Built Environment Builds India: Career opportunities in the sector

-Ashwani Awasthi, Managing Director – RICS School of Built Environment.

It is expected that India’s real estate sector will grow from a level of US $120 billion in 2017 to a market size of US$1 trillion by 2030 and will contribute 13 percent of the country’s GDP by 2025. Built environment (BE) is the sector that is building India.

But the truth remains that of the nearly 50 million people working in the built environment in India, only 2 million are professionally qualified while the remaining are primarily construction workers. India will need nearly 4.5 million core built-environment professionals over the next decade. The current demand-supply gap for qualified BE professionals is over 80%. Therefore, BE is the sector that offers the next big career opportunities. Opportunities to build a career in a field that builds India are simply enormous in volume and value!

BE provides diverse and exciting career choices that give you the opportunity to work on a vast array of projects and travel the world while making a valuable contribution to the economies and societies of the world. Built Environment professionals are instrumental in creating a liveable and sustainable world, making a positive and tangible difference in our lives.

There are various career opportunities in the Built Environment and specialized studies in the sector take the Built Environment graduates and postgraduates far up the success ladder.  The specialized courses help build skill sets that make the students ready for the job from day 1. For example, the curriculum for a specialized MBA in Built Environment is so designed that it gives students a chance to experiment and cover a broad spectrum of whatever constitutes this sector even before joining a job. An insight into the industry requirements helps students prepare for the role of a leader in the field of Built Environment.

Some defined areas for career building in Built Environment are:

Investment Management
Real estate investment managers analyse real estate markets and work out the best-case scenarios for development and investment, besides evolving an organizational strategy and a project-specific marketing plan. They evaluate various projects and perform all necessary due diligence.

Asset management
Real estate asset managers create business plans and budgets for a project and monitor revenue, costs, develop schedules and quality of construction and prepare monthly watch lists and information for management input. Asset managers also work with the developer to re-forecast plan based on early warning signs of problems and issues affecting the project.

Valuation, appraisal or credit management
Real estate valuers usually work for banks or housing finance institutions or valuation firms and provide unbiased estimates of a property’s value and quality. They take credit decisions on whether to extend credit to a borrower and the maximum amount that should be extended to a borrower. Valuation professionals also act as independent land economists to determine the value of land and property portfolios for mortgage, taxation, and probate and collateral purposes.

Contract management
Construction contracts managers oversee projects from the start through to completion, ensuring that work is completed on time and within its budget. As a contracts manager, you could be working on a wide variety of projects, from office developments to houses or schools and colleges to road and rail schemes.

Facilities management
Facilities managers or building control managers are responsible for making sure that buildings are safe, energy efficient and suitable for living. They provide professional advice on the design, maintenance, repair, and refurbishment of buildings. Their work can range from multi-million dollars structures to modest adaptations and repairs to working with buildings of architectural or historical importance. Building control managers need to have a very good understanding of how buildings are constructed along with good observational and problem-solving skills.

Construction project management
Construction project managers are responsible for managing and controlling all construction operations of construction projects. They start from the planning & design stage and ensure that construction projects are completed on time and within budget, meeting quality standards and safety requirements. A project can range from a relatively small-scale building like the conversion of a loft in a house, right up to a huge project such as building the Olympic Park. They need to be good organizers and communicators, who enjoy a challenge, respect deadlines and have good problem-solving skills.

Quantity surveying
Construction economists (popularly known as Quantity Surveyors) are responsible for estimating and monitoring construction costs; ensuring that the project is within budget; preparing tax depreciation schedules; estimating replacement cost for insurance; mediation and arbitration. They also advise on development feasibility, procurement routes, contractual management, and manage and advise on all costs of a construction project. They work closely with clients to ensure a project is efficient, on budget and profitable.  

Development and construction
You can enter this business working for another developer, amass experience; or you can strike out on your own, starting with some smaller transactions. Good developers are results-oriented and know how to get work done on time which involves managing labour, establishing time estimates, getting appropriate equipment operators and construction crews.

Business development
Real estate business development deals with the pillars of real estate business that require better coordination and cooperation from among the developers of real estate or real estate promoters, real estate brokers and middlemen, financiers for people who want to purchase real estate, and most importantly, the owners of the real property.

Advisory and consulting
Institutional investors purchase real estate but unlike a stock or bond, it cannot be put in a vault. Real estate advisors help investors select properties for investment, advise them on how to take care of the property and also how to monetize it. Some amount of experience in investing and property management helps before you get into this area. People who are good with statistics and excel at client contact do well in this job.

Property management
Real estate owners require professional property managers for negotiating leases, managing tenants and their issues. The career of a property manager requires good interpersonal and analytical skills and a fair amount of negotiating prowess. This job is personally rewarding and allows you to really learn the real estate markets, should you wish to embark on business on your own.   

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