tools to provide better, more intelligent business insight to our stakeholders.”
The insight behind the data
In short, being adaptable and open to new sophisticated technologies that make processes ever faster, more accurate and more shareable is crucial. But don't rely on just proptech. When it comes to high quality surveying work, being able to apply that data is key.