The most recent of clients has seen myself currently out in Qatar pretty much covering everything from accommodation and office buildings to buildings relating to oil and gas processing.
One of the things when asset surveying for verification you start to pick up a lot of things either missed or not in the system for various reasons. But even so still need to be logged even if removed at a later date.
Primarily because if its on the data collection it can be questioned and then added, removed or retained for the project. Each decision has an impact on cost depending on how its handled.
Adding to that even if the client’s list is 100% accurate and everything they say they have is there you have to analyse and compare for the length of contract type. For example if its all inclusive for 5 years will the equipment last that long? Are there spares or replacements that will need to be budgeted for? What type of maintenance regime is being used?
Because every contract I have worked on has always involved some jiggling be it pricing, moving of assets to different budgets or removing or adding of equipment. Which is why gathering the correct data and making sure you have as much of it as possible even if it seems a little irrelevant sometimes is worth the effort if you have the time.
Sometimes there is only time for a specific task e.g. just confirming things are there which I advise making clear to whoever your client is that this is all that will be carried out due to time restraints. Because if you see something e.g. 10 brand new Chiller units replacing 5 old ones due to a company expansion you may flag up that there is new units and an additional building but time for getting all the information such as serial numbers etc. you may not be able to do.
I do enjoy this type of work and also interesting travelling to different countries as you get to see the variance in standards, equipment and the affects of specific regional weather on equipment. E.g. a regular sand blasting in the deserts doesn’t do air conditioning any good and does affect their life considerably. At the same time another area can be heavily affected by sea air causing corrosion of a different kind with the same result. But the timeframes of damage are different which is why I enjoy understanding the differences and how these impact on equipment. Because lets face it a manufacturers guidelines etc. will often not cover these issues due to harsh environments taking things out of scope and warranty.
Question should be where can outsourcing help with asset surveying. Fact is the Philippines is the number one for BPO (business processing outsourcing) currently on the planet.
Its not going to change anytime soon and in fact when I am not working as an asset surveyor I live out in the Philippines myself. Part of that has made me look at the outsourcing industry myself as a viable assistance to asset surveying.
Its not a case of taking jobs from the UK but adding a Swiss army knife of skills to the mix that are often difficult to get on short-term contracts due to the intensive training needed to teach people to do things like processing the data gathered.
Its why I started my own Philippines outsourcing business not only for others but also means that I can feed work back to my office from abroad. The staff I have are trained in Excel and data entry. They have learned the abbreviations and adaptable to poor hand writing and other problems that often occur when surveyors send data back in to an office.
How the system works is that a surveyor completes his day of data gathering, scans the documents and its emailed to the Philippines. The guys in the Philippines then work while the surveyors sleep due to the time difference. By the time the surveyors are awake yesterdays work is already processed and in their email inbox in Excel format.
Surprisingly simple but also a great way to save money on asset data collection as your fully aware of how much data has been gathered per day and just as importantly it can be analysed for mistakes daily.
Ok I have to admit I love surveying but in general I enjoy doing any job well. What I find with asset surveying though is you can often take data as far as a client wants and beyond!
There is so much information that most people overlook simply because they haven’t gone so in depth for it or even more so important never asked people who know how to get the data what they want.
Being able to not only show true information that shows the cost of labour, number of employees needed, maintenance regimes depending on budget, manufacturers specification, company specifications or industry standards as well as many other variables you can show how much each thing affects the overall annual costs.
For example a if you took a manufacturers recommended maintenance for condensers on air conditioning units you would find it doesn’t come anywhere near that which is needed for desert conditions. Adapting the maintenance and showing the variables of if they increased maintenance, what to expect if they kept to manufacturers recommendations or went to a run to fail program. You could actually build 3 different scenario’s and show the annual costs and labour needed.
Because in reality sometimes it doesn’t make sense to maintain equipment beyond its expectations as it could simply be burning money which could instead be replacing units on a regular basis and reducing costs as well as improving efficiencies of the units.
Its partly why asset surveying appeals to me as you can find and show where a company can not only save money but predict where they will need to invest or maintain more. Getting the balance right helps keep companies producing and within realistic costing. The big issues these days is showing the viability of what we do as companies don’t often see the value until we are finished and showing figures.
I have been involved in the asset surveying myself for years as well as general surveying and building surveying. All in all though if your wanting a varied and interesting career I highly recommend surveying!
How do I find a job as a surveyor in the UK? Is a question that crops up regularly on LinkedIn and I have to ask why?
Reason being is generally it takes me a couple of days to find my next contract and has done for over a decade.
I can understand people lacking experience struggling as from that perspective it is a hard field to break into. But I would also look at broader options and then work back to Surveying full-time.
For example there is often vacancies involving quotation and management roles within the FM industry. I have worked with some very large companies in the FM Industry including Carillion, Johnson Controls, Integral Services, Mowlem to name a few. Primarily though there is always good people needed. Not always the perfect role you wanted but at worst a starting point and a foot in the door. If your not into Facilities Maintenance I do believe its much harder in the construction industry these days due to the collapse of the market.
I generally stick to service and maintenance contracts which may seem small scale but my last project I worked on was $80 million. Most projects are at least £4million as its the organising, planning and development of FM services I specialise in these days.
But even for housing associations which are normally paying a lower end salary if you can get an interview and show your commitment and interest in the role you may get a look in.
Many people I have come across within social housing have been working towards “Becoming” surveyors and not actually skilled or qualified yet. This alone shows there is a demand within the social housing sector. But adding to that nearly every role I did for social housing had been vacant at least 12 months and the opportunity of permanent working was there if I wanted it.
I would recommend Hays Montrose or Venn Group for work within the social housing market. Both are agencies and both work nationwide. What I would ask though is how serious are you about working in surveying.
Reason being is that I move where the work is and always have, this has given me opportunities to stay in work while others say they can’t find any as well as continuity.