#1 - Day in the life of: A Chartered Surveyor

September 06, 2021

What does your job involve?

I am Head of Valuation. This means I oversee the valuation function at Kirkby Diamond and our team of experienced valuers and administrative staff.

Day to day I predominantly undertake valuation work for private clients, banks and for flat owners on residential lease extensions. This involves me inspecting a wide range of property, preparing reports for clients and also peer reviewing my colleagues’ reports.

Why did you want to become a surveyor?

A chance encounter in 2006 when I undertook work experience at Kirkby Diamond sparked my interest in surveying. Going to see a range of property and not being desk bound all the time was of interest. I was fortunate enough to complete degrees in surveying and was offered a position at Kirkby Diamond in 2013. The rest as they say is history….

What skills do you need to be a surveyor?

You need to be adaptable to workload as valuation clients have service level agreements you need to meet. Property isn’t always straight forward to value so you need to have understanding of the assets to be valued, but also local and national market conditions for that type of property.

As some valuations come with higher levels of risk (where lending is involved), you need to have a keen eye for detail and report writing, as complex matters need to be explained clearly for the banks, their clients and also solicitors involved in transactions.

In terms of personal skills you need to be polite to clients and demonstrate competency. We are the front line at Kirkby Diamond and ultimately how we present ourselves to clients can help to build relationships and the prospect of future work.

What are the biggest issues facing the property industry at the moment from a surveying point of view?

A noticeable skills gap developed as a result of the fall out from the 2009 recession, with many surveyors leaving the industry between 2008 to 2012. Recruiting experienced staff is difficult as many in our region are now at partner or director level.

Whilst there are a large number of graduates and surveyors with less than 5 years’ post qualified experience, many experienced surveyors with 10 years’ experience are unwilling to move to regional firms or alternatively from their positions in control of other companies. Kirkby Diamond have a grow your own strategy with us taking on apprentices and graduate surveyors to train them to be Chartered Surveyors that specialise in what we do at Kirkby Diamond.

How important are environmental issues compared to 10 years ago?

Energy efficiency is now at the forefront of what we do as valuers due to introduction of legislation surrounding Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs).

Many blue chip covenants will not take office space unless it reaches a minimum EPC banding e.g. Band B, which can impact on investment values of certain property classes. As properties with an EPC band F or below cannot be let, landlords now have to incur costs to improve properties to let them or face penalties. In some cases, we have to allow for costs to improve the properties in our valuation calculations in order for them to be let. This is particularly true for older industrial buildings.

What is your typical day?

My day can be varied depending on when I am in the office or on site. My typical day normally starts with me walking the dog around 7am then driving into work in our Luton office. I try to book inspections in the morning which then means I can work on reports and follow up on phone calls in the afternoon. The working day ends at 5:30 but I often email colleagues and clients after hours as needed.

Adam's dog Rupert

What are you working on at the moment?

Various commercial valuations including a vacant shop in Dunstable, several residential lease extension valuations and also some ongoing lease extension negotiations. I am on holiday next week so my workload has tailed off so I can have some well-deserved time off.

How long do you stay on a project at any one time?

Valuations tend to be in and out within two weeks, but some can go on longer due to queries being answered. Lease extension work can go on for upwards of a year depending on how difficult negotiations are against the other side.

What are the best and hardest things about the job?

The best thing is the team and ethos at Kirkby Diamond. Our staff are known to work hard and play hard when the opportunity arises. As a firm Kirkby Diamond have grown immensely in the last 10 years and the direction the firm is going with ambitious growth plans makes it an exciting thing to be a part of.

The hardest things about the job are trivial and usually linked to cases I am working on. Fiddly valuations can stress you out at the time but once the deadlines are met it is washed aside.

Traffic is the second one. When you are running around between appointments. Some clients will only hold on for so long and in some instances, inspections need to be rearranged if you can’t get there on time. Time keeping is easy for me, but you can never predict what can happen on the motorway when you are in a rush.

Adam Smylie contact details

Adam Smylie

E. adam.smylie@kirkbydiamond.co.uk

T. 01582 393 337

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