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John McGirr

Quantity Surveyor, Kerrigan Sheanon Newman

Degree subject Quantity Surveying (2006)
Job title Quantity Surveyor

Employer Kerrigan Sheanon Newman

What I love about my job is its diversity: projects can vary from restoring a railway arch to multi-million euro developments. My main role is to give advice on the most cost-effective and successful way to complete a project.

I start a project by costing an architect's plans and reporting back to the client and architect, who may amend the plans accordingly. I then send a ‘bill of quantities' to contractors, who use the information to bid for the project. Once construction begins, I work with the contractor and design team to monitor costs. I work in a team of eight. We work together on larger projects but I also have a number of my own projects. It's a great chance to learn from others but take responsibility for my own work. I'm office based but attend regular meetings on site. I'm also studying to become chartered so go to training sessions run by my employer. You need technical skills to understand architects' drawings but the most important aspect of the job is good communication. College gives you the skills for working life but it isn't until you get into a working environment that you understand what's really involved.

I moved from Belfast to Dublin for the job as I was ready for a change of scene after university. I've settled well here and I'm only a couple of hours away from home. It's important to choose your location and employer carefully: go to interviews to get a feel for the working environment. I wanted to work for a company with a close-knit team culture, and I've gained confidence as a result.