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20 OCT 2020

Chartered aspirations: Achieving the highest global standards

Meet Thomas Beedles MRICS, a Chartered Quantity Surveyor at Beca, who recently obtained professional membership and status.

Congratulations on achieving your MRICS status. Why did you decide to pursue your APC and become chartered by RICS?

I had aspirations of becoming chartered since leaving college and enrolling on a RICS accredited degree course. This aspiration grew even stronger after having worked within the industry for several years. I regard RICS as the providers of the highest global standards for Quantity Surveyors and associate membership with integrity, trust and respect among peers, clients and the wider public.

It was, therefore, an easy and logical decision for me to progress my career and demonstrate my technical capabilities and personal commitment to high standards and self-development.

Thomas Beedles, Beca
Thomas Beedles MRICS

Membership also has the ability to broaden my horizons and employability for any future endeavours of working around the world.

What did you learn during the APC process that you think will benefit you as your career evolves?

A high level of technical capability is required to be demonstrated throughout the APC process. This requires you to have exposure to a whole range of different competencies and areas within your chosen pathway, which ultimately makes you a better all-rounder.

I also learnt that as well as the technical skills and competencies, the APC process requires a large amount of dedication and personal organisation. These are all key attributes that are directly transferrable to being successful in both the APC process and within the work environment.

What was the greatest challenge you faced during your APC?

I didn’t pass my initial preliminary assessment on my first attempt, largely based on my selection of case study. I deviated slightly from the brief and provided a case study which read like a legal case review. I learnt that the best approach was to take a step back, learn from the feedback and recompose.

Although a challenge at the time, this initial set back ultimately made my submission much stronger for the final assessment.

Choosing the case study – any tips you have for others?

Pick a project that you have a genuine interest in, as you will have to dedicate a lot of time and effort both when writing the case study and preparing for the presentation. Consider your selection of projects to try and maximise the outreach to various pathway competencies within your key issues. Don’t feel like these key issues need to set the world alight with something which has never before been seen in the industry. Ultimately you only have a limited number of words and its more important to provide a concise and well-written document, which adheres to the brief.

I’d also recommend that you ask other professionals to review your works at various stages during the planning and writing. This can provide an independent overview of items you potentially haven’t considered.

How did you compose yourself in the interview?

Preparation is key. I Rehearsed my presentation and held Q&A sessions with colleagues and anyone else who would listen, which provided much-needed interview practice.

My interview was held online via Skype. I’m not sure if this reduced or increased the nerves in comparison to a face-to-face interview, however, I tried to prepare in the same way. I stopped attempting to cram in any more study an hour or so before and tried to relax as much as possible.

As it was an online interview, I made sure I was comfortable with my surroundings and professionally presented. The assessors were great and made me feel comfortable before commencing – remember that they have been through this very process.

How did your employer support your APC?

Beca has been a fantastic support in the APC journey. I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by several experienced and Chartered colleagues who provided me with some fantastic advice and preparation. The multidisciplinary nature of Beca allowed me to bounce any technical queries between a range of professions, from structural engineers to other cost mangers.

We ran a structured training programme which consisted of technical Q&A’s and mock interviews to prepare for the real thing – this is imperative and I’d encourage anyone to do the same. It is so vastly different to rehearse answers in your own time than to provide a face-to-face response.

Do you think the APC process helped you to grow in your current role?

Most definitely. The technical skills required to pass the APC ensures you are at the top of your game. All of the competencies on the Quantity Surveying pathway are skills an experienced Quantity Surveyor should possess, and most items will be a refresher of previous study or experience, but the dedication to study and commitment required to complete the process focuses your efforts on professional development and your career.

I genuinely believe that all of the technical and interpersonal skills developed during the APC process has increased my confidence when communicating with Clients and industry colleagues. By completing the process and demonstrating my professional competency, it also provides current and prospective clients with increased confidence and assurance surrounding my capacity as a consulting professional.

What was a highlight for you going through the APC process?

There is a great sense of personal achievement in your own technical ability when you can complete a competency or correctly answer a Q&A question with full confidence and surety. It provides a great sense of personal development and is a key highlight of my APC journey. Undeniably though, the greatest sense of relief is when the interview has finished, and the greatest highlight when you get the positive result.

Thomas' APC advice

Know your submission – this is the only thing that the interviewers have to assess you on. Make sure you know this document inside-out and have put yourself in the shoes of an assessor to try and head off any potential questions the assessors could generate. If you can’t answer these questions, additional research is probably required.

Complete Q&A sessions and mock interviews – there is no better practice for the real interview.  

Don’t try and rush this process – this will create weaknesses in your submission which will be evident to the assessors.

If you get knocked back, review the feedback, pick yourself up and go again.

Always remember, if it was easy – everyone would be chartered!