How to become a building consultant: Australian careers in construction

A building consultant plays a vital role in construction and building projects, using their knowledge to track projects and take proactive steps to avoid problems down the track. They consider all of the impacts and elements involved in construction, including legal, environmental and social responsibilities. No matter what is being constructed, whether it is commercial or residential, a building consultant is needed to ensure the stability of a project. You will work with a range of workers from contractors, councils, clients, architectural planners and project managers as well as answering to executive boards or a funding body. To work as a building consultant, you will have to have an in-depth knowledge of what is involved in a construction project as well as possible implications or issues that arise from such a project.

  • Task Career in focus: what a building consultant does

    Building consultants try to minimise possible issues and problems that may arise in a building project by managing the planning, implementation and follow-up reporting activities once the construction has been finalised. A building consultant is able to understand and provide advice on organisational data, such as logistics, as well as identify safety issues, ensuring construction is completed at a best-practise safety standard. Building consultants also have a good understanding of numbers and finances, looking into insurance financials as well as providing advice on budget funding. A building consultant is employed for the life of the project; from design to post-construction and sees through a project at every stage.

    Tasks:

    • Provide advice at every stage of a construction project
    • Give advice where relevant on financial matters, such as budget restraints
    • Ensure a project adheres to Australian WHS legislation
    • Anticipate issues and mitigate problems
    • Ensure the construction anticipates and considers all legal, social and environmental responsibilities
  • Skills Core qualities: Skills to succeed as a building consultant

    As a building consultant, you must have an in-depth knowledge of all the different components of a construction project. This includes working with a wide-range of people, including executives, financial analysts, councils, environmental and safety bodies as well as contractors. You will need to able to analyse a high amount of data and be able to communicate your advice clearly, persuasively and effectively. As you will work with a lot of financial forecasting and tracking practises, you will need a good eye for detail and provide insight into such matters. It is beneficial if you have a background in construction, as you will need to understand what is involved in a project as well as work alongside carpenters, architects, electricians and other building professionals.

    Skills/attributes
    • In-depth understanding of WHS and other building legislation
    • Eye for detail
    • Able to easily identify potential safety or financial issues
    • A persuasive communicator and the ability to listen
    • Knowledge on environmental and conservation issues
  • Specialisations The field: Specialisations within building consultancy

    As a building consultant, you can find yourself working on a range of projects, from small to big, in commercial and residential areas. Most building consultants work as freelancers or contractors, and can easily branch off into an area of specialisation, from environmental advocacy to providing expertise in courtroom disputes.

    Financial consultancy

    If you enjoy financial assessment, you can work into the specialised field of financial consultancy, providing insight for both public and private sectors.

    Expert witness

    When a legal dispute arises, you can work as an expert witness, who provides specialised insight that others can’t in a courtroom. You provide your expert opinion on a matter that is unbiased and is extremely valuable in determining a legal verdict.

    Workplace health and safety specialist

    If you have an in-depth knowledge about workplace health and safety protocols, you can provide specialist advice on safety requirement for a construction site. This can involve asbestos expertise or access for those with a disability. It also involves advice on environmental impacts.

  • Pathways The right track: study options for becoming a building consultants

    If you think this ticks all your boxes, there are various ways you can start working towards a rewarding career as a building consultant. This can range from apprenticeships, on-the-job training or tertiary qualifications. 

    Starting Out

    To start your career as a building consultant, you will first need to start your journey by gaining a good foundation of basic construction knowledge and skills.

    Building Skills

    If you wish to work in a certain industry, you can improve your skills in a particular area. There are lots of flexible options, such as online courses, that will help you move forward in your career.

    Developing Your Resume

    Target your learning to improve your employment prospects and job opportunities.

    Industry Recognition

    There are lots of professional associations in the construction industry, which can help improve on your professional reputation. Check out our resource section to find professional bodies according to your state or territory.

    Entering the workforce

    Have a look at our sample resumes and cover letters to give you some ideas to produce an attractive and professional application.

    Job Prospects in Construction: Working life as a building consultant

    Australia has a booming construction and building sector in commercial and residential areas, especially in capital cities. This is expected to continue to grow as our population increases.

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