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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The impact of the recession on building surveying education
Article Type: Editorial From: Structural Survey, Volume 27, Issue 1
By the time that this issue of the journal has been published I will have celebrated the 30th anniversary of qualifying as a Chartered Building Surveyor. I have spent approximately half of that time working in the industry and the second half employed as an academic. The current recession is therefore the third that I have experienced and I have every sympathy for colleagues who are suffering as a result of the considerable downturn that we are experiencing. If the previous two recessions are anything to go by we will shortly have an over-supply of qualified staff. Students will then be discouraged from studying building surveying and we will then have several years where the industry cannot get the graduates it needs. This problem is likely to be compounded by the fact that student recruitment lags two or three years behind what is happening in the real world. Recruitment onto undergraduate and postgraduate building surveying courses is currently very strong but if, as seems likely, we suffer a deep recession this situation will change for the worse. Fast-track postgraduate conversion courses are a relatively new innovation in building surveying and I suspect that the lag period is likely to be much shorter than for the traditional undergraduate route. Non-cognate graduates are unlikely to part with fees of several thousand pounds if they cannot see a job at the end of their studies. Maybe therefore such courses are the future of the profession? Certainly all the employer feedback I receive is that the greater maturity and wider range of experience of such graduates is much appreciated. If we are to move to mainly post-graduate entry I would make a plea that we do not forget to ensure that graduates of such courses receive a sound technical grounding. I personally believe that this is far more important than requiring these students to undertake (in most cases) a second dissertation. However I fear that I am in a minority among my academic colleagues in taking this view!
New joint editor
I have been editor of Structural Survey for ten years now and have decided that the time is right to relax my grip on the reins slightly. My colleague Dr Mark Shelbourn has been appointed as Joint Editor and I am sure that he will make a valuable contribution to the future development of the journal. Mark has a building surveying degree from Sheffield Hallam as well as an MSc and a PhD from the University of Salford. I have known Mark for over ten years and in fact originally persuaded him to undertake a PhD (he is always telling me that I have a lot to answer for!). He is a Senior Lecturer here at Nottingham Trent University and has previously held research posts at Salford and Loughborough Universities. His extensive publications list includes several papers in this journal. Welcome aboard Mark!
Papers in this issue
In this issue (the first that we have jointly edited) there are six very interesting papers.
Paul Chynoweth’s final paper in a series of three on progressing the rights to light debate concentrates on judicial attitudes to current practice in this specialist area. This series of papers had its origins in Michael Pitts’s contribution to the John Anstey Memorial Issue that Paul guest edited in 2000. I am extremely grateful to Paul for having the stamina to see this project to a conclusion and for making such a valuable contribution to this debate. Ad Straub presents a Dutch standard for condition assessment of buildings while Jim Kempton considers modern methods of construction and their implications for housing asset management in the RSL sector. Sara Wilkinson (who taught Mark in his undergraduate days at Sheffield Hallam) and Kimberley James and Richard Reed consider how building adaptation can be used to deliver sustainability in Australia. The New Construction Act 2009 and its possible implications for building surveyors are speculated upon by Steve Donohoe while Richardson and Graham’s paper concerns concrete manufacture with un-graded re-cycled aggregates.