Construction Technology is the most important and difficult competency to master for developing quantity surveyors.
Proficiency in this competency is what differentiates us from other types of consultants. After all, quantity surveyors manage the finances and costs of construction projects - this our subject matter.
Despite this - it can sometimes be very overwhelming to determine what you actually need to know.
Here are some ways you can level up and do better.
Look - I came from a non-construction background and I was completely out of my depth when I first started as a quantity surveyor. One thing that really helped to understand the very basics of construction was having a a few good books to hand as reference material.
Here some of the books I used:
Barry's Introduction to Construction of Buildings by Stephen Emmitt - This is a really good book because it explains the science behind certain forms of construction. This is the introductory version but there is and advanced version too which explains more complex construction techniques.
Chudley and Green's Building Construction Handbook by Roy Chudley - Another excellent book with diagrams going through the basics of construction from an elemental level. I would get this book first because the diagrams really do help you visualise the different forms of construction.
The Penguin Dictionary of Building by John S Scott and James Mclean - I always keep this on my desk. Whenever I come across a construction related word I don't know I use this dictionary. The explanations are clear and simple which really help to breakdown a topic.
These books will really help you to build a solid foundation. Don't worry if things don't make sense straight away - some concepts need to "marinate" in your head for a while before it clicks.
Sometimes just reading about something won't work.
Reading will give you a theoretical understanding but seeing the actual physical construction on site will really help to cement the concept into your mind.
In the early stages of your career, whenever you visit site you should do the following:
Take Pictures If there is something on site that you don't understand, snap it with your phone. You can then use this to ask questions to the site manager or your colleagues about what is actually happening on site.
Use the Pricing Document - Have a copy of the bill of quantities or schedule of work to hand so you can quickly reference the activities on site. Sometimes it helps to visualise where things will be built so you can understand the dimensions and scale of a construction activity. The more you visit the construction site, the more you will become accustomed to the ways of building.
I love documentaries.
If you find them boring, then watch a documentary about people building things you like e.g. football stadiums, skyscrapers or railway tunnels! Documentaries are cheat code because they encompass the visual aspect of site visits with some of the theory you would get from textbooks.
Before I even started in quantity surveying, I used to like watching this show called Megastructures by National Geographic. The show used to visit mega-projects like the Burj al Arab and provide a lot of good construction information. The information provided was not UK specific - but it is still useful to know what techniques other countries use for building!
That's all for this post folks - if you have any queries drop me a message on LinkedIn!