Meet Christopher Gildert, who graduated with a distinction in HNC Construction and a First Class Honours in BSc Quantity Surveying.

Student Chris in construction PPE at a viewpoint

What inspired you to study your course? 

I had always wanted to be a building surveyor but was unsure where to start as I didn’t have any A Levels. I spent a lot of time researching various institutions, and Salford was clearly the leading institution for the Built Environment.

Being a mature student, I was also able to take advantage of the alternative entry route on the HNC. In addition, my brother is also a Salford alumnus and had very fond memories of his time at the university, so this also played a part in my choice.

Can you tell us which parts of the course you enjoyed the most (lectures, modules, projects, topics, any opportunities etc)? 

I found the variety of topics really interesting, and the fact that the majority of the lecturers had worked in industry made a big difference as they were able to relate the theory to real life situations. The one thing that had the biggest impact on my success was the network of industry contacts that Salford has. Being able to take part in work experience was invaluable, and ultimately led to my first trainee Quantity Surveyor role.

Which topic/area of focus did you choose for your final dissertation project? 

I am passionate about social housing and modern methods of construction, so I decided to research the role of prefabrication in alleviating the housing crisis.

Where do you currently work and how did you find out about the role? 

My first role as a Quantity Surveyor was at Arcadis, which started out as a two-week work experience, but ultimately ended up in a 5 year stay! During this time, I progressed from trainee to project surveyor, and passed my APC before moving to KAM Project Consultants in the UK.

I then transferred to the German side of the business in April 2023.

Tell us a little bit about your current role and your day-to-day responsibilities.  

I am currently employed as a Senior Quantity Surveyor at KAM Project Consultants GmbH in Frankfurt at Main, Germany.

I am the cost management lead in Germany, and the client lead for a couple of our UK based clients, acting as a single point of contact to ensure they are happy with the services provided, and to answer any queries they may have.

On a day-to-day basis, the role in Germany is somewhat different to that of a traditional QS in the UK, and involves more of a project management focus. This has been a challenge, as I have not had this exposure previously, but I have embraced it and I am a more rounded professional now.

Can you tell us about any of the projects you’re working on? What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on so far? / What do you enjoy most about your role? 

My current role involves building industrial and logistics units, however I have previously worked on commercial and residential schemes.

Perhaps my most prestigious role was working on RHS Bridgewater. This is a world class visitor attraction not far from the university in Worsley. I was privileged to work on it from initial concept through to opening.

I have also worked on a 34-storey apartment block on the banks of the Mersey in Liverpool. This was an enjoyable scheme as the views from the top were incredible!

RHS Bridgewater flowers

How do you feel your course prepared you for your future employment? 

The course gave me a real grounding in the theory side of the role as a quantity surveyor. I also took part in as much work experience as possible in order to give me the best chance of securing a job in the industry. This helped me focus on the path I wanted to take, and type of sector I wanted to work in.

What advice would you give to prospective students or those seeking a career in construction? 

I would say soak up all the knowledge and experience you can from both the lecturers, and your fellow students who are working in the industry.

Take on board as much work experience as you can. If you can work alongside the course, this will enhance your chances of the best grades, and career prospects as you will have the opportunity to see the theory behind construction tech, contract admin, and construction law modules you have been studying are applied in the real world.

Once you have graduated, if you are looking at the consultant side of the industry, then enroll on the APC as soon as possible. Gaining MRICS status completely changed the trajectory of my career.

Finally, if you get the opportunity to work overseas, grab it with both hands. This will broaden your horizons both professionally and personally.

Have you thought about the next steps in your career and where you would like to progress to?  

The next step for me would be working towards directorship and perhaps open up a new office in Germany. I would also like to live in another country or two before I retire.