I have always wanted to work in the construction industry, I decided to go into real estate and i really enjoyed it. Despite enjoying my previous role, I wanted to delve deeper and work on bigger projects, and be part of the project life cycle. I decided to do some more research and focused on what skills I had and what skills I needed to be in the right career. After a lot of research, quantity surveying ticked all the boxes. It had all the things I wanted to do, experience and be a part of.
What route did you take to get to where you are now?
I didn’t take the traditional route into the industry. I studied Politics, History and Sociology at A-levels and I obtained a first-class Business management and Human Resource management joint honours degree from De Montfort University in 2019. After a year and a half in the Real Estate industry, I attended Kingston University and obtained a Master’s degree in Quantity Surveying. I enjoyed my modules, most especially Design Economics and Cost Planning.
What does your role look like?
A day at work as a Quantity Surveyor varies each week, from using CostX to measure architectural drawings to produce a cost plan for prospective projects, to producing valuations and cost reports for clients to ensure the project’s budget is adhered to. As a Quantity Surveyor working on behalf of clients, I focus on ensuring contractors are in line with contractual agreements in regards to costs. I work closely with project managers and commercial managers once the project is on site. I work with a wide range of industry professionals and a team of quantity surveyors with varied experience from Employers agents to Executive Quantity Surveyors.
I find that within the industry, you learn new things all the time as no two projects are the same. It is sometimes initially challenging as you have to find new ways to approach projects. Especially as a perfectionist, I find that every number counts in a project and I have to ensure all key details are communicated well. Despite the challenge, it has shaped me into being a great problem solver and forward thinker. My role allows me to be analytical and adopt holistic approaches to things.
What is it like to be a woman working in your area or profession?
As a young woman in a male dominated industry, I find it quite exciting to be a construction professional, not defined by the stereotypes but breaking boundaries and taking over this territory. When people find out of my role, they’re often surprised or don’t really understand what it is. I believe many are not informed of the various roles in the industry, you don’t hear of quantity surveyors or cost consultants as often as building surveyors so I’m glad I get to educate other people, especially women of the growing opportunities in construction.
What advice would you give a young woman thinking about a career in your role?
To all young women looking to get into the industry, my advice would be to take that leap of faith into something new. It’s ok to be different and make an impact in an industry. Don’t limit yourself and you will succeed. Try and find out what you would be interested in, attend networking events, even the ones online, if you can, internships and placements are always available. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and grow.
I find it quite exciting to be a construction professional, not defined by the stereotypes but breaking boundaries and taking over this territory.”
My name is Deborah Ogbiru. I am a 24-year-old Quantity Surveyor, born and raised in London, UK working for Gardiner and Theobald. I studied BA (Hons) Business Management and Human Resource Management and did a Master's in Quantity Surveying at Kingston University. I’ve been in the industry for 9 months.
Outside of your role, do you have a passion project or platform?
I am the co-founder of The Knowledge Babe, which is an online consultancy platform, founded in 2022 alongside my twin sister. This is where we provide digital products on all things Wellness, Productivity and Finance. We aim to guide young men and women with the well-tailored resources to ensure personal and professional growth and impact.
Deborah A. Ogbiru