My journey to becoming a Surveyor – Keith McCreery
I was always interested in the property sector from a young age however I never really knew what aspect I wanted to get involved in. In secondary school, I really enjoyed construction studies and spent a few summers labouring on various building sites. I was always interested in seeing projects come “from the ground up” and had looked at various college courses for after my leaving cert. I had discussed the option of quantity surveying / construction management and property economics although at the time I wasn’t really attracted to “doing deals”. I knew the property industry was multi-faceted and there were many career opportunities available. I had decided after my leaving cert to take up a course in Construction Management and Engineering and that’s where it all began!
I started my undergrad in Construction Management and Engineering in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). The course is internationally recognised and was only a stone’s throw away in Waterford (I am from Kilkenny). It was a four year course with a 9 month work placement module in year 3 where I worked on an Educate Together School in Newbridge. It was here that I put into practice all the theory I learned and was involved in site programming and planning, attended site management and client meetings etc. I got to see how a project was run and was interested in all the technical aspects of the job. It was a very beneficial part of the course and certainly stood to me after college.
After my undergraduate I was unfortunately qualified during the recession so career prospects were slim in Ireland. In 2011 I moved to Australia where I got a job with a ground engineering company who were involved in various ground stabilisation techniques and they had just started a job on Perth City Link in Western Australia. I started the job as a Site Engineer and worked on this project for a year after which I worked in Brisbane, Canberra, Chinchilla and Port Headland. I was responsible for a small crew on each job and was involved in the planning and orientation of each project. Unfortunately we never got to see the finished product under construction, which often included large scale office and apartment blocks, due to the nature of the job and I was always keen to know what they looked like. I remember walking past some of these schemes once they were complete and was delighted knowing I played a small role in the creation of them! That’s when I decided I was interested in Commercial Property.
After this time I moved home to Ireland and started a job in Dublin where I worked on the refurbishment of the National Gallery for a year. Subsequently, after working for 4 years in the construction industry, I decided to undertake a Masters in Real Estate in the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) on Bolton Street. The course was one year and was essentially a “conversion course” where we learnt about the various valuation techniques, various construction methods and different planning scenario’s. The course encapsulated the property industry as a whole and merged both commercial property practice with the planning and construction methodologies of same. It was specifically aimed at the commercial property sector which after some deliberation during my earlier career I became interested in, hence the choice of course!
I graduated in September 2016 and began work in Cushman & Wakefield as a graduate surveyor in the retail department. There I spent 15 months and was involved in various letting acquisitions for various clients. I then rotated to the Valuations department in December 2018 where I have been working ever since!
I am currently a Chartered Valuation Surveyor working in the valuation department. We are required to inspect and value various properties which vary greatly from office suites to greenfield sites and also include industrial buildings and everything in between! Every “project” is different as is the approach to each. We utilise various different valuation software which include Argus Developer and Argus Enterprise which are used for valuing development land and investment properties. I am also involved in a number of portfolio valuations which can also include a variety of different property types in different parts of the country. If somebody is looking for a career with variety, I would definitely suggest a career within the property sector as no day or project is the same. It is a people business and due to the nature of the job you are on the road quite a bit meeting various people depending on your sector. I have been quite lucky in that I get out quite frequently which keeps it interesting!