Row of cows at farm in Shropshire

Five minutes with… Dave Bates, Senior Building Surveyor

07/06/21Five minutes with… Dave Bates, Senior Building Surveyor

When and how did you decide to pursue a career in building surveying? 

I started out as a Carpenter and Joiner, leading to becoming a site foreman and then a site manager. Eventually I set up my own carpentry business.

I took a brief period of time out of the construction industry and then decided to return to it, but from a different approach. As I had obtained a considerable amount of knowledge and skills over the years, I wondered how best to put them to use.

It was then that I decided to become a Building Surveyor. Subsequently I enrolled on a Building Surveying degree course at the Liverpool John Moores University, where I graduated with an RICS accredited BSC Building Surveying degree with 1st class Honours.

What advice would you give to someone interested in following the same career path as you?

Make sure you enrol on a RICS accredited degree course - this will see you in good stead for taking the natural progression of becoming a chartered surveyor. You must however have a passion for the built environment, whether this be commercial or residential.

A Building Surveying degree can take you on many pathways. You may have an interest in historic buildings, in which case you could become a conservation officer. Or you may want to build multi million pound developments and project manage them.

I really enjoy being a Building Surveyor, everyday throws you new and different challenges. The other one thing about my job I enjoy is when you become a detective, trying to establish the cause of defect found in a property.

What do you love most about working at Forge Property Consultants?

Coming from quite a corporate company its feels more like a family. The location I work from is quite different from previous positions where I worked in large offices.

The variation of work has also changed for me and I am involved in a variety of jobs. I could be producing plans for a planning application one minute and the next carrying out a building survey.

The office atmosphere is very pleasant and I work with a great team of people. There’s also the work-life balance to consider. It’s of no surprise that provided the client is kept happy and the work is getting done, there is flexibility in how you work.

Which has been your most interesting or rewarding property to survey?

My very first survey with Forge Property was a listed building. It was a large estate home that had 14 bedrooms. Since then, I have been involved in many planning applications and have drawn up plans that subsequently got approval.

Which has been your most challenging property to survey?

This probably has to be the first one I surveyed, the large estate home. We had a short period of time to turn this one around, so the pressure was on! However, its was done in the agreed time scales and the client was very happy.

How has the process changed due to Covid-19?

Aside from the protocols we all should adopt, which we do, I have found it at times strange. It’s the not being able to give a handshake, the wearing of a mask and asking tenants to remain out of the room whilst you conduct the inspection.

What advice do you have for buyers and sellers in today’s property market?

Stick to your budget. The market can be quite volatile. Market value has increased, but how long for is anyone’s guess.

You’ve admitted that you’re something of a motoring enthusiast, what has been your favourite car to drive?

The Corvette Stingray is great to drive, but not so good on petrol. Also the Audi R8 - not only is it fast, it’s nice to drive, unlike some other prestige sports cars I’ve driven. But I’m not a millionaire! So, my current car will have to do - it is full electric and just as much fun. I cannot envisage that I will return to an ICE car anytime soon, except for my MR2 Turbo, that only comes out when the sun shines.

In your opinion, which roads offer the best driving experience across Staffordshire and Shropshire?

While Shropshire and Staffordshire have some beautifully scenic roads, I’d say that the best driving roads are on my doorstep in North Wales, where I live.

Why do you think Shropshire and Staffordshire has so much to offer in terms of interesting properties?

I think it’s the variety of construction type, with open spaces, and the opportunity for rural development. Barn conversions are becoming especially popular for holiday accommodation as the UK staycation market is set to increase.


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