CareerChoice:Building and Construction

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Latest revision as of 07:12, 31 May 2009

Contents

Introduction

India is undergoing an economic change. With liberalisation economy being ushered in, there is a sudden boom in the wealth of the top niche of Indian society. The educated middle class is also experiencing a sudden increase in their salaries largely due to the increased importance of India as an offshore unit for Information Technology (IT) jobs in other parts of the world. India presents a source of cheap labour yet the returns are high enough for the Indian IT worker to experience a sudden boom in his or her fortunes.

With this increasing wealth, real estate has also become a major thrust area. With IT enabled service facilities coming up in all the major cities, there is a great need for real estate developers. Shopping malls, multiplexes and plush residential quarters in the form of condominiums are also coming up in almost all major cities. Then there is the controversial Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The flip side to this boom in the real estate sector has been forceful land acquisition and deprivation of the other half of the Indian population, those who do not benefit much from this sudden economic boom.

Going by some statistics, the real estate sector is the largest employer in the country after the IT sector. The real estate sector involves a range of workers starting from Civil Engineers, who are the largest single high end group to be employed in the real estate sector, to Structural Engineers, Architects and Town Planners who work in specialised fields such as urban planning, environmental planning, housing planning or transport planning.

Besides these engineering jobs, there are Land Surveyors whose job goes beyond just studying the productivity of the land. It entails an understanding of the various survey and levelling instruments, carrying out surveys of land and preparation of survey plans.

Legal Advisors are also needed as acquiring land for real estate projects most often requires speedy legal verification as well as smoothly acquiring the land from its previous owners.

Property Assessors, who are needed to figure out the amount of money to be paid to the previous landowners and the pricing of space in the new building about to be built, also play an important part. Property assessors take into account various factors such as quality of the neighbourhood, transportation ease and future development of the area. The value calculated by the assessor is then used as the basis for determining the amounts to be paid or assessed for tax or insurance purposes.

Sales Personnel are those involved in marketing act closely with the public relations department.

Those acting as a liaison between the different units and also those who offer liaison services in the field of public relations are another integral part of the real estate industry. This is an important field as the real estate project must be able to connect with the public properly and not send out wrong messages by getting embroiled in land acquisition controversies or by violating environmental norms.

Project Managers or Construction Management is a new specialised field of study and work. It has been designed keeping in mind the growing demand for specialised information in this field. Previously, construction management formed just one paper in the civil engineering course but now it is a separate course of study in itself.

Facility Managers are responsible for keeping the building, residential or office complex or township's infrastruture running. Facility Management is the management of buildings and services. The services are sometimes considered to be divided into hard services and "soft services. Hard services includes such things as ensuring that a building's air conditioning, electrical supply, water supply etc. are operating efficiently, reliably, safely and legally. Soft services includes such things as ensuring that the building is cleaned properly and regularly or monitoring the performance of contractors (e.g. builders, electricians). The term facility management is similar to property management but often applied only to larger and/or commercial properties where the management and operation is more complex.

At the other end, the building and construction industry in the infrastructure sector includes those involved in technical and manual work such as Electricians, Plumbers, Carpenters, Welders, Masons and Brick layers etc.. Even Horticulturists and Gardeners are employed by real estate agencies as most large constructions now also have a patch of greenery. So, it can be seen that in infrastructure in building and construction, there is scope for a large variety of professionals.

Nature of Work

The nature of work varies widely. The building and construction sector especially the infrastructure personnel have a wide range of jobs. The Civil Engineers and Architects are at the technical skills. Those working as Plumbers, Electricians, Carpenters, Brick Layers and Masons are the other end of the trade related skills and are an equally important part of the building and construction sector. The work of all these different sectors is different yet at the same time they are closely linked with one another.

Other skills being employed in the Real-estate and Infrastructure industry are:

Land Surveyor: is employed to depict the topographical features, spot levels, contours and services details of development works such as sewer lines, water supply lines, storm water drains. They conduct various large scale hydrographic surveys; that of developmental projects for setting up industries, hotels, schools, colleges and housing facilities; routing for roadways, railway lines, gas lines and water lines; thermal power projects and transmissions lines.

Construction managers/Project Managers link up the various units and also divide the work into small units which they lead. These units focus on one particular aspect of the work and the manager's task is to streamline the efforts of a small group to a small task and then link up this work with the larger overarching project.

Facility Managers: Definition provided by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is:

"A profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology."

It is the role of facility management to ensure that everything is available and operating properly for building occupants to do their work.The facility manager generally has the most influence upon the quality of life within a facility. Facility management may range from the small scale (e.g. single small building custodial services) to the large scale (such as Johnson Controls' operation of Chrysler manufacturing) or even on an international scale (e.g. global service provision to a multinational corporation). Some facility management companies (e.g. Regus) have grown to simply provide environments which other organisations may rent on demand in order to do business in a "hotel" environment.

Legal Advisors: Role of Legal advisors is to check the authenticity of the sellers, legal papers of ownership and advising the clients on how to proceed in the matters related to it. They also undertake the necessary legal paperwork to be done.

Liaisoning: Role of liaisoning is to co-ordinate with the Govt. and other external functions for smooth execution of the project.

Sales Personnel: Sales Personnel in the Real-estate industry specialize in the Sales, Marketing, Advertising and other allied activities.

Personality

Those involved in Building and Construction industry need not have any special kind of personality but they should be able to travel long distances and be at the construction site for large sections of the day. Sometimes, even night shifts may be required. Most construction sites are hot and dusty. So, one should be able to withstand such conditions.

Managers like construction managers, facility managers and project managers should have leadership and problem solving qualities. That means that managers should be able to connect well with her or his group of workers, inspire them and guide them. Managers need to make the best of her or his group of workers come through in their work.

