Rebecca Baker

What is your job title?
Quantity Surveyor/ Cost Consultant

Where did you go to high school & what were your GCSE Results?
Thorpe House School , Norwich
A Geography
Bx2 Double Award Science
B Maths
C English Literature
C English Language
C French

What did you study at Paston
Physical Education, Biology, Maths AS and Psychology GCSE 

Where did you go to University?
The company I worked for sponsored me to get my degree which was a BSc (Hons) in Quantity Surveying at Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford. I studied part time and worked the rest of the time for the company, gaining valuable experience, while not amassing a load of debt.

Who do you work for, and what projects have you been involved in?
I now work for AECOM (previously Davis Langdon) a multi- discipline construction company that specialises in consultancy work. 

As a cost consultant/ quantity surveyor, I am basically in charge of protecting the client when they want to build something, be it from a private house, multi storey carpark, new university campus, hospital, sports stadia or anything. There is always a set budget and always a function for the building. Getting from, ‘ a desire to have a building’ to ‘actually getting it built’ takes a number of steps and design processes which all need costing and controlling in monetary terms. Whether that be measuring works from drawings, setting up the contract to protect the parties involved to going on site and actually making sure that the building is being built on time and to budget. 

The most exciting project that I have been involved in was actually in Russia and has not yet been built and may never be built, but it was going to cost $billions and involved hotels, museums, theatres, shopping centres etc. in a block in St.Petersburg.

What is a ‘typical day at work like?
A typical day usually involves a few hours in the office carrying out costing tasks, measuring elements off drawings, updating reports in preparation for meetings, preparing and managing contract documents, attending design team meetings, value engineering workshops, site meetings and valuations. I would say that I spend about 70% of my time in the office and 30% attending meetings and walking around building sites.

What did you study at Paston? How did that course help you progress upon your career path?
What I studied at Paston helped, as spread sheets are a big part of my job.  The key skills in my job are Methodical and logical thinking which enables you to work through a building when measuring it and discussing it, so you don’t miss anything. Communication is also key in any job these days, with email and phones things happen and move extremely quickly. Getting through to clients that changes get costly the further down the design process you go, is also key, so making sure they actually understand what they are and not getting for their money is key and managing their expectations.

Did you ever envisage doing this while you were at Paston?
No. I didn’t really know this job existed and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I just knew that the direction I was heading in, was not right for me, so I took a year out playing hockey semi-professionally, fortunately that coincided with a junior world cup for which I was lucky enough to be selected for, so this year also involved a bit of travelling. When the tournament finished I knew I had to find a job, so I searched the local press and found the advert with Davis Langdon offering training on the job.

"What I studied at Paston helped, as spreadsheets are a big part of my job. I now work for AECOM (previously Davis Langdon) a multi- discipline construction company that specialises in consultancy work."