Rightly or wrongly, building surveyors are often seen as skilled in a certain line of work – investigating and managing remediation of leaky buildings.
Yet New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors vice-president, Rory Crosbie, says the ever-changing property industry means his profession continues to grow and deliver an important role.
“The reality is that the scope of our expertise extends beyond the ‘leaky’.
“Building surveyors in New Zealand perform a variety of essential roles related to design, construction, modification and care of buildings, at each stage of the property life cycle.”
From weathertightness investigations, providing advice on contracts and health and safety, to managing and supervising maintenance and repairs of existing buildings and new build works – there is little a Registered Building Surveyor can’t do.
Due to a building’s complex assembly of materials and components, they must be experts in understanding what is required to maintain it over its life.
New Zealand’s own building surveyors are such experts, Mr Crosbie says.
But how do they contribute to the economy? By offering their services to owners of both standalone homes, and low- and high-rise commercial property, to multi-unit medium rise developments.
“Over the life of a property, action is required to address regular planned maintenance, deal with building defects, complete damage assessments following an insurance event, and assist by providing technical expertise in the transition process during a sale or lease.
“Evidence uncovered during diagnostic investigations that set out to discover the nature and cause of building defects or failures is used to provide clients with advice and recommendations on appropriate remedial action.”
Those seasoned property players understand the value a building surveyor can add at every milestone, negative or positive, of a building. Take the more recent issues of asbestos and Methamphetamine. The affects of both required controlled and active management by trained experts.
And thanks to New Zealand’s low unemployment rates, there is continued competition for limited resources – both skilled labour and land.
This means the property industry continues to adapt to deliver key infrastructure, which in turn, enables economic growth.
However, this expansion has been coupled with growing pains.
“Current and recent governments wish they could wave a magic wand to fill the housing supply gap,” Mr Crosbie says.
“Large contractors continue to fail as they struggle to manage tight margins and more complex, large construction projects.”
It’s building surveyors who are expertly trained enough to mitigate and efficiently manage some of these issues, he says.
“Our core knowledge and understanding of construction places us well to manage new building or remediation projects, from start to finish. Whether it’s providing continuous and direct communication with a client, a contractor, the project financers, or a council.
“Surveyors in New Zealand are trained to consider all possibilities prior to embarking on building investigation and surveying work.
“We are trained to diagnose a buildings condition, its defects, resultant damage and recommended remedial solution/s.
“We also can manage and work closely with other disciplines, structural engineers and quantity surveyors.
“Our comprehensive understanding of the New Zealand Building Code ensures we provide solutions that will perform,” Mr Crosbie says.
The Prendos director says New Zealand building surveyors will be busy for some time to come, and so, the industry continues to attract newcomers.
He says NZIBS’s pathway for aspiring building surveyors has proven time and again a comprehensive model to becoming a qualified and registered building surveyor.
But while the industry cries out for more building surveyors to meet ever-growing demand in a variety of services, be warned – It’s a profession that demands great care and tenacity.
“Skills required include; a passion for property, the ability to analyse problems in order to identify solutions, possess a logical and practical mind, have good oral and written communications skills, and not to be afraid of negotiation.
“If you’ve got that in spades, then all newcomers can look forward to adding to the contribution current building surveyors play in our country’s economic growth.”