20 Sep, 2004

Housebuilding companies are commercial enterprises that need to survive in a very competitive market place. The commercial services part of the company manages the commercial and financial aspects of developments. We employ a range of technical specialists, estimators, surveyors and buyers who are required to organise the purchase of construction materials and to control costs.

Employment opportunities arise at several levels in this part of the company. Recently qualified professionals such as quantity surveyors are required, whilst other graduates and school leavers may be recruited to a variety of posts where in-house training can be given.

Buyers are responsible for ensuring continued and effective construction by supplying on-site craft workers with materials and plant. They know all about the materials used in housebuilding and the people who supply them. It's their job to negotiate the right price and time for delivery, so that the project can go ahead. Senior buyers will have responsibility for cost control and proper financial reporting. They will normally have a qualification from a recognised building course, such as an HNC, or relevant experience.

Before any building starts, budgets are worked out to estimate what price would be reasonable for buying the land, how much construction will cost, and what types of housing will be built. A thorough understanding of the companys strategic and financial objectives is essential.

Housebuilding developments have to be completed on time and to budget. This means that builders must forecast and deal with variations in the cost of materials and other site associated costs. The commercial surveyor analyses costs, implements cost control procedures, co-ordinates the provision of statutory services, and maintains development health and safety plans.

A commercial surveyor must have a quantity surveying background and hold an appropriate qualification such as a degree from the Royal

My interest in computers has led me to become the IT specialist for the region and I have now progressed to work as the regions estimator. I prepare 'design-and- build' tenders for local authorities and housing associations on a variety of different contracts. This involves knowledge of construction, current market trends and the ability to negotiate contracts.

Amerjit Atwal, estimator, Lovell Partnerships

In the last 2 years with Matthew Homes my role has widened and my general outlook on the industry has broadened. My responsibilities include appointing sub-contractors, finalising accounts and on-site measurement. I look forward to many more years of experience and opportunity.

Marcus Smith, Quantity Surveyor, Matthew Homes

MMC Final Draft

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