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Industry Focus - with Lindsay Richards

Industry Focus - with Lindsay Richards

Focus on…

Career steps with Chartered Building Engineer and Chartered Quantity Surveyor Lindsay Richards BSc MBA C.Build E MCABE…

Q.      What is your current role and how long have you been in the position?

A.        I am Managing Director of the Richards Partnership Ltd, an engineering and surveying practice established in 2005 and based in south Wales. I also lecture part-time.

Q.      What route did you take to your current role?

A.        I attained a BTEC Higher National Certificate qualification (BTEC HNC) in Land Surveying and Cartography, studying part-time whilst working in a surveying department within a local authority. I completed a ‘thick sandwich’ BSc degree in Quantity Surveying, which took 4 years, with the third year spent in practice which was invaluable!

I completed a professional journal for a total of three years, which had to include experience in a wide range of areas.

I then sat my test of professional competence through the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which was a problem-solving, work-based scenario over a period of 48 hours, covering all aspects of quantity surveying. This led to me achieving chartered status through the RICS. I later joined the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) as I liked the diversity of membership.

Q.       Was this role a career aim for you from the outset?

A.        This was not the path I initially intended to follow after my BTEC HNC, however, the subject areas covered during my studies were really interesting to me. I knew that I wanted a career in construction but was unsure which option to take.

I soon saw that the role of a quantity surveyor is quite diverse and it is possible to follow a range of different routes once qualified. In addition to understanding construction technology – the components that make up a building – there is a need to understand economics and the effect of supply and demand when offering financial advice and offering cost comparisons.

Quite a lot of my role is handling disputes, so understanding contract law and the contractual obligations between parties within construction is really important and extremely interesting. I’m yet to work on a project where cost wasn’t important, so the quantity surveyor role is intrinsic to the construction process, from cost-planning to final account and sometimes operational management.

Q.       Did/do you have a mentor? Do you have any key advice for today’s jobseekers?

A.        I was very fortunate to have a mentor in my first job after graduating, who offered guidance as I stepped into the world of surveying. Not everyone needs a set mentor as such though, often the people that we meet within the industry as we progress can be really helpful. It’s useful to speak to peers about the details of their role and build up your understanding of what their day-to-day work entails.

Q.      Are there any other positions in the construction sector that appeal to you, or that you would like to venture into one day?

A.        I’m really fortunate, as I have been able to fulfil my career plan fully, and, excitingly, have worked on a variety of projects in several different countries.

Now that I think about it, I might have enjoyed working in Australia, which has a very similar process to the UK for quantity surveying but with less inclement weather!

Further guidance:

  • Lindsay completed a “thick sandwich degree” – in the UK, this is understood to be a four-year undergraduate course that forms part of a Bachelor’s degree, or a five-year postgraduate course that is part of a Master’s. Both combine academic study with a work placement. To find more on higher education options, see
  • Lindsay mentions her membership of two organisations, CABE and RICS – both are professional bodies offering services to members that support career development and competency across the construction industry. Discover more on how these organisations could help you, at all stages of your career journey, at and
  • According to LinkedIn, construction technology “refers to the tools, techniques and equipment used in the actual building process.” To understand the particulars of the quantity surveyor role further, see