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#004 QS Conversion Courses 📚

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

Hello friends 👋

If, like me, you decided to become a QS after you already completed your first undergraduate degree, and you want to get chartered by the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), you must complete a conversion course.

It’s really important that the course you sign up for is accredited by the RICS.

Most of the large consultant QS firms that offer graduate programs will sponsor non-cognate graduates to undertake the conversion course.

Bear in mind – when such firms make investments in you, they will expect you to stick around for approximately 2 years after you have completed your degree.

So make sure you carefully read any contract that is put in front of you.

Course Content

My undergrad was a Law degree and it was very, very difficult. I hated it at the time, but it made things a lot easier for me afterwards.

The Masters conversion course I was on wasn’t overly difficult. There were some new concepts which you have to get used to, but – it wasn’t rocket science. The toughest part was understanding construction technology.

Most courses QS conversions courses tend to cover the following:

  1. Procurement & Tendering 🛍️ understanding the different ways in which construction projects can be procured and the consequent effects of procurement strategies on tendering.

  2. Building Economics 🔢 understanding the commercial aspects of a construction project during the pre-contract phase, including costs, financing, value management and cost control.

  3. Law 👨‍⚖️ understanding the aspects of the English legal system which impact the construction sector;

  4. Contract Administration 📜 understanding various standards form of contract and how they are administered from commencement to final certification;

  5. Sustainable Construction 🏗️ understanding the basic principle of construction technology, including modern, innovative and traditional construction;

  6. Construction Management 👷. understanding the personal and organisational aspects of construction management, with a focus on the key parties of construction projects;

  7. Professional Cost Management 💰 understanding the key issues and challenges quantity surveyors face when undertaking their cost management function;

  8. Dissertation 📚. Usually on some element related to construction. I did mine on BIM!

The above is what was covered in my course, but after a quick look around, most course providers offer a similar variation.

Working and Studying

Although the conversion course is not that difficult, you have to fit the work in and around the day job. Some firms offer a ‘day-release, whereas others expect you to fit it in outside of working hours.

This requires you to have good time management skills. You need to prioritise and make sure you get your weekly allocated learning done, or it will (as I have learnt painfully) all pile-up and will result in a mad scramble prior to exams.

You must be selfish. There may be times at work where there are deadlines to meet – but your employers should (and most probably will) understand that you need to prioritise your conversion course.

The course content in isolation might not actually make sense, especially if you are not from a construction background. My biggest piece of advice to any new non-cognate QS is to ask your colleagues as many questions as possible. It is the best way to learn.

There is no such thing as a stupid question.

The colleagues in your workplace will hopefully be your biggest asset. If they see that you are enthusiastic and proactive they will support you.

If you have any questions on conversion courses please drop me a line and I will try and get back to you! 👍

Interesting Links 📌

  1. 🔉 Podcast of the week: Bob Iger — CEO and Chairman of Disney (#406) I recommended Bob Iger’s book a few weeks back and I discovered that he did a podcast with Tim Ferriss. He goes into a bit more depth around some of the key moments in the book. For example, he discusses his interactions with Steve Jobs and how Steve would randomly call him up on weekends to bounce ideas and trash some of the movies that Disney had just released! Bob read a really powerful quote from Teddy Roosevelt which I think is just brilliant:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

2. 🧠 Article of the week: How to Stay Focused When You Get Bored Working Toward Your Goals | James Clear Powerful article about how successful people are those that continue to grind through the mundane. I think the key point he makes is that you have to fall in love with the process of your desired goal. In my case, I’m trying to build up this blog, but sometimes I find it difficult to find material. One of the ways I try to enjoy the process is by sharing things that I wish someone else had shown me. I try to use software and tools that reduce the friction of me creating some form of content. It’s a great article and it might help you change your perception on dealing with your daily mundane activities …

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