We have the job that you want. It’s something to do with freedom, creativity, making strategic choices and growth potential. Something with impact, where your intellect is fully appreciated. Preferably in a sustainable setting, within a corporate culture that makes you feel at home. And international connections on top of all that. Are we close?
Well, in that case all roads lead to the job of Quantity Surveyor at Smulders, which requires a combination of commercial-technical-financial skills. Otherwise, it is mostly up to you.
So, Quantity Surveyor. Sometimes described as 'ideal to give a new direction to your career, future-oriented'. That's right, if you like to get things done. The name in itself may not have a sexy ring to it – cost expert, quantity surveyor – but the interpretation does. Your future colleagues Quantity Surveyors Janna Erpels and Eline Van de Putte have said so.
All eyes on change
Eline: “In the UK, this position is very well known in the construction world and you can also train for it. More specifically, it is someone who is dedicated to making cost estimates, who monitors progress on the sites, manages the related payments to subcontractors, and manages the overall financial value of the project. The French description 'Économiste de la construction' gives a good idea of what the job entails. In Belgium, it is more of a niche and there is no specific diploma for it. Hands-on as we are, the job of Quantity Surveyor gets a unique touch at our company. We do not manoeuvre at the construction site as such, but rather within all layers of a project. We are involved from the signing of a contract to the end of the project; commercial negotiations can sometimes drag on long after the last construction has been completed.”
Janna: “The ‘bill of quantity’ – a parts list in which materials, parts and labour are specified with their price – is always a part of a contract. This is the basis we build on. If we want to make a profit, we have to properly manage the commercial risks of changes in the design, requested by our client, as well as the consequences for subcontractors and suppliers. The reality is that every project has to deal with changes at some point, and that is when we take on the role of change managers. Any difference in scope must be investigated and calculated. We translate an instruction to change into a variation order. We set up an information flow for this, because for every (price) deviation we need the input from colleagues in different departments and a story to justify everything towards the customer. We do this together with Contract Management, justifications for cost variations are always agreed with them.”
Eline applied for a job with us a few years ago with a History Teacher’s degree and experience in Quality Administration. Janna previously worked as a Production Coordinator and initially came on board in the Drawing Department. Both ladies had an affinity with numbers and a healthy interest in the technical field, and their drive to get ahead stood out. And since need for in-house quantity surveying skills increased, they seized the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the trade. For example, they joined projects and learned – under the guidance of our Senior Quantity Surveyor – on the job. Today, the department at Smulders is fully equipped. You can be trained internally and follow an external (online) course to get a diploma. You set the pace.
What we actually want to say is this: come see us with your own background and qualifications, we will be happy to listen. Eline and Janna know like no others which skills a Quality Surveyor needs to have and develop.
Janna: “You don't have to be an engineer, but a passion for all things technical helps. If you know how a production process works, which tasks there are and who does what, you already have a head start. You have to share your ideas and take account of extra, sometimes indirect, steps. And also: you have experience with Excel and an affinity with figures.”
Eline: “We’d love to see all-rounders and organisational talents with critical insight and common sense. The information you need will not be served on a tray. It is all about switching gears and communicating with colleagues. You get to know the whole company and ask the right questions. You collect, assess and show that we are entitled to claim money. As Quantity Surveyors, we make strategic choices and, while respecting the procedures in place, we can also be creative. After all, the way the costs are framed also plays an important role. And we speak up when needed, we make a difference. We literally create added value for the project, and cashing in on that is such a great feeling! Proud to be able to work on such an incredible offshore wind industry project. What are you waiting for!”
By the way: Janna and Eline also agree that ... Smulders has a fine structure and open culture. You don't find this all too often. Time to experience it for yourself.
Also claim the title of Quantity Surveyor? Come on board and make it happen at Smulders