Sales personnel need to have a tenacious personality where the mentality should be not to get disheartened if one is not able to manage a sale. Sales personnel need to work out a strategy for a clear presentation which is effective. They also need to be able to interact with prospective customers well. A lot of sale is dependent on the hospitability which sales personnel extend to the customer.

Liaisons such as those in public relations also need to work out an effective presentation which needs to create a mental impact on the prospective customer. Those working as a liaison between the different units need to have good communication skills so as to effectively transfer the message from one unit to the other.

Professional Courses

Professional courses are available for everyone starting from Electricians for whom there are small diploma courses which prepare them to successfully pass the government test in order to become a government certified electrician. These courses are run my ITI (Industrial Training Institutes). Carpentry is another skill that is taught by these NGOs aimed at economic improvement of the masses and ITI as academic institution.

For Project or Construction managers, there are the newly created construction management courses.

Property assessors are financial and legal professionals who take all relevant factors into consideration to assess the property. Legal Advisors come from the ranks of lawyers, advocates. A relevant law degree is always necessary for getting such posts.

Land surveyors, Architects and Town Planners need to have a proper degree. Land survey is a more specialised area of Civil Engineering and there are a few diploma courses are also available. The list of the institutions offering the same are listed below. Town planning courses are also specialised field of Architecture and offered by only a select few institutes. It is most often a post graduate course.

Most engineering institutes offer degree courses in Architecture. civil Engineering is also offered by most engineering colleges.

Liaisonssuch as those involved in public relations need to study mass communication.

Sales personnel can either be graduates or have a proper management degree in marketing. It is not always necessary for sales personnel to have marketing degrees.

Colleges, Institutions and Universities

The skills that are supposed to be acquired for jobs such as Electricians, Plumbers, Masons and Bricklayers are taught by ITI and other skill oriented academic institutions. Traditionally, these are skills either taught in the family, from father to son or by starting to work as an apprentice to such technicians. However, some NGOs offer training to carpenters and electricians. FERRY (Foundation for the Economic Rehabilitation of Rural Youth) is an NGO working in rural districts of West Bengal. More information about FERRY can be obtained from the web site www.geocities.com/ferryindia

There are three notable places where land surveyors can study. One needs to have studied Science and Mathematics till class 12 and also needs to be well trained in Drafting, Mechanical Drawing and Computer Science. The three institutes are as follows.

  • Survey Training Institute, Uppal, Hyderabad (www.soisti.gov.in)
  • A.P. Survey Training Academy, Survey Bhavan, Hyderabad
  • Council of Architecture, New Delhi

Postgraduate town planning courses are offered at the following institutes. The eligibility is a B.Arch. or B.E. (civil). Special eligibility cases are mentioned separately:

  • Bengal Engineering College, Kolkata. A master's degree holder in geography, economy or sociology is also eligible
  • IIT Kharagpur
  • IIT Roorkee. A master's degree holder in geography, economy or sociology is also eligible.
  • University of Calcutta
  • Institute of Town Planners, New Delhi. The eligibility is a B.Arch., B.E./B.Tech. (civil)/B.Plan. or M.Sc./M.A. in geography, sociology or economics or a postgraduate diploma in town planning (55 per cent) with a minimum one year work experience. The selection is by an associateship exam.
  • School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi
  • School of Planning, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), Ahmedabad. A master's degree holder in geography, economics or sociology is also acceptable.

The National Institute of Construction Management and Research, (NICMAR) Pune is one of the leading places to study Construction Management. Other than NICMAR, the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad, the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, Delhi Productivity Council, Delhi and the Indian Institute of Technologies at Delhi and Chennai offer postgraduate courses in construction management. The eligibility in most of these institutes is a degree or a diploma in engineering though M.Com. degree holders and chartered accountants can also apply in some institutes. NICMAR also provides correspondence courses at the graduate, postgraduate and certificate levels. Other institutes that offer correspondence courses include Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and Annamalai University. IGNOU's BTech in civil construction management (BTCM) and its advanced diploma in construction management (ADCM) are open to diploma holders in civil engineering and professionals involved in building and construction.

Legal advisors needed to have studied law. There are numerous law schools in the country. The more prominent ones are:

  • National Law School of India University, Bangalore
  • West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
  • NALSAR, University of Law, Hyderabad
  • Symbiosis Law College, Pune

Specialization

Career Prospects

With the rising trend of Indian economics and with real estate becoming the second largest employing sector in India according to some figures, the career growth and prospects of those involved in Infrastructure and Real-Estate industry is tremendous. Certain fields like Construction Management are so short of personnel now that people are being hired from other countries. Thus the scope for growth is tremendous.

Some of the fields in which one can work in the building and construction industry are open natured. Those involved in such work can also work in other industries. Legal advisors, sales personnel, property assessors and even managers can work in lots of other industries. Thus the career prospects for such work are huge. It is common for legal advisors and sales personnel to be associated with a law firm and an agency placing sales personnel respectively. Thus, once they finish working on a real estate project, they can move on to other work in other industries or continue working in the real estate industry in other projects. Managers can also shift to other institutions and not necessarily confine themselves to the building and construction sector. Property assessors can work not only in the real estate sector but also with banks, tax agencies and other such accounting and legal firms.

Remunerations

The remuneration for Civil engineers and Architects is generally the greatest for those in the real estate sector but it is not always so. Legal advisors, Project Managers and facility managers can also have very high pay packages. Construction managers have pay packets similar to those in the IT industry. Sales personnel have similar pay packages to either jobs in sales and marketing in other industries. Government certified electricians are also guaranteed a source of income for the rest of their career. Plumbers, carpenters and electricians working with one particular agency have often a steady and regular source of income.

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