Surveying a broad and bright horizon
Whether it's positioning a new highway, calculating the cost of a construction project or carrying out a building inspection, surveyors play a diverse role across Hong Kong's building and construction landscape. However, according to Sandy Tang, award co-coordinator of BSc (Hons) in Surveying at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), there are many misconceptions about what a surveying degree actually offers.
'A lot of young people don't realise the diversity and opportunities the surveying profession offers,' says Tang.
For example, graduates of the three-year full-time or four-year part-time PolyU BA (Hons) in Surveying are in demand in the building surveying, real estate and quantity surveying sectors. Tang says that, depending on their area of interest, surveyor trainees can follow a career path in real estate general practice, construction management, the finance and law aspects of surveying, or building regulation control.
'Our graduates have little difficulty finding employment as professional trainees with government departments and private practice firms where they continue their professional development,' Tang says, adding that the BA (Hons) programme is suitable for students with a background in arts, commerce or science.
'The profession is ideal for those who have an eye for detail and enjoy problem-solving,' says Tang.
To provide students with a broad-based knowledge of the surveying profession, the programme includes four core areas - real estate economics, law, technology and management. Students also take part in joint and individual project studies.
To compare how the surveying profession operates in other jurisdictions, students also undertake international studies, which include fact-finding visits to Germany, France the UK and mainland China.
Looking ahead, Kenneth Kwan, Hong Kong board chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), says there are more opportunities than challenges for the surveying profession.
'The foreseeable future looks very promising, but we must ensure we equip ourselves to take advantage of the evolving business opportunities,' says Kwan, citing development projects on the mainland and in Macau.
Kwan says the generalised structure of university surveying programmes means that once they graduate, trainees need to work hard to develop a postgraduate specialisation. Meanwhile, companies need to ensure they have the necessary training programmes and support systems to train the next generation of surveyors, he adds.
Kwan says the RICS supports the industry through organising relevant Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events for members.
To become an RICS member, candidates are required to complete a degree or diploma programme approved by the RICS.
Candidates must also complete the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) structured training programme, which consists of a period of practical training that ends with a final assessment of the aspiring chartered surveyor's competence to practice. The APC must be completed while the candidate is in relevant surveying employment.