Construction manager on-site

Careers in the built environment

I am often asked ‘what type of careers are there in the built environment?’ Most young people considering degrees in this subject are eager to find out. At Coventry University, our courses in this field are aimed at the professional side of the built environment.

These are:

  • Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management
  • Building Surveying
  • Real Estate and Property Management
  • Construction Project Management.

Each of these courses has a different professional role attached to them, with different reasons for signing up to each.

In this blog, I will explain in a bit more detail what each profession and course entails and why you should consider each as a career.

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Building surveying

Professionals entering this industry will typically work on properties of all types and varying ages, some historical, some modern, and they will carry out a series of tasks on these projects ranging from pathology investigations (identifying defects and suggesting remedial measures), refurbishment and repair advice, planning and designing, energy assessments, strategic asset management planning and much more.

Students interested in technical skills, problem-solving, investigation, and a general interest in the built environment would ideally suit this role. Typical salaries will start in the region of £27,000 per annum upon graduating and will grow from there. You could have the opportunity to work for local and central government, building surveying consultancy firms and developers, in both private and professional practice.

Construction project managers

Entry-level professionals in this sector work predominantly for contractors or developers who will ultimately produce the physical building or infrastructure. It is also possible to work as a construction expert for the consultancy team in modern projects where often design and build can happen at the same time. Typical activities for these professionals would involve programming and planning project activities, controlling and organising resources for the project, communicating with clients, and other stakeholders on a project etc.

A student who is interested in leadership and management, problem-solving, negotiating and communicating, and an interest in producing and building would ideally suit this role. Typical salaries are in the region of £30,000 for graduates depending on where you work and in which sector. You will usually work for contractors or developers working on any size project from small £50,000 projects up to projects running into the billions.  


Real estate and property management

You will work mainly with properties and estates looking at legal and financial aspects, with the key aim of making those properties and surrounding areas as efficiently run as possible. While this can involve generating profit, it also must be done in a sustainable way and therefore there is far more to this course than just profit generation. Typical activities that these professionals will be involved with are financial and cost management and projections, valuation appraisal, development and refurbishment design and management etc.

Students interested in this profession will be analytically minded, and have an interest in managing and leadership (although this is more likely to be of properties than people), and an overall interest in properties and problem-solving. They also need to develop skills in communication. Typical starting salaries can vary but graduates could earn in the region of £27,000 depending on the sector they end up in.

Associate Head of School - Recruitment and Marketing, EEC School of Energy, Construction and Environment

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