Laura Collins has crammed more into seven years as a chartered surveyor than she could ever have dreamed. Not least because she had absolutely no idea which career direction to take when she finished school.
“One day my mother was on a flight when she got into conversation with a recruitment agent specialising in quantity surveying, who suggested I look into the profession.”
It was a chance encounter that would change her life. “Because of that advice, I entered surveying as an apprentice when I was 18.”
Since then, Laura’s career has flown along at lightning speed. By the age of 27, she had become the youngest person ever to be promoted to associate director at the construction company Mace. In 2017, she joined Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB), where she’s an associate mechanical and electrical quantity surveyor. And, in 2018, she was named RICS Matrics Young Surveyor of the Year.
Her recent work successes include helping to deliver the landmark 46-storey Salesforce Tower in London, and her reputation has led to global clients asking to work with her specifically.
I want to do all I can to show girls and young women that the construction industry can be a fantastic career choice.
Laura Collins, RICS Matrics Young Surveyor of the Year, 2018
“I guess it’s because they know I love getting involved in complex projects. For example, I’m currently lead consultant on a major office project in Amsterdam for an Australian client, whose chief financial officer is based in Hong Kong. So, most days I’m liaising with multiple people across four time zones.
“It’s tough, but I really enjoy it. I’m not content to sit in the office making costs plans all day – I like getting out into the world and into the nitty gritty of work. I find it fascinating to see how other countries and cultures approach construction, and to expand my knowledge and experience.”
Laura also works as a mentor encouraging colleagues to progress their careers and has worked with UCEM to help introduce a diverse candidate pool to surveying.
She is passionate about the next generation of surveyors and works to promote ways to make the future of surveying more innovative and efficient.
“Last January, I founded an MEP academy within RLB and we now have six apprentices, all school leavers, working with the team. We hope to partner with other firms across surveying, architecture and engineering to offer two-week training periods where GCSE students can gain even greater insight into the lifecycle of construction projects.
“I want to do all I can to show girls and young women that the construction industry can be a fantastic career choice.”